Crowd Calendar Update – Hours Posted For April 2011

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Disney recently posted official park hours for April 2011. At the same time, there were several changes to park schedules and park hours in October, November, December, January, February and March.

Park schedules and park hours tell us a lot about what the crowds will look like. When park hours change it is a sign that crowds may be different than originally expected. We have incorporated all the changes to the park hours and park schedules so make sure to check the dates of your vacation – the crowd calendar may have changed.

What does this mean?

Since most of the changes are in the direction of extended hours and additional shows and parades we can assume that advance bookings are up. Dining promotions and general health of the economy may be making vacations to Walt Disney World more popular than originally expected in the upcoming months.

Conversely, it may be that the original park hours and schedules were too pessimistic.

Regardless, it does mean that our estimates for the crowd calendar have been affected. Make sure to double-check your travel dates.

Here is a synopsis of the changes we noticed:


  • Fantasmic! shows added and hours extended at the Studios (7th, 10th, 12th, 14th, 18th, 21st, 24th and 28th)
  • Nighttime parades added and hours extended at the Magic Kingdom (9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th)


  • Hours reduced at the Disney’s Animal Kingdom (1st, 2nd and 3rd)
  • Special Private Event closes the Magic Kingdom at 6:30 on November 9th


  • Hours extended at the Magic Kingdom on December 6th
  • Hours extended at Disney’s Animal Kingdom (8th, 15th, 21st and 22nd)


  • Only minor changes that don’t affect the crowd calendar


  • Hours extended at Disney’s Animal Kingdom (20th, 25th, 28th)
  • Dates changes for ESPN The Weekend (Formerly 25th – 28th)


  • Hours extended at Disney’s Animal Kingdom (3rd, 4th, 6th and 26th)
  • Dates changes for ESPN The Weekend (4th – 6th)

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 You can also follow him on Twitter: @DisneyStatsWhiz.

15 thoughts on “Crowd Calendar Update – Hours Posted For April 2011

  • September 28, 2010 at 10:28 am

    I noticed that a couple of the crowd calendar predictions during my trip (11/28-12/2), were raised last week. Naturally I thought those dates would show on this post. I was surprised that they were not part of the park hours and special event changes. I did call to extend my trip for a day and was told that there were very few options to do that. Do you think that my vacation week has turned out to be much busier than originally expected? Is that the reason you raised your predictions?

    • September 28, 2010 at 12:23 pm

      Hi Trina,

      Our calendar is based on a relative scale that compares each day to another. When the park hours change it can affect any day on the calendar. Think of it this way: if one day becomes less desirable then another must become more desirable to even things out. Does that make sense?

      We didn’t specifically raise the predictions for your travel days. Given all the changes this is where the chips fell. You have still picked a good time to go and the crowds should be quite manageable. The hotels are very busy that time of year however, so don’t judge the crowdedness by hotel availability, it is scarse thanks to Pop Warner events.

      • September 28, 2010 at 3:37 pm

        Thanks so much for the explanation. I love your website. I think you all do a great job at your crowd predictions and passing on helpful information. I also love the new, in depth, options that you have added.

  • September 28, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Disney’s website for February hours, shows an early opening President’s Weekend at Magic Kingdom, of 8 am… but those hours haven’t been updated on touringplans.

    • September 28, 2010 at 12:10 pm

      Hey Adam, thanks for the heads-up. Our primary source for park hours and schedules is the Disney Travel Agents’ website. We have found it to be the most reliable source.

      Presently, it shows that the Magic Kingdom will open at 9:00am during President’s Day Weekend, not 8:00am as it states on the Disneyworld Website. This was updated in August, we suspect that the Website has not kept up with the changes.

  • September 28, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    going to wdw between oct 28 – nov 7.. wanted to know what you think the crowds might be like at this time.. thanks..

  • October 1, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    Hi Folks, Wonderful job with the crowd calendar! However, I see some dramatic changes in my date span and wonder if you can explain. Will be at Disney 12/3-12/12. I print the crowd calendar every couple of weeks looking for changes that might affect us.

    With the latest change to park hours some park ratings increased dramatically. I last printed the calendar on 9/24/10. Now, for example, at MK on Mon 12/6 it rose from a 1.5 to a 4.9. It’s not an MVMCP night.

    On Thurs Dec 9. HS went down from a 5.2 to a 4.1 and it’s a Fantasmic night!

    And most importantly, the day we chose for AK (we have breakfast at Tusker House), Tues 12/7 the level increased from a 0.2 to a 3.4! Another increases for AK that week is Wed 12/8 a 3.9 goes up to a 6.2.

    Do you know why some of these numbers have risen so dramtically? I assume there will be more park hours changes prior to our departure and therefore more changes to the crowd calendar. We have an itinerary but could tweak a bit to maximize our touring.

    Thanks. Keep up the great work!

    • October 3, 2010 at 6:20 pm

      Any time there are major changes to park hours and park schedules the affect on the crowd calendar is substantial. It is a relative index so if one day becomes more desirable then by definition another day must become less desirable. Anything under a 4 on the index is low, you can treat those all as great days to visit.

      Animal Kingdom was affected a lot because so many of the park hours were changed for that park. When they extend the park hours it is a strong sign that crowds will be larger. Again, even at a 4, 5 or 6 the crowds are completely manageable though.

  • October 3, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    Fred, The Crowd Calendar updates this year have been stellar — thanks for the reminder to take another look at my dates.

    I am curious though about the connection if any between the recommended parks and the individual park crowd predictions. E.g. during my dates we see MK is a park to avoid on 12/02 (presumably because of morning EMH) yet the park crowd prediction is 1.1. Similarly 0n 12/06 MK is a park to avoid yet the park crowd prediction is 0.2! We should wait for a 0.1?! (Seriously there is a good chance for parade filming on that Sunday so avoiding MK might be good after all.)

    The good news of course is that time of year it’s hard to go wrong, so I’m not taking it too seriously. But it seems one of these systems is using information that the other is not.

    • October 3, 2010 at 1:13 pm

      Sorry meant Sunday 12/05, not 12/06

    • October 3, 2010 at 6:21 pm

      Hey Richard, you’re right, anything under a 4 is splitting hairs – you’ve already won the battle by avoiding busy times!

      However, this article may help explain the differences between the per park index and the main calendar.

  • October 6, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    Now that they have changed Epcot to have Future World now staying open until closing time (versus closing 2 hours earlier like it has been), do you plan to make any adjustments to your touring plans?

    • October 7, 2010 at 7:39 am

      The touring plans need not be adjusted for extended hours at Epcot. The optimal tour still requires the headliner attractions (Soarin’, Test Track) to be completed in the morning. The extended hours do open up the option for using Fastpass later in the evening though.

    • October 8, 2010 at 8:52 pm

      As it turns out this change affected absolutely nothing. All the Future World attractions have the same hours as previously. All they’ve done is to change the official closing time of Future World to 9:00 — no other item in the park schedule is affected. But it’s still a good idea as I have seen a number of people believing that nothing in Future World was open after 7:00/


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