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Crowd Calendar Update: Some Park Hours Have Changed June – December

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Some news to report for the Crowd Calendar!

  1. We have many updates to Disney World and Disneyland park hours recently that will affect the predicted crowd levels and the park recommendations.
  2. Our statistical team has implemented some changes to some of the methodology for the crowd ratings which will improve our accuracy.

You may notice that the recommendations for your travel dates have changed as a result of this latest update. It will be up to you to determine if the change is significant enough to warrant adjusting your plans. As always, the vast majority of the changes to the calendar are a result of changes to park hours and that is the case again for this update. Recent changes to Disney World park hours included changes to June, July, October, November and December. We’re sorry to say that some of these hours were released at the end of May and we haven’t been able to incorporate them until now due to a bug in our updating mechanism. We’ve added extra guards to prevent this happening in the future.

As usual, please let us know if you have any questions or concerns. Happy planning!

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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.

18 thoughts on “Crowd Calendar Update: Some Park Hours Have Changed June – December

  • I love this website and appreciate having so much info available. I am planning a trip July 15 to 20 and am a little confused. On July 19, MK has a crowd level of 5.2, but the “blurb” at top of page says that Studios is the recommended park because it has the lowest per park level, but it is listed at 6.7?? Also, July 20 has an unbelievably low crowd level for Stidios at 3.7- I thought it was because the park was originally supposed to close at 7PM, but the hours have changed to 9 PM closing, so why so low?? Is it possible that these are mistakes?

    • Even though MK has the lowest crowd level on the 19th, it also has morning Extra Magic Hours. A park with morning EMH cannot be listed as a “best” park. The news of Fantasmic! performing nightly, and extended hours will change HS crowd levels and park recommendations. We will be updating the crowd calendar in the next few days.

  • Wow! Lots of changes awaited me in my email over the weekend. The “tentative” depending-on-the-space-shuttle-launch July trip had crowds way up. My November trip for Food and Wine was all over the place, and December, Reunion 2011, was lower crowds.

    You have no idea how much I appreciate the crowd calendar and the science behind it. Just knowing some of the factors the team has identified as impacting crowds goes a long way toward setting my expectations of what we will face in a particular park on a particular day. I am now spoiled. I was looking for a touring plan of Italy (the real one, not the pavilion) and could not find one that meets my expectations. Until I do, we’ll have to keep vacationing at WDW! 😉

    Thank you!

  • Thanks Fred -me and the family really appreciate your efforts and use your info as our Bible – going down next week and had a question regarding DHS – is it really that less crowded than MK & AK? Looking at a day like June 22nd – HS is .9 and the others are 8.6 – that seems unreal – obviously we are hitting th studios that day.

  • Wondering why my dates of October 23 – 28 changed as well. The hours haven’t changed at all for the parks when I am traveling, so it must be due to Halloween crowds and F&W Fest crowds? I am happy to be receiving the Crowd Tracker emails again! Henry must have fixed the glitch that was causing me not to receive them!

  • I used the Unofficial Guide, the Color Companion and this site as my primary sources to plan our trip which has now been in the works for over a year. I’ve checked the crowd calender at least once a week during this time to check our dates. The crowd levels either stayed the same or changed slightly once or twice during that time. Imagine my surprise when I checked today for our trip next week only to find the crowd levels much higher, increasing from as much as a 5 to an 8 or a 6 to a 9 on some days (I had previously checked two days ago). While I understand that situations will change, I can not fathom a 30 to 40 percent change this late in the game. It sure would have been nice to have known these levels a year ago when I was deciding which days to go on vacation. I know that using the resources provided here and attacking the parks early will still leave us well ahead of the game, I can’t help but feel a little let down by not knowing all the facts. Perhaps I’m just feeling disappointed and I’m sure I’ll get over it as soon as we set foot in the World, but I just don’t see how they could be that far off with years and years of data. Sorry, just had to vent a little. Thinking our first day was a 5 compared to the now listed 8 just took a little steam out of my sails. However, I will say that your books and site are the best I’ve ever seen. I’ve enjoyed them immensely.

    • We know kncald, it can be frustrating, vent away. The changes you are referring to are mostly due to changes in Disney’s park hour schedule which recently changed.

      Here a couple reminders that might help put some steam back in the sails.

      1. The increase is not really a 30-40 percent change. The numbers are a ranking, not a representation of the magnitude of the crowd. The increase in wait times will be about 5 to 10 minutes on average between a level 5 and a level 8. Not as bad as it might seem.
      2. If using a touring plan the difference in your total wait time will be minimal. In fact, the touring plans save you MORE time the higher the crowd rating.
      3. Being prepared is half the battle. We could freeze the predictions for the sake of consistency but we always stick to the philosophy that it is better to have the most up-to-date information in order to properly prepare.
      4. Our estimates are still subject to a 1-point error on average. So the difference between what we had originally predicted and what actually happens may only be 1-point different.

      Hope that helps.

      • The changes haven’t made a bit of difference. Having a year to plan with your touring resources have led to our longest wait time being around ten minutes at most. My family members are in awe as we pass thousands of people in line each day. At rope drop the other morning I had a nice conversation with a family who was also using your plans. We passed the time comparing notes and decided we were happy the masses had not figured out the “secret”. I now realize the venting was not needed and I’ll never be afraid of large crowd listings again. Thanks for all of your valuable resources (although I think your food critics are too tough…..of course I’m just a small town country boy who possibly doesn’t know any better).

  • I love the changes for my dates… august 1-7. All the crowd levels have gone down. I am planning on trying all morning EMH, and that is against the touring plans, but now with all the crowds less, it should be great. Thanks.

  • While I accept that crowd predictions will change over time, as you gather more data and tweak your algorithms, I am surprised to see the Magic Kingdom swing from a “Best Park” all the way to a “Park to Avoid” on Friday, 7/15/2011. Would you please comment? Thanks for your time, and for this excellent blog.

    • we plan to be in magic kindgom on the 7/15/11 so i was disappointed to see that it has been changed to a “park to avoid”

      • It is a tough situation. Crowd predictions are dynamic, they can go up and down depending on all kinds of factors. We have alwasy apopted the philosophy that it is better to publish the most up-to-date and accurate information rather than keep things the same for consistency sake.

        However, this is a good time to remember that the best way to beat crowds is using a touring plan. There is nothing wrong with going to a “park to avoid” and using a touring plan, we do it all the time. Often, the difference between recommending and avoiding a park is very small. They are meant to help you “break ties” if needed, not define what you MUST do.

  • I was thinking that the crowd levels looked off, too. 2nd week of December. While WISH the crowd levels would be almost all 2’s all week, that doesn’t really gel with the historical crowd levels from the last few years.

  • Hi Fred (and team),
    Thanks for the update. I had a couple of questions about the massive jump in Epcot crowd levels here are some of the dates:
    October 28th: Epcot 3.7 to 9.4
    November 4th: Epcot 3.1 to 9.0
    November 5th: Epcot 3.1 to 9.0
    November 11th: Epcot 6.7 to 9.8
    November 12th: Epcot 6.4 to 9.8
    The site says that Food and Wine festival is not taken into account when calculating these levels, so what has caused this massive jump in Epcot crowds to almost Christmas time capacity?

    • Yes, I would like to know too. I do know that we are planning a trip that week based on school vacations – many schools in different states have off for teacher workdays (conferences and then many schools have election day off because they use the schools for polling places) and Veterans’ Day happens to fall on the same week this year – so some children have off Monday, Nov. 7, Tuesday, Nov. 8, and Friday, Nov. 11. I’m guessing a lot of people are planning to visit around this schedule (like us – boo), because flight prices from DC are crazy high.

      Thanks TP for sending me that email via Crowd Calendar tracker! Your site is priceless in our planning!

      • Yes Megan, good point. We have spent a lot of time expanding our knowledge and collecting information about the school schedules across all of North America school boards. We have even begun to do the same for South America, particularly Brazil. These school breaks can have an affect as well.

    • One the methodological changes we made was to give more emphasis to the Food & Wine Festival at Epcot. This is based on a lot of feedback that we received about the crowds clogging up the walkways near the food kiosks. The wait times during the festival will be only moderately above average but yes, the crowds can feel like Christmas time.

      • Fred thanks for the reply. One thing to be aware of is the crowd calendar has a note that states: “The crowd estimates do NOT factor in the Food & Wine Festival.” if this note had been removed the dramatic jump in crowd estimates might have made a little more sense to me.

        If you are now taking this into account as you mentioned then you might want to look at removing this note from the pages too.

        My family appreciates all the amazing work you and the team do to keep things up to date and accurate. Keep up the great work.

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