Disney World Crowd Calendar Updates for May 2019

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May is here, which means it is monthly update time. We are quickly seeing crowd levels split between two categories: Before Galaxy’s Edge opens and after. May, June, July, and August look like they will see fairly light crowds while September, October, and November look busier. Hotel bookings are soft this summer as evidenced by the presence of Priceline deals for Disney Resort Hotels. However, this might also lead to operational cuts as the parks try to save money leading in to the new land at Hollywood Studios. As I write, I see that Hollywood Studios will offer “Extra” Extra Magic Hours in September starting at 6:00 am that includes access to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

This update includes some new modeling techniques that we used to generate forecasts. Our testing shows that these provide a small improvement to the previous models we used – so we are using them on this update.

Along with this monthly update comes our monthly reminder that there is still a lot that we don’t know about park conditions in late summer and fall once Galaxy’s Edge opens. Disney has nothing formalized for how it plans to handle crowds at the new land. We think a reservation system like the one being used at Disneyland makes sense but perhaps they will wait and see how that goes first. An announcement for the opening date of Rise of the Resistance is still pending which can also greatly affect our forecasts for crowd levels.

We expect to have complete school schedules for the 2019-2020 school year collected and analyzed for next month’s update. Watch for that in early June.

Updates to Crowd Levels

Here is a look at average crowd level changes by park as a result of May’s update:

Magic Kingdom Epcot Hollywood Studios Animal Kingdom
May -0.2 -0.3 -0.5 -0.5
June -0.8 -2.0 -0.3 -1.0
July -2.0 -1.0 -1.0 -2.0
August -1.0 -1.0 -3.0 -0.6
September -0.2 -0.5 0.2 -0.6
October -2.0 -0.9 0.1 -1.0
November -0.7 -0.7 -1.0 -0.6
December -0.9 -0.7 -0.9 -0.6
January 0.2 0.2 0.5 0.3
February 0.2 1.4 1.7 0.9
March 0.2 2.0 1.5 1.5
April -0.2 1.3 0.0 1.1

 

Now let’s take a look month by month:

May

For the decades that we have tracked crowd levels at Disney Parks, the month of September has been the least crowded month of the year. That is still true, but in recent years the month of May has narrowed the gap. We find ourselves recommending May more and more these days, and when you consider all the factors it is not hard to see why. The weather is great, crowd levels are low to moderate, and park hours are long enough to accommodate even the most ambitious touring plan. Crowd levels in May are getting even a little sweeter thanks to this month’s update. Each park except for Magic Kingdom sees multiple days dropping more than two points on some days in May.

June

Crowd levels are down overall in June as a result of this update, especially at Epcot. Although not quite as appealing as May, early June looks like a good time to visit the parks. Most students are still in school and the park hours are generous for touring. You must battle the intensity of summer heat and thunderstorms however, which seem to roll in every day around 3:00 pm. Bring an umbrella. Note that despite the overall decrease, some days in June are getting an increase as a result of this month’s update but usually it is only a single point.

July

July is where we see the biggest drops on this update. Most days are seeing a drop of a point or two on the calendar. This is a result of soft hotel bookings in the summer as well as a “waiting for Galaxy’s Edge” effect. We are already seeing this effect at Disneyland Parks with lower than usual crowd levels in late April. We think that this July at Disney World may be the least crowded July that we’ve seen this decade. There is some evidence that families are more willing to take kids out of school to travel to the resort in recent years than in years past. Also, the summer heat is becoming more of a deterrent.

August

Early August crowds are looking very light on this update. We won’t see a crowd level hit higher than a ‘6’ until Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge opens up at the end of the month. Obviously this is where we expect the greatest “waiting for Galaxy’s Edge” effect. I see a lot of crowd level ‘1’s and ‘2’s in mid to late August before the new land opens and we have every reason to believe the forecasts are legit. It is an historically low time of year anyway but add in the anticipation of Galaxy’s Edge and you get really nice, light crowd levels.

September

For September on, it is hard to be super confident about crowd levels since there are still so many unknowns. Will Hollywood Studios announce a reservation system for Galaxy’s Edge like Disneyland Park? How will transportation and parking deal with the new land? When will Rise of the Resistance open? For these reasons we don’t see a lot of changes for September on this update. I think it is safe to say to we will see some light days in September, but not as light as usual.

October

October is somewhat of a mystery as well. In general, we are seeing a drop in crowd level on this update for October but that could easily change as we approach the fall and have more information about park conditions. Park hours might be expanded if hotel bookings pick up for October and that could impact crowd levels as well. We made some manual adjustments to some weekend dates in the fall that seemed too low. It may be that our models are smarter than we are but for now, expect weekends in the fall to be fairly crowded.

November

Some crowd levels are dropping at Magic Kingdom in November which puts them in line with the other parks. Again, we will know a lot more about what November will look like once we see the initial rush for Galaxy’s Edge and we get more details about Rise of the Resistance. If you have a trip planned for November be aware that crowd levels may change. If you are following a touring plan that will help greatly since the crowd level won’t impact the plan much. A touring plan is your best defense against any crowd level.

December

Some lower crowd levels are showing up in December as a result of this update as well. Magic Kingdom crowds will fluctuate greatly from day to day depending on the schedule for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Days with a party are shorter and lighter during the day while days without a party see much larger crowds as people enjoy the longer park hours.

January 2020 and Beyond

We spent most of our energy on the last few updates analyzing forecasts for summer and fall 2019. Now we have updates ready for 2020 after a complete analysis of winter 2019. Several dates are getting an increase of two points or more, especially between Presidents Day and Easter and especially at Hollywood Studios. These dates are still relatively far into the future so we will likely see several more updates as we approach those months and get more details about what the parks will look like.

Got any questions for the stats gurus? Let us know in the comments.

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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 fred@touringplans.com. You can also follow him on Twitter: @DisneyStatsWhiz.

34 thoughts on “Disney World Crowd Calendar Updates for May 2019

  • May 4, 2019 at 11:51 am
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    The second week in September dropped back down to 1’s most days I’m tracking HS and AK. Am I right to assume this is because it is only factoring in historical crowds with new park hours and not taking into account the galaxy edge opening/crowds? And that these will in fact be much higher once September comes?

    Reply
    • May 4, 2019 at 1:26 pm
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      Following for a response. Was wondering the same thing as well. Maybe throughout the day there will continue to be updates.

      Reply
      • May 4, 2019 at 1:30 pm
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        Following for response to previous question. Our dates 9/15-9/21 dropped several points.

    • May 4, 2019 at 3:29 pm
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      Yes I really wish they would have explained why they did this

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      • May 5, 2019 at 8:45 am
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        They explained this awhile ago in a video post and written posts. The crowd levels in the parks are representing everything EXCEPT Galaxy’s Edge. So in theory there would be low wait times for the other attractions since most people will be in line waiting for GE.

  • May 4, 2019 at 12:21 pm
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    Love the update for the end of August. I had planned a trip almost a year ago for the 20th-26th. I’m fine with missing the opening of GE.

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  • May 4, 2019 at 1:07 pm
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    Agree with the comment above – looks like HS dropped to 1s and 2s even right after Galaxy’s Edge opens …

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  • May 4, 2019 at 2:01 pm
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    Wow! Looks encouraging for our August 14th – 2 week trip!

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  • May 4, 2019 at 2:11 pm
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    I’m wondering the same, too. For most of our November dates, HS has the lowest crowd levels of any park. I’m having trouble believing that!

    Also, I sent in a service request about Monday, Nov. 4th. The predicted crowd levels are 10 at Epcot and 1 at MK. That’s similar to actual crowds last year, but last year MK closed at 4:30 on that Monday. This year both parks are 9-9. Is there something I don’t know about that day, or is it an error?

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  • May 4, 2019 at 2:42 pm
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    How come Galaxy’s Edge opening day is at level 1 in Hollywood Studios? It was a 10….surely it won’t be a 1?!?

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  • May 4, 2019 at 2:49 pm
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    HS updates in September must be a mistake.

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  • May 4, 2019 at 3:02 pm
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    Yeah I agree with the comments about end of August no way it went from 10 to 1. Bloggers and YouTubers will fill it up.

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  • May 4, 2019 at 3:11 pm
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    I just checked the crowd tracker and crowd levels look like they are back to normal for the opening of Galaxy’s Edge and the subsequent dates.

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  • May 4, 2019 at 3:42 pm
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    WooHoo! I’ve always hoped I could be at the parks on a day where the crowds will be level 1 just to see what it looks like. Twice on previous trips I’ve been hopeful, but not seen the prediction come true. Looks like I get a third shot at it for my trip coming up Sept 29-Oct 2. Fully understand these are predictions and if the prediction is 1, there is only one way for changes to go, but at least gives some hope. Fingers crossed!

    Reply
  • May 4, 2019 at 3:46 pm
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    Sorry folks, due to a time lag with our update process those dates in September went through a couple variations before returning to normal. What you see on the calendar now should be correct.

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    • May 4, 2019 at 3:48 pm
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      Thanks for the update. You guys rock!

      Reply
  • May 4, 2019 at 4:49 pm
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    Just received an e-mail informing that “Hollywood Studios Crowd Level decreased from 10 to 1.”, for Aug, 29th! This doesn’t seem acurate! Crowds = 1 the day GE opens?

    Reply
  • May 4, 2019 at 4:52 pm
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    You mentioned soft hotel booking. How do you know that the bookings are soft? Is t his speculation based on the fact that Summer discounts were released or do you have actual information about hotel bookings?

    Reply
  • May 4, 2019 at 5:09 pm
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    Partly because I couldn’t believe WDW having EMH at 3 of four parks each day we’re there, I went on to the WDW website. Indeed that is the case (tough choices!!!), but in looking I noticed something else not noted on the touring plan calendar, EMH for DHS at least on my days (Sept 29-Oct 2) are not 8-9, but 6-9!! Three hours of EMH!!!! Not sure if that is a typo on WDWs website, but if not double-WooHoo!!!!

    Reply
  • May 4, 2019 at 5:23 pm
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    Thinking about it a bit more: If WDW resorts were a bit thin on bookings, a 3-hour EMH is one way to add a lot of enticement to booking a WDW room!

    Reply
  • May 4, 2019 at 5:33 pm
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    I just got a mail too with HS numbers changed from 7’s and higher to 1’s. Why was that? Has someone pressed a wrong button?

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  • May 4, 2019 at 5:42 pm
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    I was planning on visiting Hollywood Studios on Monday, June 17. This is the day after EMH are offered for the park. There is EMM that day for Toy Story Land. I was notified it went from a 6 to an 8. All other parks decreased park level or stayed the same. Why the increase for this date? Does it have to do with shortened park hours? (Park closing at 9pm) Thank you.

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    • May 4, 2019 at 8:28 pm
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      Yes I would like to know as well. I might swap our HS (6/17) and Epcot days (6/15) if I can get dining stuff figured out.

      Reply
  • May 4, 2019 at 5:56 pm
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    This is amazing. We’ve been banking on a “softer” back half of June than usual and to see the drops is really encouraging and lines up with the signs (namely Disney releasing a second round of summer discounts). Hope it holds!

    Reply
  • May 4, 2019 at 6:16 pm
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    January 26, 2020 Sunday-1s listing at every park? I know last year that same Sunday were 1-2s but the weather showed it was so cold and rainy all day. But it’s also Pro Bowl? Can this really be correct?

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  • May 4, 2019 at 9:36 pm
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    Our July 11-20 trip looks amazing!!! I can’t wait!

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  • May 4, 2019 at 10:02 pm
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    Disney is way over priced and way over crowded at all times

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  • May 4, 2019 at 10:26 pm
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    Can anyone please explain why Hollywood Studios in August days before Galaxy’s Edge is set to open skyrocketed up to a NINE? First two updates I received had them dropping from 6 to 2, then I got a third where sure enough, 9. So confused and borderline panicked.

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    • May 5, 2019 at 2:56 pm
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      I saw this too and was wondering same. Looks like DHS starts to go up one week before SWGE opening. DHS goes from a 1’s on Tues and Wed (9 and 8 days out). To a 5 on Thurs. — one week out. Then a 6 on Friday. Then your 9’s on Sat and Sunday. Then 6 and 7’s until opening. I wonder if this isn’t factoring in local crowds showing up hoping for sneak previews. But just guessing.

      Reply
  • May 5, 2019 at 7:41 pm
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    Why has AK gone from 4-5 to 8-9 in 2nd week of January? Is something going on at the park?

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    • May 6, 2019 at 11:00 am
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      There is no specific event at Animal Kingdom that week. We recently did a complete update of forecasts for dates in 2020 and we think Animal Kingdom wait times will go up to something close to those level ‘8’s and ‘9’s. All that means for touring is that a proper touring plan becomes mandatory. Use one and you won’t really notice a difference between a crowd level ‘5’ and a crowd level ‘9’. Also, note that these crowd level predictions are subject to change – there is a decent chance they will be adjusted as those dates approach.

      Reply
  • May 6, 2019 at 1:37 pm
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    What are these crowd level numbers relative to? The historical average, or a more recent average, or something else?
    The net change in crowd levels for Magic Kingdom for the next 12 months as noted above is -7.4, which can’t be right. The net change for the whole year should always be 0, unless you are pegging these levels to some fixed point in the past, which wouldn’t seem to be the best method, at least for predictive purposes.

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    • May 6, 2019 at 1:44 pm
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      Josh – I’m not sure why you would simply add those up and mention the -7.4 number for 12 months. Those monthly numbers are averages per day for each month so you’re looking at a daily drop in predicted crowd levels over the 12 months period closer to 0.6.

      I don’t get why you think that number for the whole year should always be zero? The TP update for MK is predicting about a -0.6 daily average drop in MK crowds for the 12 months period RELATIVE to its last update, not relative to a past year or anything like that. In other words, if it were to turn out to be 100% accurate (which it won’t), it would show that the April update was overpredicting crowds by an average of 0.6 per day, which, on a 1-10 scale, is roughly 6.7%. Long story short, this is an adjustment downward of 6.7% average per day over the 12 month period compared to the last update.

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      • May 6, 2019 at 3:22 pm
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        Fair enough re 0.6 as a better representation, however I’d disagree with that being considered a small amount when it’s spread across 365 days.
        He mentions “new modeling techniques” which has to be the explanation since the only difference with this update vs the one a month ago is 30 days of data. In the context of a year (let alone the several years they have to work with), that is really not much.
        “New modeling techniques” is doing some heavy lifting here.

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