I updated the December 2012 Crowd Calendar with the changes listed here. None of the recommendations or crowd levels changed as just about everything that was changed was expected. I actually assumed there would be more Fantasmic shows added at 8pm throughout the month, but we only see a couple before the week that leads up to Christmas. There was a question about whether there would be additional changes. I’m not expecting any. Disney usually makes one big update. If there are additional changes, they’ll likely be the day of due to weather or unforeseen circumstances. Also as far as 8am dining reservations on a day where the open has moved from 9am to 8am – I’d cancel them. You’re paying too much money to be hurried through the meal and eating from 8am – 9:30am is a waste of the best time of the day to tour. Try to reschedule around 10:30am if possible. Of course, you can also keep those reservations if you want to!
One of the biggest misconceptions with the extended hours is that Disney is now expecting heavier crowds. That’s patently false. Disney is initially conservative with the operating schedule and extends as necessary. It’s a lot easier for Disney to extend the close at Magic Kingdom from 9am – 8pm to 9am – 9pm than it would be for them to decrease hours, which would just result in complaints. Disney extends hours and adds additional evening entertainment every month all year, typically on a Monday or Friday in the middle of the month. We should see July’s operating schedule and an update to January on December 14th or 17th.