January 2020 Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar Update

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The January 2020 Crowd Calendar update is now live. We just got past the busiest time of year at Walt Disney World. The holiday crowds took a bit longer to build, but by December 23, crowds were at peak level.

The big unknown going into December 2019 was what would happen at Disney’s Hollywood Studios after Rise of the Resistance opened. To everyone’s surprise, the headline attraction at Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge has operated only with a virtual queue, called Boarding Groups. The Boarding Groups fill up quickly, so guests must arrive early in order to experience the new ride. Evening crowds have been lower since many people are completing everything at Hollywood Studios early. With the limited capacity of the Boarding Groups, it seems that the overall park attendance is dampened. In this update, many days at Hollywood Studios crowd levels have gone down. At some point, Disney will likely drop the virtual queue and give the Star Wars attractions FastPass+. We don’t know when this will happen.

January 2020 (Crowd Levels WDW:5.9 MK:5.9 EP:5.3 HS:5.7 AK:6.3)

The first six days of the new year will still be filled with Christmas and New Year’s crowds. And once these folks leave, they will be quickly replaced by those involved in the Walt Disney World Marathon events the following week. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend (January 18-20) will also have high crowds.

February 2020 (Crowd Levels WDW:6.4 MK:6.6 EP:6.3 HS:5.4 AK:7.1)

Early February will have low crowds. The weeks of Presidents’ Day (February 15-23) and Mardi Gras (February 22-29) are popular times for many school districts to take a break. Luckily, the two holidays are on different weeks in 2020, and that will help spread out the crowds.

March 2020 (Crowd Levels WDW:8.3 MK:8.5 EP:7.9 HS:7.1 AK:8.2)
April 2020 (Crowd Levels WDW:5.8 MK:6.1 EP:5.5 HS:4.5 AK:5.9)

Spring Break has become a very popular time at Walt Disney World, even more popular than the summer. Peak spring break season for 2020 is between March 7 and April 13. With Easter moving around the calendar from year to year, the crowd pattern also changes. Easter 2020 is April 12. The week before Easter (April 4-11) will have the highest crowds of spring break.

The Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway ride opens on March 4, 2020, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It will be interesting to see how Disney will operate the ride. Will it offer FastPass+? Be standby-only like Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run? Use a virtual queue like Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance?

May 2020 (Crowd Levels WDW:4.8 MK:4.9 EP:5.5 HS:4 AK:5.3)

The time between Easter (April 12) and Memorial Day (May 25) is a great time to visit Walt Disney World. The crowds are low, and the weather is moderate. Some school districts start their school breaks after Memorial Day, which is when summer season begins at Walt Disney World.

June 2020 (Crowd Levels WDW:5.6 MK:5.6 EP:4.8 HS:5.7 AK:6.3)
July 2020 (Crowd Levels WDW:5.9 MK:6.5 EP:4.6 HS:5.8 AK:5.7)
August 2020 (Crowd Levels WDW:5 MK:4.9 EP:4.5 HS:5.3 AK:4.4)

Most schools will be on summer break by the end of June. Over the past three years, summer has not been peak season. The summer heat and longer park hours help spread out the crowds. On January 2, Disney announced “free dining” for Summer 2020. The opening of Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure at Epcot will be used as a draw to bring in the guests.

September 2020 (Crowd Levels WDW:1.6 MK:2 EP:2.4 HS:1.7 AK:1.6)
October 2020 (Crowd Levels WDW:3.6 MK:3.5 EP:4.5 HS:4.7 AK:3.6)
November 2020 (Crowd Levels WDW:5.1 MK:5.1 EP:5.4 HS:6.1 AK:5.3)
December 2020 (Crowd Levels WDW:6.3 MK:6.4 EP:6.5 HS:6.5 AK:6.3)

The further we look into the future, the less we know about school schedules and about Disney’s plans, in general. In April and May, schools will start finalizing their schedules for the 2020-2021 school year. Until we have updated school schedules, crowd levels for Fall and Winter 2020 are based on data from previous years.

What We Are Watching

2021 is the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World. We expect Disney to have a 16-24 month celebration. Guests who do not go to Walt Disney World every year will likely postpone their vacations until 2021. Disney’s marketing will be in full force, trying to entice guests to visit before the 50th anniversary celebration. Operations at Hollywood Studios and Epcot will fluctuate with new rides and construction.

 

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.

34 thoughts on “January 2020 Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar Update

  • January 2, 2020 at 4:24 pm
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    What happened the first week of March? Last update it was 6/7/8 range and now its all solid 10s. I thought maybe it was the Railway opening, but it has DHS as a 6 on the day it opens and a 3 the next day with 10s in all the other parks. It does not make much sense to me. I’m hoping it is wrong because the 60day FPP availability wasn’t bad.

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  • January 2, 2020 at 4:44 pm
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    I have the same question??

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  • January 2, 2020 at 4:53 pm
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    Yes, I was wondering the same. Too late for me to change, but the jump that first week of March really surprised me.

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  • January 2, 2020 at 5:53 pm
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    Uh, yeah, came here to ask the same thing. (Fourth!) The post says that peak spring break is March 7-April 13. Meanwhile we’ll be at AK March 2 (now a 10 from 6) and Epcot March 3 (now a 10 from 7).

    HS is the only park with crowds going *down* to 6. Is there something happening that hasn’t been addressed here? An error?

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  • January 2, 2020 at 6:04 pm
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    Very curious as well! Will be visiting the first week in March, too.

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  • January 2, 2020 at 6:06 pm
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    Same question for me…first week of March is totally different now from how we made our plans???? We paid the $15 to hopefully avoid that, right???? It’s not an adjustment, it’s a full 180 degree change!

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  • January 2, 2020 at 6:07 pm
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    I wonder if it is calculating everyone and their grandmother flooding HS in the morning each day for ROR and the new runaway railway ride and then dispersing elsewhere. So the mornings at HS would be solid 10s and higher elsewhere in the PM.
    Just a guess. Will be there that first week of March and was thinking it would be a relatively low crowd..taking my elementary school daughter out of school that week. Does spring break start earlier this year somewhere? Happy with my fast passes and ADRs but I am confused as well.

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  • January 2, 2020 at 6:16 pm
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    I was coming here to ask the same thing as everyone else. The first week of March is suddenly reading as Christmas-level busy, which just seems bananas.

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  • January 2, 2020 at 6:28 pm
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    Yes, here to ask the same thing! MK at a 10 on Wednesday, March 4th?! What is going on??

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  • January 2, 2020 at 6:30 pm
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    Hope more people will be asking and demanding an answer. I made my plan for the first week of March after looking into crowd level. If they wanted to make a change, they should have done it at least 60 days earlier.

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  • January 2, 2020 at 6:44 pm
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    Hi,
    I too would like to know what’s going on first week of March. We just made FPP reservations and now I’m stuck going to level 10 crowd parks. Please explain. Thanks!

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  • January 2, 2020 at 6:49 pm
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    Maybe the author is going that week and is looking to scare the crowds away… 😉

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  • January 2, 2020 at 7:29 pm
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    No way this is correct. TP last year did the same thing and predicted the first week of March would be a 10. TP then had to adjust again in mid-February to lower the crowd level prediction. First week of March will not be a 10. Something is wrong with the algorithm.

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  • January 2, 2020 at 7:34 pm
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    Yes was going to comment on the same as everyone else here….booked the first week of March based on their crowd calendar!!!! What happened?

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  • January 2, 2020 at 8:08 pm
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    Same comment as everyone else regarding the first week of March. It makes zero sense for it to jump from average/slightly above average crowds to 10s.

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  • January 2, 2020 at 8:19 pm
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    Came here to ask the same thing about the crowd level changes!

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  • January 2, 2020 at 8:36 pm
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    Yea, your explanation make no sense. Last year the highest crowds got during the first week of March by your own metric was an 8. And Mardis Gras fell during the first week of March in 2019, which led to an uptick in crowds. No one should be deterred by this crowd calendar. It’s going to be wrong.

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  • January 2, 2020 at 8:40 pm
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    And you couldn’t have updated that prior to now based on last year?!?!? That’s why we all paid money to make our plans based on this. Come on TP! What a let down. And we just booked a month ago so it’s not like we did this 6 months out.

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  • January 2, 2020 at 8:41 pm
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    I agree that the explanation doesn’t make sense. In addition to Jesse’s comments, if the high crowd levels are because of last year’s data, why would there only be a jump now less than 60 days before the dates?

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  • January 2, 2020 at 9:06 pm
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    I found a problem with the data for the first week of March 2020. An update will be pushed to production soon.

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  • January 2, 2020 at 9:22 pm
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    Thanks for the update, quite a few of us are going that week based on the responses here!

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  • January 2, 2020 at 9:25 pm
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    Hi steve
    Can you also recheck why animal kingdom has increased to 9/10 for the entire week before Easter,We are about to book sns need to choose dates soon. Thanks.

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  • January 2, 2020 at 10:19 pm
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    Hi!! I was wondering why the sudden increase for the 21st, 22nd and 23rd?

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  • January 2, 2020 at 10:20 pm
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    Sorry The month would help…April

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  • January 3, 2020 at 12:46 am
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    Same here for the 21/22/23 April – why such a jump to holiday levels

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  • January 3, 2020 at 1:26 am
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    I’m a Disney travel planner and we had heard there is some sort of sports or dance competition going on in the area the first week of March. We’ve had a hard time finding availability on property for that week for months now.

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  • January 3, 2020 at 9:15 am
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    so glad this was updated i was freaking OUT yesterday and spent a couple hours trying to avoid 10 days in MK … like most of you i booked my trip in early march due to moderate crowds and the happy accident of an insanely early spring break at my son’s new school, and that update had me questioning the whole trip. had my FP day this am and got evening FOP at 60+1 and afternoon SDD at 60+3

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  • January 3, 2020 at 9:42 am
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    I noticed Wednesday, June 8th for Epcot dripped to a 1?! Is everything closed? Why would it drop that much?

    Ive already planned my trip for that week. I’ve never been and I’m trying to plan ahead for food reservations and whatever.

    Thank you.

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  • January 3, 2020 at 10:17 am
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    Hey Steve, what’s up with some of the hourly crowd levels for AK in April? There’s a bunch of days that have jumped to a 10 from a 6 or so, and if you look at the hourly view, every hour is white, rather than the usual green, orange, red scale. Makes me wonder if there’s a data issue.

    It’s the 6th, 8th and 11th of April. Cheers!

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  • January 3, 2020 at 12:29 pm
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    Wondering why the crowds at Animal Kingdom seem to be so much higher than the other parks. Going 2/1 and crowd increased from 6 to 8. Hollywood studios is only anticipated to be a 4.

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  • January 4, 2020 at 3:33 pm
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    And what’s up with April 21st? The crowd level DOUBLED from 4 to 8! What caused the surge on that Mon/Tues (20/01)?

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  • January 4, 2020 at 3:34 pm
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    Oops – (20/21) I mean.

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  • January 4, 2020 at 5:04 pm
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    To be honest I’ve always used tp but undercover tourist have predicted high levels on the days I’ve looked at for a long while – first time ever don’t known who to believe especially TP take a while to reply !!!

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  • January 5, 2020 at 6:13 pm
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    I wondered the same thing about AK. Planned trip knowing that day would be our most crowded based on data but even then it started around a 5 I believe. and now to an 8. Nothing else for that week 7/8…I’m thinking just a mix of Saturday combined with extra magic hours. Rest of our trip 1/31-2/6 is ranging in 4-5 level range is we choose to do so. We needed AK on Saturday and thought it wouldn’t be bad with 5 level crowd even it was changed to a 6 (no problem!) now up to an 8?

    Reply

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