Edit 2: Hollywood Studios hours extended and a second Fantasmic added on October 16th and 27th as well. See Edit 2 Addendum below.
Edit: Magic Kingdom’s hours were also extended to 11pm today with a second Main Street Electrical Parade at 10pm.
Disney extended the operating hours at Hollywood Studios for tomorrow from 9am – 8pm to 9am – 9pm with a second Fantasmic scheduled at 9:30pm. This change was just made today and will not show up on this week’s Times Guide, but it has been updated at DisneyWorld.com. Hollywood Studios was the only “not recommended” Park tomorrow and that fact may be why an additional Fantasmic was added at the last minute. Should you be planning a Park Hop to see Fantasmic on October 13th, you’ll want to attend the second Fantasmic at 9:30pm because it will be significantly less crowded than the 8pm show. Although the Fantasmic technically begins after the Studios “closes,” everyone is welcome to stay for the show and Disney will be prepared with plenty of buses to take you back to your Disney resort.
Edit 2 Addendum: Presumably, this is to help combat heavier crowds on these days due to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom. The 13th, 16th, and 27th are all Mickey’s Party dates. A lot of people avoid Magic Kingdom when it closes at 7pm for a Mickey’s Party, even on Thursdays with morning Extra Magic Hour. Today, for example, I have Magic Kingdom “recommended” even though it’s hosting morning Extra Magic Hour. This is a bit unconventional. The truth of the matter is that today is the second least busy day of the week at Magic Kingdom, particularly with the Columbus Day Holiday on Monday and longer hours of operation and both nighttime spectaculars yesterday, tomorrow, and Saturday. While a lot of casual Disney resort guests follow the Extra Magic Hours schedule, they’re also “smart (read: stupid) enough” to avoid days with short hours. That “extra hour” isn’t so attractive when the operating hours are shorter and evening entertainment isn’t offered. Even they are smart (read again: stupid) enough to know that! That’s the reason why Hollywood Studios in particular is busier when a Mickey’s Party is scheduled, like today when Tower of Terror, Toy Story Mania, and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster have already hit 60+ minute waits. We actually saw triple digit waits at Tower of Terror and Toy Story Midway Mania earlier in the day, which makes it decidedly “not recommended.” On the other hand, right now Space Mountain has a 15 minute wait, Big Thunder Mountain has a 20 minute wait, and Splash Mountain has a 25 minute wait with most other attractions even lower. And that’s at 1:30pm, which is the busiest part of the day.
We saw a similar “phenomenon” when Hollywood Studios had Fantasmic scheduled much less often. Saturdays with the morning Extra Magic Hour were often the second or third least crowded day of the week because so many people preferred to visit when it hosted Fantasmic and had the longer hours of operation to accommodate it. Plus, Magic Kingdom was a much bigger draw with longer hours, Wishes, and Main Street Electrical Parade. That’s why I often recommended the Studios on Saturdays, even when it hosted morning Extra Magic Hour.
My brain has been wrestling with what to do with Animal Kingdom on Mondays with the morning Extra Magic Hour. Animal Kingdom sees very similar crowds and wait times on Mondays than it does on other recommended days during the week. While the morning Extra Magic Hour complicates things a bit if you’re not eligible or don’t arrive in time, it doesn’t make a whole lot of difference in the grand scheme of the day. Should you arrive at 9am “as normal,” you would still find 5 minute waits at Expedition Everest and Kilimanjaro Safaris and the morning Extra Magic Hour itself is amazing with exceptionally low crowds. Because there are usually at least two days that are “better,” I’ve kept Mondays at Animal Kingdom “not recommended” when it’s hosting a morning Extra Magic Hour because Epcot is a better choice overall. Still, it’s something to think about.