Below is the November 2011 Disney World Crowd Calendar image preview. I’ll be back in a few days with the “final” image and the full daily analysis. If you’re new to the site and aren’t quite sure what you’re looking at, check out October 2011 Crowd Calendar for an explanation of what each line means and what to expect from the full analysis. Also check the complete November 2011 operating schedule here: http://www.disneytravelagents.com/StaticFiles/DTA-Domestic/pdf/ParkHours/WDW_Operating_Calendar_nov.pdf. That shows the operating hours, parade schedule, Extra Magic Hours days, etc. for November.
The Calendar is also available in an easy to view and print PDF file, Here.
November is an interesting month. The Food and Wine Festival is still going strong until November 13th, which means we’re on what I call the “Standard Food and Wine Extra Magic Hours Schedule.” That translates to Animal Kingdom and Epcot switching their usual Extra Magic Hours, so that Animal Kingdom’s morning Extra Magic Hour moves to Friday and Epcot’s evening Extra Magic Hours moves to Wednesday. Disney does this because the Food and Wine Festival brings heavy crowds with it on the weekends, particularly on Friday nights, Saturdays, and Sundays in the World Showcase. Disney moves Friday’s evening Extra Magic Hours to try and pull Disney resort guests away from Friday, which will naturally be busy anyway. We see a different Extra Magic Hours schedule for much of October 2011, but Disney has switched to the schedule we’ve seen in past years for November. Because of how much busier Epcot is on the Weekends during the Food and Wine Festival, you won’t see it recommended on Saturdays or Sundays, though it is tentatively recommended on Fridays if you arrive early, visit the headlining attractions first, and move up to the World Showcase before lunch. After the Festival ends on the 13th, we move back to the most common Extra Magic Hours schedule and Epcot is recommended more often on the weekends.
We also have the last Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party on November 1st. Although it is obviously the day after Halloween, the November 1st Halloween Party will likely still sell out. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is also scheduled throughout the month on days that you see MVMCP on the Calendar. Note that Party dates are not yet finalized and could change before tickets officially go on sale sometime around May 1st. Magic Kingdom closes at 7pm on Party dates and does not offer fireworks or the nighttime parade during regular Park hours. I usually recommend visiting Magic Kingdom when it’s hosting a Mickey’s Party because crowds are significantly lower due to the number of people who would prefer to visit the Magic Kingdom when it’s open longer and offers both evening shows. Because Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes are so rare for much of November, Magic Kingdom is significantly more crowded when the nighttime spectaculars are scheduled. Mondays and Saturdays usually have both shows offered and they are even busier than usual because of it.
There are also holidays and school breaks to contend with. The Veterans Day holiday on the 11th doesn’t directly cause a lot of people to head to Disney World, but it also falls during “Jersey Week” this year. Jersey Week refers to the week of the New Jersey Education Association Convention. All New Jersey Public schools get November 10th and 11th off for the Convention . While the effects of the Convention and Jersey Week on Disney World are overblown, you can expect more people than usual from New Jersey to be traveling to the Orlando area. All in all, Veterans Day Weekend should see average to slightly above average crowds, but it certainly won’t be as crowded as Memorial Day Weekend or President’s Day Weekend.
Another obvious holiday is Thanksgiving, which is a popular time to visit Disney World because of the extended vacation in many school districts. Orlando area schools get the entire week of Thanksgiving off from November 19th through the 27th. Crowds are well above average over Thanksgiving and Disney will likely extend operating hours at Magic Kingdom to at least 9am – 12am for the entire week. We may also see 8am openings at Animal Kingdom. If you are flexible with your dates, you’ll want to avoid November 19th to 27th because it will be so crowded and prices at Disney and area resorts go up due to the increased demand.
All in all, most of November is a good time to visit, especially if you avoid the busy Thanksgiving and Veterans Day holidays. We can expect the Magic Kingdom to be decked out with most of its Christmas decorations by November 8th and the Candlelight Processional and Holidays Around the World at Epcot should begin November 25th, when Epcot’s hours expand to 9am – 9:30pm. While it’s not yet listed on the calendar, Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade should also take the place of the Jammin’ Jungle Parade on November 25th as well.
I should have the daily analysis ready to go by Thursday or so. If you have a specific question or would like to get a jump on your planning, please register for the easyWDW forums and head over to the Itinerary Planning forum. I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have or further explain what I mean by the things that I say.