August is here, and we continue our monthly schedule of updates to the Disney World Crowd Calendar. [See a special note at the end of this article about a change we expect to see in September that could affect touring patterns at Disney World.]
This month’s Crowd Calendar update includes changes due to what we have observed since the opening of Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and what we expect leading up to the opening of Galaxy’s Edge (the Star Wars land at Hollywood Studios), which opens in late 2019. The impact of Toy Story Land on attendance has been smaller than expected. The official announcement of Toy Story Land’s opening date didn’t occur until Fall 2018, which we think may have been too late for many people to plan a trip specifically for the opening. Or, the new attractions aren’t as popular as expected. Either way, we do not expect the same thing to happen with Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. As soon as Disney sets a specific opening date for Galaxy’s Edge, we expect to see a comprehensive ad campaign and premium pricing coinciding with the opening. Galaxy’s Edge is also being built at Disneyland and will open there first. Disney will use the California early opening to build excitement for the Florida version. The novelty of Pandora at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is starting to show some signs of fading. We have seen a reduction in crowd levels at Animal Kingdom in the last few months.
(Average Crowd Levels MK:4.5 EP:5.1 HS:4.5 AK:3.9)
We have reduced the crowd levels in August. We have seen light crowds so far this summer, and we expect to see the same in August. School districts starting going back to school in early August. By the end of the month, 80% of students are back in classes. Hollywood Studios crowds levels are reduced to be in line with the rest of the resort. August 17, we see the first 2018 Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom. Typically the days between the parties have higher crowd levels. Many guests will avoid the Magic Kingdom on party days due to the shorter park hours.
(Average Crowd Levels MK:2.6 EP:3.0 HS:2.0 AK:2.5)
Labor Day weekend marks the end of summer crowds. Historically, September has some of the lowest crowd levels of the year, but we often see special promotions to counteract the dip in attendance. For instance, there are days in September with a special Annual Pass event at Toy Story Land. The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival starts August 30. Free dining and other hotel promotions are available, as well. Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween parties continue in September, with the Magic Kingdom having higher crowds on non-party days.
(Average Crowd Levels MK:3.6 EP:5.1 HS:4.7 AK:4.6)
October will see some days with summer level crowds. Many school systems have their fall breaks in October. The Food & Wine Festival continues through November 12, and Magic Kingdom has 18 Halloween parties. Days without a party will see the Magic Kingdom crowd levels in the ‘7’s and ‘8’s.
(Average Crowd Levels MK:4.4 EP:5.3 HS:4.3 AK:4.2)
Besides Veterans Day weekend and Thanksgiving week, crowd levels will be low. The Magic Kingdom begins to offer Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Just like with the Halloween Party, the days between the parties have higher crowd levels. Many school districts have the entire week of Thanksgiving off. Crowds start growing the weekend before Thanksgiving and peak the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
(Average Crowd Levels MK:5.6 EP:6.4 HS:6.1 AK:5.4)
Early December has relatively low crowd levels. Most school districts are in session through Friday, December 21. December 22 is the start of the busiest time at Walt Disney World. Crowds won’t drop until 2019 begins.
(Average Crowd Levels MK:4.6 EP:5.0 HS:5.6 AK:4.0)
School starts back up starting January 2, with most schools back in session by January 7. There will a bump in the crowd levels for WDW Marathon Weekend (January 9-13), and Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend (January 19-21).
(Average Crowd Levels MK:4.7 EP:4.3 HS:4.6 AK:5.0)
The week of Presidents Day (February 18) and the Princess Half Marathon (February 21-24) will be the busiest time of the month. The rest of the month will see low crowd levels.
(Average Crowd Levels MK:6.5 EP:6.2 HS:6.3 AK:6.1)
(Average Crowd Levels MK:6.1 EP:6.6 HS:6.4 AK:6.6)
Mardi Gras (March 5) is late in 2019. Fewer schools are off Mardi Gras this year, and does not look like it will have an impact on crowd levels. Easter (April 21) is also late. A late Easter means that spring break crowds are spread across a wider time range. In 2019 the “spring break” season will span from March 10 to April 21. The weeks of March 17 and April 14 will have the highest spring break crowds.
(Average Crowd Levels MK:4.7 EP:5.1 HS:4.3 AK:5.5)
(Average Crowd Levels MK:6.5 EP:5.8 HS:5.8 AK:6.0)
(Average Crowd Levels MK:5.7 EP:5.2 HS:5.1 AK:5.1)
The end of April through most of May will have low crowds. Most school districts are in session and wrapping up the school year. Memorial Day weekend going into the first week of June will have high crowds. We expect summer crowds to be moderate. Attendance will be lower than during most summers due to people postponing their visits until Galaxy’s Edge opens.
What We Are Watching
This fall we expect Disney to announce new variable ticket pricing. Just like one-day tickets, multi-day tickets will have different prices based on the dates and parks you plan to visit. The variable ticketing pricing could change guests’ travel patterns. Over the next 18 months, we expect openings of new hotels and attractions. Once opening dates are announced, we will adjust crowd levels.
Have any questions or comments about the Crowd Calendar update? Let us know in the comments.