3/24 Update – Crowd Calendar image updated to version 2 (sorry it’s low quality – I don’t have Photoshop on this computer yet. The PDF looks better). I’m about half way through the daily analysis.
Here is a preview of the October 2011 calendar image. It’s not yet finalized, but it will give you an idea about where we’re headed. The analysis and “final” crowd calendar image should be ready in a few days. If you’re unfamiliar with the crowd calendars and the daily analysis, check out the September 2011 crowd calendar here: https://www.easywdw.com/category/calendar/september2011/ for an explanation of what each line means.
Click the image to expand it. The calendar is also available in an easy to view print PDF file here: https://www.easywdw.com/october2011.pdf.
The operating schedule is somewhat different from what we’ve seen in recent years. For one, Epcot’s Extra Magic Hours switch, so that Tuesday is Extra Magic Hours’ evening and Friday is Extra Magic Hours’ morning. In past years, Epcot had Extra Magic Hours on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during the International Food and Wine Festival and we had evening Extra Magic Hours at Animal Kingdom on Fridays. Now that evening Extra Magic Hours are no longer scheduled at Animal Kingdom, Disney has switched the system up a bit. I used to be able to tentatively recommend Epcot on Fridays in October, but that won’t be possible with morning Extra Magic Hour scheduled. Coupled with the guaranteed heavier crowd level in the evening for the Food and Wine Festival, we can expect Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays to be much busier than they would be otherwise. We’ll plan to avoid Epcot on weekends in October because of the International Food and Wine Festival’s effect on crowds, particularly in the World Showcase. While it’s true that Future World isn’t affected as much, attraction wait times will still be considerably longer than they would be otherwise. There’s simply no reason to visit Epcot on the weekend unless you’re planning to attend one of the special Food and Wine events or simply can’t visit any other day.
We also continue the trend of extremely limited availability of Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios. Even with the below average crowds for most of the month, Hollywood Studios will still be extremely busy on any Fantasmic date. For some reason, Disney has decided that they will also add evening Extra Magic Hours to three of the nine Fantasmic dates in October, which will increase the crowd level even more. Other than cost cutting, I can’t think of a reason why Disney would want to make the Studios even busier on Fantasmic dates by attracting the majority of Disney resort guests with Extra Magic Hours. Perhaps they simply want to increase staffing at the Studios on fewer days during the month. Either way, we’ll absolutely want to avoid the Studios when it’s hosting both evening Extra Magic Hours and Fantasmic. It’s going to be a total zoo.
As previously mentioned, we continue the no-evening-Extra-Magic-Hours-trend at Animal Kingdom. We have two morning Extra Magic Hours each week instead (there’s a typo on October 10th, there should be morning Extra Magic Hour at Animal Kingdom listed). We’ll generally want to visit Animal Kingdom on Saturdays, though other days during the week will be recommended.
We have sixteen Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party dates scheduled in October. Crowds are low on these days because the Magic Kingdom closes at 7pm and doesn’t offer any special evening entertainment during regular Park hours. Most Disney vacationers will prefer to visit the Magic Kingdom when it’s open later and offers the Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes. However, the flip side of so many low crowd days is the fact that few Wishes fireworks shows are scheduled and even fewer Main Street Electrical Parades are scheduled. Dates with both evening shows will be considerably busier than other dates during the month and there will definitely be a tradeoff between visiting the Magic Kingdom when it features no evening entertainment/low crowds and when it does feature evening entertainment, but crowds are substantially higher. Most weeks, Wednesdays are your best day for Main Street Electrical Parade viewing. Saturdays should be avoided if at all possible and Mondays with the Parade scheduled will also be substantially busier.
All in all, October is looking to be a relatively easy month to plan. Like every month, there are some quirks and some challenges, but you should be able to schedule everything you want to schedule. Getting to see Fantasmic, Main Street Electrical Parade, and Wishes will be more of a hassle than other months, but the low crowds and lower temperatures should make up for it.