A Disney World crowd calendar is a very important tool when planning a Disney World vacation. I always advise people to choose in advance where they are going to go on which days. There is some strategy involved that you can apply to help avoid large crowds. Also, choosing your park days in advance will make your planning much smoother when making dining reservations and fastpass selections. Once you know where you will be each day, everything else will fall in to place.
Disney World Crowd Calendars
Using a Disney World crowd calendar is highly advisable, and they are very easy to use. I have one in my planning guide that will help you determine when is the best time of year to visit Disney World. However, when planning your park days, you will want to use a more detailed Disney World crowd calendar. The one I use is from UndercoverTourist.
The Disney World crowd calendar on UndercoverTourist, will give you a detailed breakdown by day and park. Each park will have either a green check mark or a red exclamation mark next to it for each day. If a park has a red exclamation mark, that means you may want to avoid that park on that day. The Disney World crowd calendar anticipates that crowds will be higher at those parks on those days, so best to try and avoid them. Stick to the parks with green check marks to have your best chance at avoiding higher crowd levels.
Consider Extra Magic Hours
The Disney World crowd calendar on UndercoverTourist will also include information about Extra Magic Hours, however you may want to verify that the information has not changed on Disney’s website. It is not uncommon that they update or add new extra magic hours, so always check Disney’s site to be sure.
Extra Magic Hours is extra time that they give in the parks to anyone staying at a Disney resort hotel. Depending on where you are staying, you may want to plan for Extra Magic Hours or avoid them. Crowds do tend to be higher at parks on days when they have Extra Magic Hours, so make sure to keep that in mind. If you are staying at on off-site hotel/rental, then you may want to avoid parks on days when they are offering Extra Magic Hours. That will help your chances of avoiding the highest crowd levels.
If you are a guest at a Disney resort, then you may want to go to parks on Extra Magic Hour days. It is one of the perks you get from staying at a Disney resort, so if you want to take advantage of it, then you will need to know when they are offered and plan for those parks on those days.
Avoid Magic Kingdom on Mondays
Mondays tend to be known as one of the busiest days of the week at Magic Kingdom. The reasoning behind this is because most people travel on the weekend and will just be starting vacation. Since Magic Kingdom is the most popular park out of all 4 parks, it tends to be the one that most guests will head to first.
Sundays do seem to be a recommended day to visit the Magic Kingdom. If you arrived on a Friday or Saturday, then you may want to plan for a day at the Magic Kingdom on the Sunday.
The rule of avoiding Magic Kingdom on Mondays is not shared by all. It is a rule that assumes everyone arrives on the weekend. We know this is not always true as people travel on any day of the week, so only use it in your schedule if it is convenient. If you are having trouble deciding on park days and Monday seems to be the only day you can go to the Magic Kingdom, then don’t stress over this rule.
Avoid Weekends at Epcot during Festivals
Epcot holds several festivals during the year:
- Festival of the Arts (January – February)
- Flower & Garden Festival (March – May)
- Food & Wine Festival (August – November)
These festivals will mean higher crowds at Epcot on the weekends. This is when you will find more locals in the parks. The festivals do tend to draw a higher amount of locals to Epcot on the weekends. The festival that draws the highest amount of locals is the Food & Wines Festival in the Fall. That one in particular, you will want to avoid the weekends. Crowds in the world showcase area of the park can get heavy and make it unpleasant to tour the park.
If you are planning to attend a festival at Epcot, then it is always recommended to plan for a weekday. Also, the earlier you go in the day (for example early afternoon), the higher chance you will get at avoiding high crowds. As evening nears, crowds will always increase in world showcase when there is an active festival.
Plan for Certain Rides at the End of Your Trip
Some of the most popular rides will require you to have a fastpass if you do not want to wait in long lines. If you are a Disney World resort guest and are booking as soon as your 60 day window opens, then you should be able to get most of what you want. There are however some rides that are in very high demand and can be hard to get. For example, at the moment, the hardest fastpass to get is for Flights of Passage at Animal Kingdom. It is the fastpass that everyone is trying to get, so there is some strategy involved when trying to obtain one.
The most successful strategy to use is to plan that park day towards the end of your trip. This will increase your chances of getting the fastpass. The reasoning behind this is because when your 60 day window opens, you can book fastpasses starting from your check-in date and up to 10 days after (or the length of your trip). Anyone that checks in a few days or a week prior to you, will have already selected fastpasses for that ride on days that fall at the beginning of your trip. The last days on your trip will have less fastpasses already selected, so more will be available to you when your fastpass window opens.
With that in mind, for Flights of Passage, I would recommend planning your Animal Kingdom visit on your last day. When you log in to select your fastpasses when your 60 day window opens (opens at 7 am Eastern time), you will want to immediately select your last day and obtain that hard-to-get fastpass first. That will be your best chance at getting the most popular fastpasses in the parks.
Check for Party Days at Magic Kingdom
During the Fall months, Magic Kingdom holds parties to celebrate the season several times per week. From late August to October, they have Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. From November to December, they have Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
These parties do affect park hours, so you will want to be aware of when they are held. You may be able to find them indicated on the Disney World crowd calendar at UndercoverTourist. On days when parties are held, the Magic Kingdom will close to any non-party guests at 7 pm. You wouldn’t want to show up at the park expecting to spend the evening there only to find out you have to leave early 🙁
If you think you may be interested in attending the party, you will have to buy tickets for it. You can take a look at this blog post that highlights some of the extra perks you will find at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.
Now that you are equipped with some strategies, you are ready to choose your park days! Are there any tips that you have for choosing park days that are not mentioned above?
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Laura is a mom of one adorable girl with a love of all things Disney. She traveled to Disney World with her family in 2010 and was hooked. They have since been a total of over 10 times. With all her knowledge of planning Disney trips, she now wants to share that with others. She loves giving guidance, tips and advice to others planning their magical vacation!