Disney released the September 2013 operating schedule with Extra Magic Hours intact this afternoon. You can view the full schedule here: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/DTA-Domestic/pdf/ParkHours/WDW_Operating_Calendar_sept.pdf. As always, this is the official schedule – it’s simply updated as a PDF document at Disney’s Web Content site before the updates are made to the mess that is the code for DisneyWorld.com. Click “refresh” on your browser if September 2013 doesn’t show up in the top right hand corner. If you look at the lower left hand corner, you’ll see that the update came down to the wire – with the last one being made this afternoon at 2:58pm.
September is the least crowded month of the year at Disney World. Labor Day, from the end of August through September 2nd, would be the busiest few days until the end of the month,when the Food and Wine Festival ramps up unofficially on the 26th and officially on the 27th. I’m expecting September 8th – 14th and September 15th – 21st to be the two least crowded weeks of the year. That doesn’t mean there isn’t going to be anyone there. With the Free Dining promotion, less expensive airfare, and other incentives, you’re still going to be dealing with 80,000+ people on property along with off-site visitors.
In September and during the Mickey’s Party Season through December, Magic Kingdom’s operating schedule drives crowds more than anything else. With Magic Kingdom closing three or four nights a week at 7pm with no evening entertainment during regular Park hours, you’ve got far fewer people electing to visit on those Party dates. And with on-site occupancy being just as high as July, you’ve got the same number of people eying the Parks with Extra Magic Hours. So if 110,000 people are headed to a theme park on September 14th and only 32,000 are headed to Magic Kingdom because of the 7pm close, you can guess what that’s going to do to the other Parks. On September 15th, when 65,000 people are headed to Magic Kingdom with the long hours and nighttime entertainment, you can probably also guess what the other Parks look like. This is the time of year when you see the largest fluctuations in attendance from day to day. This post shows a nice comparison between crowds on a Most Recommended day in October versus the Worst Park on the very next day.
On September 6th and 7th, Magic Kingdom closes at 7pm for the Night of Joy event. Other 7pm closes indicate a Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Mickey’s Party dates may change, but most likely won’t.
The crowd calendar should be available sometime tomorrow. It’s pretty straightforward.