Here’s what we’re looking at for December 2013:
The crowd calendar should look similar to December 2012 because the operating schedule is nearly identical. Despite Disney charging peak season pricing a week earlier than in the past, I’m not expecting peak level crowds until December 21st. Pricing during that week is curious and it will probably coincide with a “Free Dining” promotion or something similar. As I mentioned in the previous post, don’t discount how much busier the non-recommended Parks will be on a given date. We see much more variation in crowd levels when operating hours fluctuate and evening entertainment is less common. In a month like July, where the operating hours are long every day and nighttime entertainment is scheduled every night, there aren’t great fluctuations in crowds from one day to the next. The recommended Parks will still be less busy, but it generally isn’t the night and day difference you see for most of September – December. This phenomenon is due mostly to the Mickey’s Party schedule. In other words, if the overall crowd level quoted is a “4,” that doesn’t mean the least recommended Park is going to be a “4” on that date. It means that when you add the number of people in the four major theme parks together, the total number is below average. If you think this website’s recommendations are hocus pocus, I would invite you to visit Magic Kingdom on a Monday or Saturday in December and then compare those crowds to a most-recommended Tuesday or Friday.
Beginning December 21st, Disney World sees the heaviest crowds of the year. Magic Kingdom will close to capacity around 11am on several dates and all Parks will be slammed in the afternoon and evening every day. It’s still doable, but touring very early or very late is essential. Check last year’s final schedule to get an idea about what the Park hours will look like when they’re updated around August 16th.