March is here and there is a lot to write about on this monthly update. We have new attractions to talk about, adjustments in capacity to old attractions and the continuing volatility of wait time patterns at Animal Kingdom.
Here’s a quick summary of what’s up:
- Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Train will open in Fall 2019. This will draw lots of guests to Disney’s Hollywood Studios which will inflate the wait times elsewhere at the park. This will be a popular ride for a long time, we think.
- Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge will open in late Fall. Once we have official dates, the Studios crowd level will jump to ’10’ on nearly every day.
- Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers are now added to the list of attractions we use to assess crowd levels at The Studios.
- Tower of Terror will be operating at reduced capacity starting in the Spring and lasting through the end of Summer. This means wait times will go up significantly.
- Animal Kingdom posted wait times continue to be at record levels although not due to higher numbers of people in line. You can read more on that here.
Disney Hollywood Studios
This update depends a lot on our assumptions about opening dates for new attractions at Disney Hollywood Studios. We assume Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Train will open at Disney Hollywood Studios on September 1. By then, we also assume that Tower of Terror’s rotational refurbishment will be complete.
What to expect at Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge
Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge is slated to open in Fall 2019. We assume that means some time in the middle of December. When it opens, we expect to see Hollywood Studios expand its hours. A 7:00 a.m. Extra Magic Hour Morning every day with an 8:00 a.m. official park opening is likely. In the evening we expect an official park closing of 8:00 p.m. with a combination of evening events as well. Extra Magic Hour Evenings until 9:00 p.m. or 10:00 p.m. then perhaps special ticketed events or other premium access to the new land until midnight or 1:00 a.m. Regardless of what the park schedule looks like, you can expect a crowd level ’10’ every day at Hollywood Studios once the new land opens. We also expect to have a firm opening date announced some time in June at which point another update to the calendar will be in order.
Updates to Crowd Levels
Here is a look at average crowd level changes by park:
|Magic Kingdom||Epcot||Hollywood Studios||Animal Kingdom|
Now let’s take a look month by month:
Early March sees a slight drop at some parks however there are enough schools out of session to keep crowd levels around ‘7’ or ‘8’, depending on the park. Mid-March crowd levels are going up slightly, in line with the trends we have seen so far in February. March 11 through 15 is going to be more crowded than initially thought. Not much changes in late March except for a couple days at Animal Kingdom where the crowd level goes up three points. This is in response to some strange wait time patterns that we have observed since January.
Only subtle changes to report for April, most days are the same or drop a point. Some days at the Studios are dropping more than that but not during the Easter rush between April 14 and April 20. Once Easter is complete, the majority of school districts are back in school until June so crowd levels are expected to be moderate until Memorial Day weekend.
May continues to be a great month to visit the resort. Crowd levels will remain moderate with this update. Some dates at Animal Kingdom that were in the bottom three levels have been bumped up. It is just not likely that we will see any ‘1’s and ‘2’s at that park until the volatility of wait times starts to diminish.
Again in June we see that Animal Kingdom is the only park with crowd levels going up significantly, although it only goes up by more than 2 points once in the month. Most dates in June don’t change on this update.
This update brings some increases to Magic Kingdom around July 4th. Last year we saw crowd level ‘7’s at that park before an after the Independence Day celebrations but we think with the holiday falling on a Thursday this year, ‘8’s and ‘9’s are more likely. Animal Kingdom sees some increases in July as well but only to bring it in line with the other three parks. Summer at Disney World used to be very busy but in the past two years a crowd level ‘7’ seems to be the average. We expect similar crowds this summer.
August crowd levels won’t change much on this update. The first half of the month will see moderate crowds while the second half will see some of the lightest crowds of the year.
Labor Day falls on Monday, September 1 this year. We think Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Train will open around that week. Accordingly, crowd levels at Hollywood Studios are going up. We think this attraction will be very popular. It should have wide appeal by age group and its location in the park draws large number of guests all day.
Although still listed as very crowded, some crowd levels around Columbus Day have dropped a point or two. Otherwise changes in October seem to be levelling out the four parks.
Crowd levels went up in November. Veterans Day (November 11) lands on a Monday this year so we think crowds will be substantial on the Saturday and Sunday leading up to the holiday. Thanksgiving falls on November 28, the latest that holiday can occur. This makes mid-November a decent time to visit if you want to avoid the summer heat and want manageable crowds.
We think the late Thanksgiving will mean lower than usual crowds in early December. Watch out for weekends in December though, in 2018 we saw some significant crowds on Saturdays and Sundays.