April 17 Update: The Crowd Calendar image below has changed slightly since yesterday’s update. The May Crowd Calendar has also been updated in its entirety here or in the usual spot to your left there under Crowd Calendars – May 2011. Keep in mind that Disney has not yet updated May 29th, 30th, or 31st. They’ve skipped the last page of updates in the past and then released a smaller update a couple of days later. They’ve also skipped the last couple of days and then not released an update for several weeks. Hopefully we’ll see an update in the next few days. I went ahead and added a second Fantasmic at 10:30pm and extended the hours at Hollywood Studios on the 29th and 31st since there’s a 99.9% chance that will happen. Magic Kingdom’s hours should also be extended and we can expect a second Main Street Electrical Parade, but I will wait until that information is official until I update it.
Here’s a preview of the new crowd calendar image with updated crowd predictions, Fantasmic shows, best Parks, etc. You can find a full list of the operating schedule changes here: https://www.easywdw.com/news/may-2011-disney-world-operating-schedule-calendar-update/. I’ll be back later today with a full update of the calendar, including the daily analysis. In the grand scheme of things, there are fewer changes than we’ve seen made to the last few months. The 8am openings at Magic Kingdom on Saturdays and over Grad Nites at the beginning of the month caught me by surprise because Disney’s hasn’t done that in the recent past, but everything else is in line with past behavior. The 8am openings can actually help if you arrive by 7:45am because it gives you an extra hour in very low crowds. The Parks don’t tend to get noticeably more crowded until around 10:30am, regardless of when the Park opens. In most cases, an 8am opening has little effect on people who won’t be arriving until 10am or later anyway. On the flip side, it can also mean less sleep and cause some people to reschedule 8am character breakfasts in the Parks. After all, if you’re going to make it to Magic Kingdom by 8am on a Saturday, you might as well be riding Dumbo and Peter Pan rather than eating breakfast that’s available all morning. We also have additional Fantasmic shows throughout the month and the possibility of the Pixar Weekend from May 13th to 15th at Epcot.
The opening of Star Tours 2 and Star Wars Weekends will bring a lot of people to Disney World over that May 20th-22nd weekend, which is evident in the extended hours at Hollywood Studios and elevated crowd level. We rarely see 8am to 12am operating hours at Hollywood Studios outside of Easter or Christmas. Most of your questions should be answered with the full update and I’ll be around the forums to answer any specific questions as I go through the rest of May and start on November 2011.
Click the image to enlarge it