May 2012 Walt Disney World: Park Hour and Crowd Calendar Updates

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The Disney World park hours were recently updated for May, with many operating hours extended for the Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. There are now many days where the Magic Kingdom is open until 11pm and a few Saturdays where it will stay open until 12am or even 1am. In addition, many nights a second Main Street Electrical Parade has been added.

Hollywood Studios also had quite a few days changed, days where the park will now be open until 10pm. Most of those days will also see an additional showing of Fantasmic. Hollywood Studios also gains a few 8am openings in honor of Star Wars Weekends. Animal Kingdom had only a handful of days adjusted, those until 8pm.

The chart below shows all current park hours with changes in red. One warning that the hours for the Sunday through Thursday of Memorial Day week (May 27-31) have yet to be updated, so those will most likely change on or about May 14.

You will also notice some changes to our Crowd Calendar involving some of the changed dates. We recently began using our own internal projected park hours to give you the most accurate crowd ratings available. Using these projected hours has made our long-term crowd ratings more stable, but we are not perfect (well, some of us).

The crowd levels for a few days changed by more than 3, and I would like to explain our rationale for the higher initial ratings.

May 6, 7, 14, and 18: Magic Kingdom’s crowd level decreased by 3.1. For all four of these days we initially projected a closing of 11pm with two performances of the Main Street Electrical Parade. As seen above, on all of these days, the actual closing time is 10pm, and there is only one Main Street Electrical Parade.  The reason for the over-projection is because, on the equivalent days last year (first Sunday in May and so on), the Magic Kingdom was open until 11pm with two Main Street Electrical Parades. Seeing as attendance has been generally higher this year, we assumed the trend of longer operating hours would continue.

May 12: Magic Kingdom’s crowd level decreased by 3.2. This day we initially projected a closing of 1am, but the actual closing time is 11pm. Again, on the equivalent day last year, the Magic Kingdom was open until 1am.

May 24: Epcot’s crowd level decreased by 6.6. This was another error. Last year there appears to have been a special event on the equivalent day that was not removed from our projections.

We apologize for the changes, although we are happy that in all cases the crowd levels are now lower than they previously were. One thing you should be aware of is that Disney sometimes announces extended operating hours on the actual day of operation. We see the above dates as prime candidates for these last minute extensions, especially May 12 at the Magic Kingdom. These extensions are not necessarily something that can be planned around, but you should be aware that they are possible.

Thanks!

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Posted on April 22, 2012

6 Responses to “May 2012 Walt Disney World: Park Hour and Crowd Calendar Updates”

  • I’m hoping there are changes to the September park hours to generate a spreadsheet like this :-) Love the layout!

  • by Andrew Drummond on April 23, 2012, at 9:36 am EDT

    Agreed. Although my next trip is not until November, this is a very intuitive way to look at it.

  • I don’t get it….WDW increases hours and crowd levels go down? I would think by how you measure everything that if Disney thinks crowds necessitate increasing their previously posted hours that in your adjustments the crowd levels would increase. Our trip is May and while I am thankful crowd estimates are decreasing, we have never seen an 8-8 at AK with EMH hour at 7 before? Not even in 08 and 09 July when 3 am MK EMH was the norm…

  • Thanks for this detailed look at how changes to park hours influence predicted crowd levels. I hope you will make this a regular feature on the blog, especially since I am going in June! Love that spreadsheet.

  • We will be there in May with the extended family. Perhaps with the closure of Test Track, Disney is trying to drive crowds away from Epcot to Hollywood Studios and the Fantasmic twice nightly or Magic Kingdom with 2 parades and late nights? Since we are traveling with big kids (18, 19, 22 and 23) we love the late nights….and these changes are almost too good to be true for us.

  • Great updates, just in time for May. I know (as a local) this is a great time to visit for crowds and weather!