I have updated the December 2010 Disney World Crowd Calendar with the changes just made yesterday. You can view the list of changes here. Depending on your browser, you may need to click the image of the Calendar and then click the “refresh button.” You should see Fantasmic scheduled at both 6:30pm and 8pm. If you only see the 6:30pm Fantasmic, go ahead and click refresh. The theme park hours have been extended for many dates throughout December. While you may read that extended hours are an indication that Disney is expecting heavier crowds, that isn’t necessarily true. Disney has extended hours every month this year. They usually make those changes about two weeks prior to the month beginning. For example, February’s hours would be updated in the middle of January. The Park hours at the Magic Kingdom were never going to be 9am to 10pm during Christmas Week, even though that’s what was officially published. The 8am to 12am hours that we have now are in line with past years and indicate that it will, as we already knew, be very busy. With that said, I have raised the estimated crowd level during the week leading up to Christmas slightly. There are also changes to Hollywood Studios because of the addition of Fantasmic on December 19th, 21st, and 23rd. This makes the Hollywood Studios less ideal on those days, but not so much that you need to change your plans if you’ve made dining reservations or already have an itinerary prepared. Hollywood Studios is not “the most recommended Park” any day over Christmas week, though it is recommended several times. This is because there isn’t really a distinct advantage on any particular day because we have long hours and at least two Fantasmic shows scheduled each evening for two weeks. Ideally, we would visit Hollywood Studios when there is a lot going on at other Parks, like evening Extra Magic Hours at Epcot.
I will also be making two changes later today. The official dates for ESPN the Weekend are March 3rd through 6th and not February 24th through 27th as posted here back on October 5th. Disney is also promoting ESPN the Weekend with a special package. The popularity of The Weekend has waned a bit in recent years and Disney is pushing it a little harder this year. I will be updating those weeks in February and March with the changes.
I also have the wrong opening date for Star Tours 3D in May. It is currently scheduled for May 17th, not the 16th. As noted on the May Calendar, Disney will likely run “soft openings” prior to the official opening, meaning Star Tours will be running for at least part of the day for a week or more prior to the official opening. Star Tours could also be delayed. We’ll know more as we get closer to May.