Crowd Calendar Affected by Disney’s Recent Changes

The increase in last minute vacation bookings has forced Disney to continue its recent practice of adjusting park hours and schedules on the fly. Park hours have been increased for certain days in July and August and Extra Magic Hour schedules for July through October have been affected as well. Since park hours and Extra Magic Hour schedules are key components of the Crowd Calendar estimates, the Crowd Calendar has been affected greatly. You may find that recommended parks and crowd index levels have changed for the dates of your trip.

With free dining causing lengthly queues for booking Advance Dining Reservations it is a wonder how Disney expects its guests to plan in advance while schedules are being changed.

Regardless, we remind you that your best use of planning time is to prioritize based on those factors that are most important to your travelling group.

  • Advance Dining Reservations are difficult to come by. Schedule your week based on the ADRs that you are able to aquire. Spending time planning out which park you should visit on a given day may mean that you are missing out on dining availability.
  • Consider using park hopper tickets to visit the recommended park on a given day then hop to the park with your ADR.
  • Using a Touring Plan is still the best and most efficient way to beat any crowd. Hence the name of the site.

The Crowd Calendar as always, is subject to change. Check regularly, especially right before your trip, to see if any changes have been made.

Fred Hazelton

Fred Hazelton maintains the crowd calendar, theme park wait time models and does hotel rate analysis for the Unofficial Guides. He's also done the models for the new mobile wait times product Lines. Fred Hazelton is a professional statistician living in Ontario, Canada. His email address is fred@touringplans.com. You can also follow him on Twitter: @DisneyStatsWhiz.

46 thoughts on “Crowd Calendar Affected by Disney’s Recent Changes

  • July 22, 2009 at 4:10 pm
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    Where on the Disney Web Site can I get the evening show schedule for August and September. Parades, Fantasmic, Wishes, etc..

    Can’t seem to find it anymore.

    • July 22, 2009 at 4:23 pm
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      When you go to the daily calender, click on the day you want to visit a park. From there, it will give a list of entertainment schedules.

    • July 22, 2009 at 6:21 pm
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      Go to the Disneyworld website and go to park hours.
      On the calendar for each park, click on the hours for that day and it will show you all the activities and times for that day (shows, parades, fireworks, etc.)

  • July 22, 2009 at 6:14 pm
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    wow, thanks. plan based on earlier best/worst parks to visit has me in the wrong place at the wrong time. with new information, i’ll just flip two days and be much better off. can’t wait to go for adr’s and tour reservations tomorrow!

  • July 23, 2009 at 10:31 am
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    We will be in Disney from Sept. 26th thru Oct. 4th. We booked dining reservations for the restaurants we really want to visit for the first 5 days of our trip. We really didn’t make set plans for the last 3 days of our trip though. We figured we would play those days by ear depending on how much we accomplished the first 5 days. Do you think we will able to make ADRs while we are there that week? It is just my husband and I and we are not picky about the location or time of day we eat. We were in Disney in January of 08 and made all of our dinner reservations each morning. That wasn’t during free dining of course.
    thanks!

    • July 24, 2009 at 7:09 am
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      Not during free dining. Make them now, they are non binding in most cases so you can cancel if you don’t feel like a big dinner. Having only fast food as you option for the last 3 days may get old….

    • July 24, 2009 at 8:10 am
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      “Do you think we will able to make ADRs while we are there that week?”

      If you don’t mind your choices being limited to Nine Dragons at 8:45, or Captain Jacks at 4:30. 🙂

      Your last-minute options will be *extremely* limited if you’re going during Free Dining. I’d make ADRs now–right now. That way you have a Plan B to fall back on if you can’t make ADRs there.

      • July 24, 2009 at 3:54 pm
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        Thanks guys- you were right. I just went online to book for our last 3 days. I had to switch around some times and locations but luckily, was able to get some halfway decent reservations :o) I sadly was not able to get Boma, so we are going to Jiko instead.

  • July 24, 2009 at 8:08 am
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    I’m planning to make my ADR tomorrow for Oct 25th at Crystal Palace – what time should I be on line to get the time that I want?

    • July 24, 2009 at 11:15 am
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      To make sure you get the ADR for that day get online @ 6:01 AM EST 90 days out.

      • July 27, 2009 at 8:11 am
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        I just got it – 90 days out – over the phone and no wait..
        Thanks for the tip! On line didn’t have the time that I wanted, but calling in was ok by me.

  • July 25, 2009 at 9:18 am
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    NOW GET THIS if you want ADR’s at any popular Disney restaurants during free dining. (ESPECIALLY Le Cellier or California Grill). You must make the reservation at 0700 a.m. EST (that means you call even earlier if you live in a different time zone.) 90 days from the day you arrive. Call to get the right day if you are not sure. If you are a Disney resort guest (you will need your confirmation #). they will let you make up to ten days of ADRS from the 1st day of your visit. The on-line system was not letting me do that last week, and over two weeks of checking I noticed it was also frequently 1 to 2 days behind the 90 day cut off point.

    • July 25, 2009 at 11:50 am
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      Yeah, you can’t go 10 days into your trip online. I called to verify and the person I talked to said you can only do exactly 90 days out online. I told her that was dumb :o) And you’re right, sometimes it is a few days behind online.

  • July 25, 2009 at 4:07 pm
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    Anyone know why Epcot is the park to avoid on Wednesday October 7th? TIA

    • July 25, 2009 at 10:52 pm
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      Epcot is listed as the park for Extra Magic Hour evenings on October 7. Generally, parks hosting Extra Magic Hours will have larger crowds. If you have some reason that you wish to visit Epcot on that day, feel free! The October crowds are usually pretty manageable, even with EMH.

      • July 30, 2009 at 5:56 pm
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        Thank you

  • July 25, 2009 at 8:23 pm
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    hah! i was online at 0224 EST on the first day (my 90 day window) and cali grill, kona, and narcosee’s were all sold out for 7-9 p.m., the time frame i wanted to view wishes during dinner. good luck.

  • July 25, 2009 at 11:13 pm
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    Hello,
    I was just looking at the Epcot schedule for Sept. 25th (first night of Food & Wine) on the Disney website, and the Illuminations show is not listed.
    Is it possible that they wont be doing the show that night, or is this just a mistake???

    Thanks for any help you can provide!

    • July 26, 2009 at 7:49 am
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      It’s almost certainly a mistake. From time to time Disney forgets to list things like afternoon parades or every-night fireworks. They correct most of these eventually.

      • July 26, 2009 at 8:06 am
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        The Canadian site confirms that Illumintaions is indeed scheduled for that day (and every other day). Sometimes I find that if you just refresh the page, the proper schedule will show up.

        • July 31, 2009 at 2:28 pm
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          How about this one: during the week of September 26 to October 3, the Magic Kingdom closes at 7pm three times. Is this Disney’s way of saving money on the Wishes fireworks? How does the early closing time affect crowds in the afternoon?

          • July 31, 2009 at 10:44 pm
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            Disney has special events at the Magic Kingdom. From Sept. 4- Nov. 1, 2009 they have Mickey’s not so scary Halloween Party. It is just on select nights. Hope this helps!

          • August 1, 2009 at 4:00 pm
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            OK, I see that the Not So Scarey parties are on those dates. They’re not on the “master calendar” for those days on the Disney website though. The TouringPlans crowd calendar says that those are level 4, so I guess people avoid the parks on those days with short hours. I am still wondering if the afternoons are more crowded with people who are staying for Not So Scarey.

  • July 26, 2009 at 12:15 pm
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    Has the Touring Plans team heard any verification or additional information on the rumor that Disney will raise their ticket prices on the first Sunday of August? Any information would be helpful.

    Thanks! Keep up the good work.

    • July 27, 2009 at 5:36 am
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      In terms of verification or confirmation from Disney nothing has come down the wire. In terms of rumour value, I certainly would feel comfortable betting the mortgage on this one. Ticket prices have increased in the first few days of August over the last several years and there is no reason to think this year will be any different.

      Check out Len’s blog on this subject:
      http://blog.touringplans.com/2009/07/14/rumor-roundup/#comments

  • July 28, 2009 at 3:47 pm
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    My upcoming trip is the week of August 9th-16th (took advantage of the last week of buy 4 get 3 free. Plus that was the first week of value rates on the resorts, so that made the savings even more! So keep that in mind when looking for trips, if a value season starts during a promotion the savings can be tremendous). Anyway…

    I notice there are a lot of very late evening EMH nights during my week (MK until 2am, Epcot and DHS until 12am, even AK until 9pm). I am very much a nite owl and am now planning on taking advantage of the very late nights at the parks. I see you’ve adjusted the crowd levels up based on these extended hours, but how many people are going to be in a park until 12am or 2am? Or maybe a better to phrase it is, do the crowd levels begin to thin out well the later in the night it gets?

    • July 31, 2009 at 12:55 pm
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      Yes, the crowds will thin out slightly as the Extra Magic Hour gets closer to closing. The later the closing, the more thin the crowd will get.

  • August 6, 2009 at 7:01 pm
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    Are there any more crowd calendar updates for August?

  • August 11, 2009 at 4:33 pm
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    Hey Fred (or others), can you explain why the calendar sort of “spikes” to a 7 on Wednesday October 14? Its at a 4 Monday, Tuesday and Thursday that week. What’s so special about a Wednesday?

  • September 11, 2009 at 12:16 pm
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    Hi,
    I will be at WDW from sept 19-26. On these dates the parks have a CL of 4 or 6.

    On days with a CL of 4, can I slightly modify the suggested touring plans to reduce walking? or should I stick to the plan exactly?

    What about for days with CL of 6?

    Thanks, you guys have been of great help

  • September 13, 2009 at 2:26 pm
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    I just found this part of the site and am finding it very helpful. I have looked at the crowd sizes for my stay and they do definately relate to what park has EMH, but I still am wondering…. Is that crowd level number an average of all the parks, with the EMH park being possibly a bit higher and the “best park/s to visit” being a bit lower than that number? Or is it an estimated level of the EMH park only? After the new EMH hours were posted for the week I will be there in Oct, I noticed the crowd levels went up on the 10th and 11th. Is this because MK has late hours both of those days and is that “8” indicative of MK only?
    Thanks for helping me clear my head a little. I will be trying the touring plans for the first time ever and am hoping they will give my family some relief in the neverending discussions in the middle of the park, of where to go next, as well as save us time in lines standing and backtracking! I’ll let you know how it goes!

  • September 16, 2009 at 10:33 pm
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    I was hoping for some validation on my plan. I’ve been planning my trip obsessively for the past few months. I am going with my husband, 6 yo daughter and mother in law. We will be there the night of Oct 22 through early afternoon the 27th. My days are scheduled as follows:

    Fri 23 – MK
    Sat 24 – AK (wishes dessert party at MK at night)
    Sun 25 – EP
    Mon 26 – DS (for Fantasmic)
    Tue 27 – Daughters choice

    Would you do anything different? There is no good MK day according to the calendar. We have the QS dining plan so ADR’s are not an issue. We are planning for opening starts, mid day naps and afternoons at the same park (although we do have park hoppers)

    Thanks for any advise!

    • September 18, 2009 at 11:28 pm
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      Don’t worry so much about the park you attend – just follow the touring guide and arrive BEFORE THE PARK OPENS. Our family has been to disney 7 or so times over a period of 15 years – never in the summer but sometimes at peak times and have never had a problem with lines as long as we followed the touring guides. Use your hopper options at night to visit another park after rest and dinner. Have fun! We’ll be arriving on Oct 27th and leaving on Nov. 1.
      Question – anyone have any good advise for the not so scary halloween party – we are going on the 29th for the first time. Thanks

        • September 19, 2009 at 4:33 pm
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          I was confused when listening to the episode on the not so scary halloween party – please help – Did I hear the hosts saying that if you go into the party early – 4:00 – that you will be detained in a small part of the park? Will you be able to go into the Magic Kingdom and ride the attractions while you are waiting for the 7:00 party to start?

        • September 19, 2009 at 4:37 pm
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          I listened to the episode on the MNSSHP you recommended. Did I understand correctly that the host said if you enter the park before 7:00 (they let you in as early as 4:00) that you will be detained in a small part of the park. Can you go into MK and enjoy the rides from 4 to 7 until the party starts?

  • September 19, 2009 at 8:33 am
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    Just curious about Columbus Day being a 4 and the following Monday a 7. Last year, it seemed packed on Columbus Day. Thanks for helping make our trips the best! Love this site!

  • September 24, 2009 at 7:38 pm
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    Hey Fred
    Looking ahead to my trip, 10/21 – 10/26, it looks like Saturday 10/24 is given an “8” but all other days are “4”. How did that Saturday get such a jump? Which park would you recommend visiting that day other than AK? We’re not planning an AK visit this trip. THANKS!!

  • September 28, 2009 at 12:08 am
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    I am taking my wee ones on our 1st ever Disney World trip from 12-3-09 to 12-10-09. We have been to Disneyland so many times my kids think Mickey Mouse is their brother. What would be the most fun for a 8 and 10 year old on this trip? We are staying at the Carribbean Beach Resort and have a Park hopper for 7 days. Thanks to all!!!

    • September 28, 2009 at 12:01 pm
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      Kevin
      With a 7 day park hopper, your options are limitless. Couple questions: Does your plan include the meal option and do your tickets include the water parks? With that info, we can help you out. If you are considering Sea World, I would do it, even though it’s a separate admission ticket. Do you have 7 full days of “parks hopping” or is travel taking up portions of those days?

      • September 28, 2009 at 12:54 pm
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        Hi Tim,

        Thanks for the response. The only day that will be partial travel is the the 10th of December. We have a 6:00pm flight out of Orlando. We have seen Sea World numerous times in San Diego, si I don’t know about going there again on this trip. We have also been to Universal Hollywood. I really want to see as much of “The World” as possible. Our plan includes the Dining Plus. 1 Sit down, 1 counter and 1 snack a day. With all of us being guys (I am a single full time dad), we prefer buffets. Hope this helps, thanks.

        • September 28, 2009 at 2:45 pm
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          Kevin
          You are in good shape and should be able to see the 4 main parks several times over. Being all guys, you can even skip a lot of the girly stuff. December, I believe, should not be very crowded, so wait times should be reasonable. Use FastPass if necessary. We stay in 1 park all day, open to close, and just do the “big people” rides, with Peter Pan’s Flight mixed in! Follow the “Crowd Calendar” to see which parks are forecast to be less crowded and plan with that. We found them fairly accurate. The touring plans are great, but we had trouble being in the right spot at the right time, since there is a lot of running around. We did a lot of buffets as well. In MK, we ate at The Crystal Palace. In Epcot, we ate at Aukerhsaus (sp?) but Biergarten was our 2nd choice. At AK, we ate at Boma. I would HIGHLY recommend all of those.I don’t recall a buffet in MGM Studios. We ate at Hollywood and Vine and also at Brown Derby. Both were wonderful. Since you are not visiting during a “peak” time, you should be able to see everything in a week’s time. If you buy the book (Unofficial Guide to WDW) they have lists of “must-see” rides and attractions/shows, as well as everything you would ever need to know. It would be beneficial to review the list to make sure you hit all the “big” ones. I have never been to WDW that late (December) so the water parks may not be a factor for you. If you need anything else, give a post. Have a great time. We’ll be there in 3 short weeks 🙂

      • September 28, 2009 at 12:55 pm
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        Forgot to mention, no water park option, but yes to the park hopper. thanks again

  • September 30, 2009 at 2:27 pm
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    Do travel agents have any advantage for making ADR’s that the vacationer does not? I’m wondering if I should make my ADR’s for the hard to get places or ask my travel agent to do it. I can’t book online with the +10 window since I booked through an agent rather than Disney.

  • October 1, 2009 at 9:22 am
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    Wendy
    I don’t think being a travel agent has anything to do with the ADR’s. Try clicking (or copy/paste) on this:
    http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/restaurants/
    and see if you can make reservations. I got the places I wanted and I was inside 4 weeks from departure. If you want to eat in Cindi’s Castle, you might have an issue tho.

  • June 23, 2010 at 6:28 am
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    Hello, thanks for sharing this pretty post, carry on, it’s a pleasure to read you

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