Disney released the July 2012 Disney World operating schedule at this link: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/DTA-Domestic/pdf/ParkHours/WDW_Operating_Calendar_july.pdf. If it doesn’t say July 2012 in the upper right corner of each page, click refresh on your browser to load the new version of the document.
July’s schedule looks very similar to June at the moment. Overall, July is the busiest month of the year at Walt Disney World with no definitive lull in crowds. Most months, we see increased crowds around holidays or other special events, but July is peak summer vacation season here and peak holiday season in other countries that feed Disney World. We have long hours (with longer hours coming), abundant evening entertainment, and more Extra Magic Hours “opportunities” throughout the week. While this lessens the “pull power” of the shows, it’s also indicative of the heavier crowd level. Crowds are heavy every day and while there are variances depending on certain factors, there is no secret “low crowd day” at any of the theme parks. “Less busy?” Yes, but we’re talking about a 60 minute peak wait at Soarin’ instead of 100 minutes or 100 minutes at Toy Story Midway Mania instead of 140 minutes. That’s the reality of Walt Disney World in the summer.
Both in terms of heat and crowds, arriving early and hitting the attractions/characters with the longest peak waits is the key. As I often say in the “daily analysis,” if you arrive at Hollywood Studios, Epcot, or any of the other theme parks at 10:30am, you’re going to run into lines at the most popular attractions no matter which day you choose to visit. That might be a 25 minute wait at Soarin’ instead of a 50 minute wait, but it’s still longer than either of us would like to stand in line. Visiting the recommended Parks and arriving early is the key to a “successful” summer vacation at Walt Disney World. We’ll be seeing significant crowds and higher humidity in the afternoon. A militaristic “touring plan” still isn’t necessary, but you’ll want to have a good idea about what your morning priorities are and most people will want to plan out the first hour or two of their day.
I’ll be back with a Crowd Calendar image preview after I finish the January 2012 updates.