The following is wrong, which is somewhat rare for this website. The two things I get wrong most often are 1.) The actual date of when I visited something and 2.) I almost always call the “California Grill,” the “Contemporary Grill.” But in this case, it isn’t necessarily my fault. The January 2013 Extra Magic Hours schedule isn’t available externally or internally at the moment. I polled the usual victims and it seems like the problem is 1.) The Extra Magic Hours schedule is a function of resort rates and crowds. 2.) Resort rates are a function of demand. And since 2013 crowd projections aren’t done yet, the resort rates are also not available.
In January, the problem is that first week, where a ton of domestic school districts have until January 6th off. The same was true last year and that first week in January was slammed. The thought this year is that Disney shouldn’t be charging Value season pricing on a week that is naturally going to be so much busier than it has been most years prior to 2011. And then if it’s going to be that busy, do they need to offer additional Extra Magic Hours, like they do in the summer? The slightly-later-than usual Marathon dates on the second weekend are also a concern as to how crowds will flow over those first two weeks. Second, international attendance is becoming more and more a driver of overall crowd levels. We’re looking at international crowds that should surpass 25% of total attendance in 2013, with the majority of that coming from South America. That also complicates things.
So where exactly does that leave us? With a preliminary crowd calendar that may change quite a bit between now and when the actual Extra Magic Hours schedule comes out. Occasionally someone will ask where the March 2013 or July 2014 crowd calendars are (examples of months that don’t yet have operating schedules available). The answer is that I don’t put them together until the actual operating schedule is released. I could guess what March 2013 is going to look like today (based on the data), but it would just frustrate us both because Disney always throws some curveballs in there, whether it be short hours at Hollywood Studios for a private party or an unexpected shift in nighttime entertainment/Extra Magic Hours. In other words, we could guess as to what Easter week is going to look like operationally, but there’s really no reason to bother. It isn’t like you can make reservations eight months in advance anyway.
As far as crowd levels are concerned, you can get 90% of the way there by simply looking over a resort rate chart like this one. Are resort rates less expensive? Then it’s probably not going to be that busy. Is the season called “peak” and is it more expensive than most other dates? Then it’s probably going to be busy. I’ll take you the extra 10% of the way.
Click for larger or view the better looking PDF file here.
I think you can take the 12th – 31st to the bank. The question really pertains to those first 11 days, where we may see some tinkering. As for when the Extra Magic Hours schedule will be available, I can’t imagine that it would be any later than Friday. But you never know, it could be longer if there are more serious “issues” behind the lack of an available schedule.