Disney released the October 2015 operating schedule at the usual link: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/ParkHours/WDWTravelAgent_october.pdf. Click “refresh” on your browser to load the newest version of the document.
You’ll notice one thing right off the bat, which is that the Extra Magic Hours (EMH) are not listed for the first three days. We should see a morning Extra Magic Hour at Magic Kingdom on Thursday, a morning Extra Magic Hour at Animal Kingdom on Friday, and a morning Extra Magic Hour at Hollywood Studios and evening Extra Magic Hours at Magic Kingdom on Saturday.
The bigger news is Magic Kingdom’s evening Extra Magic Hours moved to Wednesdays throughout the rest of the month. Magic Kingdom hasn’t hosted Extra Magic Hours on Wednesdays in the five years I’ve operated this site. Morning Extra Magic Hours at Magic Kingdom have also moved from Thursdays to Mondays.
It makes sense. With four Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Parties scheduled every week, Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes are only scheduled on three nights – Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. Mondays and Saturdays are more crowded ordinarily due to the natural progression of where people want to be. Most casual vacationers arrive over the weekend and want to head to the Most Magical Place on Earth on their first full day, particularly when the operating hours are long and nighttime entertainment is offered. Saturdays are busier because people tend to leave on Sundays and want to spend their last day at Magic Kingdom, in addition to the fact Saturdays almost always offer long hours and both nighttime spectaculars. Local visitors also contribute to crowds on weekends.
The change in the Extra Magic Hours schedule is good and bad. Historically, the weekday (usually Wednesdays) with the nighttime spectaculars has been the best day of the week to see the Electrical Parade and Wishes. Wednesday should remain the best day of the week to see those shows, but the evening Extra Magic Hours are going to attract more resort guests and more people will be staying later with plans to “take advantage” of the EMH. Mondays and Saturdays should still prove more crowded with higher wait times. On the plus side, the morning Extra Magic Hour moving to Monday does add another Mickey’s Party date that will see Magic Kingdom as the most recommended Park on Thursdays. Thursdays with morning Extra Magic Hours and Mickey’s Parties have historically been “tentatively recommended” because the morning EMH complicates morning touring time for on-site visitors and puts off-site visitors at a major disadvantage. The removal of the morning EMH will negate these issues.
Epcot’s evening Extra Magic Hours move to Thursdays, which opens up Wednesdays as the best day of the week to visit. This is crucially important during the Food and Wine Festival, where Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays are overwhelmingly more crowded than they would be otherwise. Historically, Mondays and Thursdays were the best days of the week to visit Epcot. This year, it will be Mondays and Wednesdays. It’s good news because with so much going on elsewhere this year, Epcot will be less crowded on Wednesdays than it would have been on Thursdays had the Extra Magic Hours schedule not changed. If that makes any sense.
The preliminary October Crowd Calendar should be available tonight or tomorrow. I already have daily crowd projections – it’s just a matter of making the calendar and checking to see if there are more pressing updates that need to be made.