Disney World Park Hours: What to Expect in August

by on June 5, 2012 11 Comments

Filed under: Crowd Blog

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 December), 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, August’s adjusted hours should be released on or around July 16) 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 August hours are adjusted. And the chart below shows what the final park hours were for Walt Disney World in August 2011.

The numbers in red are August 2011 dates that changed when park hours were adjusted in mid-July last year. Yes, there were many changes.

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 August (2012) have not yet been released.
  • The opening times for all parks change very, very rarely (not one time last August).
  • Epcot times change very, very rarely (which is why they are not listed).
  • Wishes is performed once per night, and changes in August are very rare.  We’ve 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. August represents a transition from a peak period to a slower period (as children return to school). We call these “shoulder periods,” and they mean that the above listed variables can be less predictable. As you can see, last year that meant a lot of change for Hollywood Studios, but not as much for the Magic Kingdom or Animal Kingdom.

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, August 5, through Saturday, August 11, 2012 you would look at the first Sunday through the second Saturday from last year (August 7-14, 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. I am planning to make this a regular feature as hours are released, so other months are coming. Please let me know in the comments below if there is anything else you would like to see on a regular basis.


Interested in July 2011? Check out this post.


Posted on June 5, 2012

11 Responses to “Disney World Park Hours: What to Expect in August”

  • I definitely love this analysis. However, I would really want to see it published when the prelim hours are released. In other words, December prelim hours were released a few weeks ago. I would love to see this analysis along side so that I can plan accurately right from the start.

    • That is actually the plan Terri. I was just afraid that if I started with December I would get a lot of comments about the months in between, so I decided to go in order. I plan on releasing a new month every week or two until I get caught up with the preliminary hours release.

  • I can’t wait to see October. I love having this become a regular entry.

  • I also appreciate this. August is a tricky month. I’m going the exact same week I went last year, but last year it was during Regular season and now it’s Summer. That means it’s more expensive and more crowds. Boo 🙁

  • Thank you for this interesting information on August We are visiting WDW the last full week (August 25-September 1).

  • I am glad, I am planning for September, so I can’t wait to see your predictions for that month. It never occured that park hours might change when we started planning!

  • I’m sure you all have already taken this into consideration, but just in case, the Republican National Convention will be in Tampa this year August 27-30. I don’t know if or how this will affect the crowds, but it is affecting our decision on when to visit.

  • I’m waiting patiently for the August hours to update. I’ll be there the last week of August too; shouldn’t the hours be updated by now?

    • Yes Jessica, the hours did come out just two days ago (only through Aug 25th though). I should get the new post up this weekend, but you can check all the updated hours on our Crowd Calendar pages.