Disney released the July 2014 Disney World operating schedule today at the usual link: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/DTA-Domestic/pdf/ParkHours/WDW_Operating_Calendar_july.pdf. Hit refresh on your browser if it doesn’t initially load the 2014 version. As always, this is an “official” update on an “official” Disney site and the same schedule will go live on DisneyWorld.com later this month.
July is hot and busy every day at every theme park. Unlike most months, where there are days or weeks that are less crowded than others, July does not let up. South America is expected to drive record attendance over the three busiest months of the year that comprise the summer. Healthy domestic attendance, fueled by summer vacations, only adds to those numbers. Fortunately, those crowds also bring plentiful evening entertainment and some of the longest operating hours of the year. As usual, Disney’s initial operating schedule is conservative. When Disney updates (most likely in the middle of March), expect 11pm and 12am closes at Magic Kingdom with two Electrical Parades nightly. Hollywood Studios should close at 10pm nightly with two Fantasmic shows every night. Expect Animal Kingdom to close at 8pm daily.
Unfortunately, Disney has cut the number of Extra Magic Hours in recent years, which pushes even more people to the busy afternoons. It also means there are fewer factors pulling people away from the recommended Parks, so we don’t enjoy some of the wilder fluctuations we see in the fall during the Mickey’s Party season and less crowded times when nighttime entertainment is rarer. The early mornings and late evenings are the key to a successful day in relatively light crowds and shorter waits. Temperatures are also a bit cooler.