Update 3: February operating schedule updates are below and the February Crowd Calendar has been updated with the changes. Like January, few recommendations needed to be changed. We can expect to see a much more robust update to the February operating schedule on or around January 20th.
WDWMAGIC ran a similar story to this one here and TouringPlans.com also made an update today here just in case you thought that maybe I was just making this up. I sent word to the suits asking if there was any chance Disney would be reconsidering the change or offering some other type of evening entertainment. I suppose it would be ridiculous to turn on the Osborne Lights at the end of January and into February and it would be extremely difficult (I would imagine) to move the Electrical Parade from Magic Kingdom to Hollywood Studios for a three week long stint. I guess the Osborne Lights make as much sense six weeks before Christmas as six weeks after? Or 46 weeks before if you want to look at it like that? A Fireworks show at Hollywood Studios would seem to be the most viable alternative, though it’s highly unlikely Disney would spring for it.
Update 2: I updated the January Crowd Calendar with the operating schedule changes listed below. I’ll update February tomorrow. The daily analysis is also updated to reflect the updates. The recommendations remain unchanged. While Main Street Electrical Parade is a major driving force, it’s no coincidence that Disney schedules the Parade on days that are naturally busier. We usually see them on Monday because a lot of people travel over the weekend and want to visit Magic Kingdom first thing. Thursdays are also common because it almost always has a morning Extra Magic Hour pulling Disney resort guests. We also see the Parade most Saturdays. As we know, Saturdays are popular with locals and those heading home the next day. In other words, Disney wants as many people to see the Electrical Parade as possible and the cheapest way for them to do that is to schedule it on days when more people will be in the Park without them having to do anything to get them there. Thus, we can expect Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays to remain more crowded despite the lack of the Electrical Parade.
I’ll update the language in the daily analysis much more when the “final” schedule comes out, which should be no later than next Monday. It’s fairly generic at the moment, but specific things change so much between the initial release of the operating schedule six months out and the “final” schedule two weeks out, that it would be silly to get too specific. For example, the Phineas and Ferb Meet and Greet is one of the two most popular meets at the Studios now, but you never know what it will look like in June. In particular, things will be changing at Magic Kingdom as New Fantasyland begins to open its doors.
Update: Magic Kingdom’s close extended on several dates in January. Specific dates and times are below. I am still expecting additional changes to Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom on or around January 19th. At that time, we should see a second Fantasmic each night that it’s scheduled (January 1 – 9) and the close extended to 8pm to accommodate it. We should also see a second Main Street Electrical Parade added on Saturdays that currently have a Parade scheduled as well as around Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend and possibly the occasional Monday. Epcot’s operating schedule should remain the same and Animal Kingdom should remain mostly the same as well.
Disney has removed the Main Street Electrical Parade from the operating schedule from January 20th through February 10th. During that time, it is expected that Frontierland will be repaved. This is obviously unfortunate news for anyone traveling during this time and hoping to see the Parade, especially because Fantasmic! at Hollywood Studios is under refurbishment from January 9th through February 12th. While we can all agree that maintenance and care are ultimately important, it seems much less so when that refurbishment takes place during your trip. Add Dumbo, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and Kali River Rapids to the mix and I think we’ll have our fair share of disappointment. Of course, the great majority of attractions will be operating and those of you who normally travel in January will have the opportunity to ride Splash Mountain, which is one attraction that is normally closed. And there is always IllumiNations.
I’ll be taking a look at the respected Crowd Calendars to see if the recommendations need to be reworked. Since Main Street Electrical Parade is a major force that drives crowds, my assumption is that there will be some changes.
January 9 – Magic Kingdom’s hours extended to 9am – 9pm from 9am – 8pm.
January 13 – Magic Kingdom’s hours extended to 9am – 9pm from 9am – 8pm.
January 16 – Magic Kingdom’s close extended to 10pm.
January 17 – Magic Kingdom’s hours extended to 9am – 9pm from 9am – 8pm.
January 20 – Magic Kingdom’s hours extended to 9am – 9pm from 9am – 8pm.
January 21 – Magic Kingdom’s hours extended to 9am – 11pm from 9am – 10pm.
January 22 – Magic Kingdom’s hours extended to 9am – 9pm from 9am – 8pm.
January 23 – Magic Kingdom’s close extended to 10pm.
January 29 – Magic Kingdom’s hours extended to 9am – 9pm from 9am – 8pm.
February 5 – Magic Kingdom’s hours extended to 9am – 9pm from 9am – 8pm.
February 10 – Magic Kingdom’s hours extended to 9am – 10pm from 9am – 8pm.
February 11 – Magic Kingdom’s hours extended to 9am – 11pm from 9am – 10pm.
February 12 – Magic Kingdom’s hours extended to 9am – 10pm from 9am – 9pm.
February 13 – Magic Kingdom’s hours extended to 9am – 10pm from 9am – 9pm.
February 16 – Magic Kingdom’s hours extended to 9am – 10pm from 9am – 9pm.
February 27 – Magic Kingdom’s hours extended to 9am – 9pm from 9am – 8pm.