Disney finally uploaded the June 2012 Disney World operating schedule at the usual link: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/DTA-Domestic/pdf/ParkHours/WDW_Operating_Calendar_june.pdf. If you open the link and it still shows June 2011, hit refresh on your browser. Some browsers don’t automatically reload PDF files if they have the same file name. For anyone still wondering, this is an official Disney document produced by the Walt Disney Company. The operating hours will likely not go live on DisneyWorld.com until the very end of the month. You’ll notice that the last edit to the schedule was made on Thursday November 17th as indicated in the lower left hand corner of each page. It was probably an oversight that the documents were not uploaded on Friday.
Overall, June offers long hours of operation and abundant evening entertainment at each of the four major theme parks. At the moment, we have basically the same operating schedule every day. You’ll see that Magic Kingdom is open from 9am – 10pm with both the Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes scheduled every night. Epcot has its usual 9am – 9pm day with IllumiNations scheduled every night. Hollywood Studios is open from 9am – 9pm every day other than June 6th when it’s open until 7pm and June 14th when it’s currently scheduled to be open until 6pm. Fantasmic is scheduled once at 9pm every night other than the 6th and 14th when it isn’t currently scheduled. Expect the Studios to host a private event on one or both evening. As has happened a few times over the last several months, we may also see Fantasmic added and the hours extended on one or both days. Finally, Animal Kingdom is open from 9am – 7pm every day in June.
On or around May 18th 2012, we should see Disney make a considerable update to June 2012’s operating schedule. We can expect Disney to add a second Fantasmic on most nights throughout the month. During less crowded months, Disney has been adding a second Fantasmic and extending the hours when the Studios hosts Extra Magic Hours. Occasionally, they will add a second Fantasmic if the Studios in particular is expected to be busy for other reasons or if the overall crowd level is expected to be much higher than average. With above average crowds for most of June, we should see a second Fantasmic at 10:30pm and the close extended to 10pm. While it may seem odd to have a show scheduled after the Park “officially” closes, Disney often does this in the summer months when it gets darker much later. Because Fantasmic is scheduled after dark, 9pm is the earliest the show can be scheduled throughout the summer. While the attraction lines will no longer admit new people into the line after the official Park close, anyone in line before close will be allowed to ride, even if it’s clear that the guest won’t exit the attraction until after close. Other than first thing in the morning, the best time to ride most of the popular attractions is right before close. We should also see many of the table service restaurants at the Studios (and elsewhere) taking late dining reservations and many of the stores would continue to operate until 11pm or 11:30pm should a 10:30pm Fantasmic be scheduled.
At Magic Kingdom, Disney will most likely extend the operating hours on days that are “not recommended” from the offset because of heavier expected crowds. We’ll also see a lot of Main Street Electrical Parades added at 11pm and more 11pm and 12am closes. While days with evening Extra Magic Hours are usually not recommended, Magic Kingdom is often an exception. Magic Kingdom has far more attractions open than either Epcot or Hollywood Studios. Evening Extra Magic Hours in the evening also often last until 2am or 3am, which is much later than most families can stay. Thus, you’ve got fewer people waiting in more lines. It’s not at all uncommon for there to be “literally” no one riding Mad Tea Party at 2:30am and virtually no one riding many of the other attractions after 1am. You’ll have the most success if you save the popular Tomorrowland and Fantasyland attractions for the very end of the night. With the extended hours, the early morning also becomes an even better time to tour as more people will arrive later with plans to stay for the Fireworks and evening Parade.
It’s unlikely that Epcot will see longer hours of operation. Its 9am – 9pm day is standard for this time of year.
We might see Animal Kingdom’s hours extended to 9am – 8pm on certain days throughout the month of June. This should be most common on days when it’s also hosting morning Extra Magic Hour or days where relatively little is going on at the other Parks.
Everything is pointing to the Studios continuing to host Star Wars Weekends on the first and second weekends in June. Disney continues to move Hollywood Studios’ morning Extra Magic to Wednesday from its usual Saturday spot. As I’ve mentioned before, Disney uses in the Extra Magic Hours schedule (in part) to alter the natural flow of traffic or to boost staffing on select days during the week. Because Disney doesn’t want to push additional Disney resort guests to the Studios during a Star Wars Weekend date (which will be crowded anyway), they switch the schedule.
Speaking of Extra Magic Hours, the first week in June continues the beginning of the “Summer Extra Magic Hours schedule” from the last week in May. You’ll notice that Epcot’s usual morning Extra Magic Hour on Tuesday and the usual evening Extra Magic Hours on Friday switch places. Magic Kingdom also hosts a second evening Extra Magic Hours block on Friday evenings, in addition to a block earlier in the week. This helps pull Disney resort guests away from Saturdays because it’s sandwiched in between the two more popular evening Extra Magic Hours. While Saturdays will continue to be busy, it’s usually a better day to visit than several of the alternatives, depending on whether or not you’re eligible for Extra Magic Hours and plan to attend.
Overall, June is a month that gets busier and hotter as it gets closer to July. If you’re relatively flexible with your dates, but need to travel sometime in June or July, then you’ll want to go with the earliest dates in June as possible. While you’ll still find slightly above average crowds and high temperatures, it’s much better than late June and into July, when temperatures just get higher and higher and crowds just get bigger and bigger.