August 2019 Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar Update

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The August Crowd Calendar update is now live. Since the last update, Disney made some moves that have influenced our crowd level predictions.

New Discounts for the Fall

We expected discounts and special offers would be a rare beast after Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opened at Hollywood Studios. Well, in July Disney announced Free Dining and room discounts for September – December 2019. This is a strong sign that hotel bookings were lighter than expected.

Annual Passholder Previews

August will have five days, August 17-21, for Annual Passholder previews for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. The previews will slightly increase attendance. Some Annual Passholders will make a special trip to Walt Disney World, resulting in a slight increase in crowd levels for August 17-21.

Rise of the Resistance Opening Date

The big flagship attraction at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Rise of the Resistance, will open in Florida on December 5, 2019. We have learned at Disneyland that people do not rush to visit an incomplete Galaxy’s Edge, so we expect that December 5 is when the flood gates will open for the Star Wars crowds.

Putting It All Together

The July announcements make us believe the crowds this fall will be lower than initially predicted. In general, you should see a slight decrease in crowd levels in September, October, and November.

Extra, Extra Magic Hours

Disney announced Extra, Extra Magic Hours announced in May 2019, when we learned that we are going to see more Morning Extra Magic Hours than normal this fall. Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and the Animal Kingdom will have early entry every day. This will be a huge advantage for people who use morning Extra Magic Hours, and it will hinder rope-droppers who don’t have access to Extra Magic Hours. If enough people take advantage of the early entry, afternoon crowds should be lower. At this point the effect of Extra, Extra, Magic Hours is unknown. The 3-hour-long Morning Extra Magic Hours at Hollywood Studios is a first, and we have seen no historical period where at least 3 parks have morning Extra Magic Hours every day over such a long stretch of time. (Who is up for an Extra Magic Hours challenge? Be in all 4 parks for EMH on the same day!)

Magic Kingdom

This summer the crowd level at Magic Kingdom has been higher than the other parks. We assume this will continue in August. The crowd level for August at Magic Kingdom has increased on average 2.1 percent.

Once the holiday parties start, Magic Kingdom has big swings in crowd levels. Party days will have below-average crowds. Days in between the parties will have above average crowds. The more parties in a week, the bigger the swings will be.

Epcot

Epcot will operate under its normal Extra Magic Hours schedule. Typically Thursdays will have Morning Extra Magic Hours, and Tuesdays will have Evening Extra Magic Hours. We don’t expect any surprises. Weekends will see an increase in attendance at the Food & Wine Festival.

Hollywood Studios

Operations at Hollywood Studios are not going to be normal. Once Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens, everything will change. The park will open at 6:00 a.m. on August 29-31 and at 6 a.m. for 3 hours of Extra Magic Hours starting on September 1. FastPass+ tiering will force more people into the standby queues. With all the changes, our statistical models will most likely change as they adapt to the behavior of guests under the new conditions. Regardless of the crowd levels, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is going to be crowded. Avoid Galaxy’s Edge between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

Animal Kingdom

The every day Morning Extra Magic Hours are going to give on-site guests an opportunity to ride Avatar Flight of Passage without long waits. Offsite guests are doubly penalized: offsite guests are unlikely to get a FastPass+ reservation 30-days prior to arrival, and they won’t be able to enter before the park opens. The early opening times will likely make the crowd in the evening lower than normal.

Monthly Averages

Monthly patterns are not going to change much. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and Spring Break will have the highest crowds. Even with Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge open on August 29, September will have the lowest crowds of the year. September 2019 will be more crowded than Septembers in the past.

The further out we look at the Crowd Calendar, the more uncertainty there is. As we observe more days with the changes at Walt Disney World, our models will work better. We believe crowds have been lower than average because people have postponed their vacations for the opening of Galaxy’s Edge; for that reason, Summer 2020 will have higher crowds than 2019.

How are you feeling about all the changes coming to WDW? Will anything change your touring strategy?

Steve Bloom

By helping TouringPlans.com continue to reach the most accurate crowd level predictions, Steve finally found a way to meld his training in statistical analysis with a lifelong passion for Disney. He first visited the Magic Kingdom in 1972, just a few months after it opened. Now he enjoys frequent trips with his two kids. At age four his son insisted on wearing cowboy boots to reach the height requirement for Test Track, and his daughter believes that a smoked turkey leg and Dole Whip make a perfectly balanced meal. Even though she doesn't quite get it, Steve's wife is supportive of his Disney activities.

12 thoughts on “August 2019 Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar Update

  • August 2, 2019 at 1:13 am
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    What is the likelihood that Extra Extra Magic Hours at Hollywood Studios will extend into winter 2020 since SWGE will only be complete as of December 2019?
    Thank you for all the great analysis!

    Reply
    • August 2, 2019 at 2:44 pm
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      My prediction, the current Extra, Extra, Magic Hours is going to be judged as a mistake by Disney. Since they are happening during the low season and are every day, they will have low attended. Disney will overcorrect and not offer the Extra, Extra, Magic Hours when they are needed when SWGE is completed.

      I would expect a modified Extra, Extra, Magic Hours. Maybe only for SWGE not all of Hollywood Studios. Maybe select days. Maybe 2 hours, not 3.

      *This is all speculations so take it with a grain of salt.

      Reply
      • August 2, 2019 at 2:51 pm
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        Thank you for your speculations! I’d imagine that after SWGE is complete they’ll have paid events which depending on the cost, I could be inclined to fork up the $$.
        Thanks again!

        Reply
  • August 2, 2019 at 9:27 am
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    Thank you so much for your awesome analysis!!! Hubby and I are touring Sept. 16-20 for our second honeymoon. We are planning on MK during the day when the Halloween Party is in the evening and then hopping parks. We should experience lower crowd levels then, eh?

    Also, thanks to your updated crowd levels last month, I switched our touring of HS from Friday, Sep 20 to Wed. Sept 18 … Planning on getting there at 6 am and then hopping to MK or EP in the mid afternoon.

    Love your plans!!! I used them on our last trip six years ago for our family of 9. We had the best time and was able to experience so much … though that was also the paper fast passes. Been reading up on the strategy for the new FP system.

    Reply
    • August 2, 2019 at 2:50 pm
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      You should have low crowds for your trip. For FastPass+, make FastPasses for the park you will be in during the afternoon.

      Reply
  • August 2, 2019 at 10:43 am
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    you guys have become my go-to, so glad i subscribed. with all the uncertainty surrounding SWGE opening and us getting hit with opening week, there’s no way i could be navigating this trip on my own this time, even though i’ve been dozens of times in my life. it’s weird the numbers for september all went up during the july update, yet went back more or less to what they had been with this one, is that strictly due to those new discounts you mentioned that were announced last month? thansk steve, you guys have really saved my trip. hoping for light enough crowds that we can easily do the midday nap and break at the resort without too much stress.

    Reply
  • August 2, 2019 at 11:53 am
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    We booked our adult mom/daughters trip for the week after Thanksgiving since it usually had lower crowd levels and wanted to experience Christmas at Disney World. With the updates today, we are getting a bit discouraged…in fact, we may skip Hollywood Studios completely since none of are big Star Wars fans and plan to return with kids at some point. Any suggestions? We have booked Candlelight Processional and River of Lights dining.

    Reply
  • August 2, 2019 at 12:05 pm
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    I have long been a follower of the crowd calendar, and your commentary plus the values in the calendar usually make sense, but I’m struggling to understand the changes made for late August.

    For instance, on August 17th, the overall resort level is a 2, yet every single park is a 5. Other Saturdays in August don’t show such a drastic difference between the overall rating and the individual park rating.

    Curious about how those two seemingly contradictory (park vs resort) ratings resolve.

    Reply
  • August 2, 2019 at 1:55 pm
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    Any read on if/when more ticketed events like Early Morning Magic or Disney After Hours will be scheduled? There are currently none scheduled past September so I’m wondering if we will see more dates pop up soon, or if they might not offer them during the Halloween and Christmas party seasons. My trip is Nov 2-8.

    Reply
  • August 2, 2019 at 2:27 pm
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    Will Tuesday Sept 3 be the first time ever that all 4 parks had EMH? (Epcot has evening EMH.)

    Will Thursday Sept 5 be the first time all 4 parks have morning EMH?

    I imagine it would be feasibly possible to experience all 4 in the same day since they’re staggered.

    The idea of doing multiple rope drops at, say, 6am then 9am at Epcot on the same day could actually be a valid plan! Thoughts?

    Reply
    • August 2, 2019 at 10:59 pm
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      Our database goes back to January 1, 2006. September 3 is the first time 4 parks will have EMH on one day. September 5 will be the first time 4 parks will have morning EMH.

      A 6 am, and 9 am rope drop is very feasible. From 6-8 you could get a lot done at HS, then take a friendship boat to the international gateway for Epcot’s rope drop.

      Reply
  • August 2, 2019 at 6:58 pm
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    Our family will be there during that week too.. And my husband and I are celebrating our 26th anniversary lol… We may pass each other, since we are planning Hollywood Studios on Wednesday morning and Epcot in the afternoon lol.

    Reply

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