WDW Park Hours: What to Expect in November

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Here at TouringPlans.com we spend a lot of time honing our predictions to make our Crowd Calendar the most accurate available. One of the many methods we employ is projecting park hours for all of Disney’s Florida theme parks. You may be wondering why we bother since Disney World publishes its park hours for all to see. Well, Disney does not always make things easy (as outlined here).

The published hours are available for the next six months (currently through February), but they are simply preliminary hours. Disney doesn’t create an operational schedule for its employees that far in advance. Using things like hotel occupancy rates and dining reservations, Disney reviews all hours for a given month approximately two weeks prior to the start of that month (for instance, September’s adjusted hours should be released on or around August 20) and makes changes to its park hours.

How often are park hours changed two weeks before the start of a month? This post will give you idea of what to expect when November hours are adjusted. And the chart below shows what the final park hours were for Walt Disney World in November 2011.

The numbers in red are November 2011 dates that changed when park hours were adjusted in mid-October last year.

There are a few things you should notice about this chart:

  • As mentioned above, these are the final park hours from last year (I want to make that very clear); final hours for this November (2012) have not yet been released.
  • Thanksgiving week is very busy, which is why the hours were all expanded last year during that week. You can expect similar long days this year as well as similar crowd levels.
  • The opening times for all parks change very, very rarely (with the obvious exception being during the busy Thanksgiving period).
  • Epcot times change very, very rarely (which is why they are not listed).
  • Speaking of Epcot, the preliminary hours for that park show it will be open until 10pm (instead of the usual 9pm) on Fridays and Saturdays in the beginning of November for the Food  & Wine Festival. Preliminary 2012 hours also show that Epcot will be open until 9:30pm during Thanksgiving week.
  • Wishes is performed once per night, except on days where there is a Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (November 1, 8, 9, 11, 13, 15, 18, 27, 29, 30, 2012). Changes in November are very rare, so we have not listed Wishes because of this.
  • The days that have Extra Magic Hours almost never change.
  • Closing times for the Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, as well as the number of performances of the Main Street Electrical Parade and Fantasmic!, are highly variable at peak times.
  • November  has many peaks and valleys as seen by the sporadic red on that chart, and that makes it a tricky month to predict. One thing you should be aware of is that Disney has been reluctant this summer to extend the Magic Kingdom’s closing time to the extremes, such as 12am (like on November 5 and 12, 2011). 11pm closings are becoming more normal rather than those very late weekend nights.

So the real question is what you should expect for this year. Since we started actively tracking park hour changes, we have noticed that the previous year is quite a good predictor of the upcoming changes. We do make some adjustments for our internal calculations, but the chart above should give you a good idea for planning purposes.

One thing to remember is to compare days of the week rather than numerical dates. For instance, if you are traveling from Sunday, November 4, through Saturday, November 10, 2012 you would look at the first Sunday through the second Saturday from last year (November 6-12, 2011). Please also keep in mind that this chart is one of many references for you to use in planning your trip and is not necessarily the exact operating times.

I hope you find this information useful. As you may have guessed by now, this is going to be a regular feature. I am still in the process of “catching up” to the currently available Walt Disney World calendar (currently through February). Once I have caught it, I will post these as the new preliminary hours are released.

Thanks!

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Posted on August 14, 2012

14 Responses to “WDW Park Hours: What to Expect in November”

  • Thank you for the information. I will be arriving the Monday after Thanksgiving Day hoping that most guests will be flying or driving back home after the busy weekend before I arrive Monday evening.

  • This is useful, thanks! And it reminds me of a question I had for other Disney fans and people who have been in November:
    I was planning on attending Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party for the first time at the end of November. I have heard people say that you can enter the park “as early as 4pm” on a MVMCP ticket, but does anyone know whether the turnstiles are routinely open to guests that early, or is it just that someone was able to do it once? The party starts at 7pm, but I would love to make the most of my ticket while still following Disney’s rules.

  • Alca, I saw your post in my email. I usually go every December and I usually arrive on the Monday after Thanksgiving. I don’t know about this upcoming year, but I have always been able to pick up my MVMCP wristband around 4:00 P.M. at the gate entrance. I now have an Annual Pass, so I usually either go in earlier to see the MK afternoon parade and then go to the front of the park ticket entrance and show my MVMCP ticket and they give me a wristband or later in the evening, I have seen them near the Tomorrowland on left as you cross the bridge last year.

    Author: Alca
    Comment:
    This is useful, thanks! And it reminds me of a question I had for other Disney fans and people who have been in November:
    I was planning on attending Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party for the first time at the end of November. I have heard people say that you can enter the park “as early as 4pm” on a MVMCP ticket, but does anyone know whether the turnstiles are routinely open to guests that early, or is it just that someone was able to do it once? The party starts at 7pm, but I would love to make the most of my ticket while still following Disney’s rules.

  • Love this new feature. Can’t wait for Dec. :-)

  • Thank you. I am VERY nervous about our trip and how crowded it will be – we will be there the whole week of Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving weekend. I hope it’s not wall to wall people :(

    • I’m not going to lie to you…it will be busy. Here’s the secret though, get to the park 30-45 minutes before opening and follow a Touring Plan. You will have so much done by lunch that you can take a break in the afternoon and refresh for those long evening hours. It is still a blast and it’s awesome to feel like you’ve beat the system.

  • Have you taken into account that the parties at MK fall on different days this year? For example, last year there was a party on Sunday of Veteran’s day weekend and this year it is on Monday.

    • Well, sort of. The above chart is simply what occurred last year, not necessarily what this coming November will be like. Our crowd calendar numbers for this November do reflect changes like that, but this chart does not. These posts are just another planning tool to give people an idea of what the park hours might look like.

  • Thanks for the extra effort to look at last year’s hours to help predict this year’s crowds! I agree with your analysis; it’s a much better method to predict crowd levels than using preliminary hours.

  • We just booked for Nov 29-Dec 3 then realized that this is quite possibly the taping of the Christmas parade (Nov 30/Dec 1). Any thoughts on if or when to avoid Magic Kingdom?

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