WDW Park Hours: What to Expect in February 2013

by on November 6, 2012 5 Comments

Filed under: Crowd Blog, Trip Planning

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 May), 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, December’s adjusted hours should be released on or around November 12) 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 February hours are adjusted. And the chart below shows what the final park hours were for Walt Disney World in February 2012.

The numbers in red are February 2012 dates that changed when park hours were adjusted in mid-January 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 February (2013) have not yet been released.
  • The third week (or so) in February (16-23 in 2013) is President’s Day week and tends to be quite a bit busier than the surrounding days. The park hours are expected to reflect this.
  • The opening times for all parks change very rarely (with the obvious exception being during the busy President’s Day week).
  • Epcot times change very, very rarely (which is why they are not listed).
  • Wishes is performed once per night, and changes 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 the most variable.
  • Fantasmic! and the Main Street Electrical Parade were both undergoing refurbishment in February 2012, which is why there are big periods of inactivity. Barring something unforeseen, that will not be the case in 2013.

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 Saturday, February 9, through Saturday, February 16, 2013 you would look at the second Saturday through the third Saturday from last year (February 11-18, 2012). 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 May). Once I have caught it, I will post these as the new preliminary hours are released.


Posted on November 6, 2012

5 Responses to “WDW Park Hours: What to Expect in February 2013”

  • I love this sort of data – thank you.
    How would you predict crowd patterns opening times for Easter? I could look up last years Easter weekend no problem. But have no idea how you’d then add the date change with Spring break. Would it be best just to look at Easter or look at the dates and add a bit, technical term there:) I am not even sure as a Brit what holidays you have over the Easter weekend. In the UK we get 2 Bank Holidays and the kids get 2 weeks off including the Easter weekend
    Might be quite useful for a fair number of your prescribers as to get a direct flight from the UK for the Easter holidays to Orlando needs to be booked before May!?!?! so I guess there will be quite a few of us


    • by Brian McNichols on November 7, 2012, at 9:09 am EST

      Easter is the hardest holiday to deal with because of how variable the dates are. Generally speaking, the weeks before and after Easter are very busy (because many US schools also have time off). The “spring break season,” which is mid-March, is also very busy. In 2013, with Easter being 31 March, these two periods will run almost back to back making the parks quite busy from March 8 through early April. Anytime during that period arriving at the parks before opening and using a Touring Plan will make life a lot easier.

  • by magicalmouseinsider on November 7, 2012, at 4:12 pm EST

    I believe the Magic Kingdom on Sunday February 19th 2012 (the day before President’s day) closed at 3:00am. For the past couple of years Disney has closed the MK at this time making it ideal to visit MK on President’s day since so many vacationers are sleeping in. The only catch is that you must get to the park at 7:45am just before rope drop. My family has done this for the past few years and we were able to ride 14 popular attractions before 11:30am. We then head promptly to lunch, beating the rush and leave the park right after. Crowds start pouring in around 11:00am making it extremely crowded. We spend the rest of the day enjoying our Disney hotel and pool!

  • A quick question about Thanksgiving. This week (Jersey Week) MK opens at 8am, but the week of Thanksgiving it opens at 9am. Would this change this close to the date? It seems like a very busy time and strange tht MK is not opening at 8am. Thoughts…?