International Food And Wine Festival
Probably the most famous of all the Epcot festivals is the International Food and Wine Festival.
Held every year in the fall, for 2021 we will see the dates extend from July 15 all the way until November 20.
If you are a fan of good food and fun drinks, you’ll definitely want to plan to spend some time at Epcot during your trip.
Extended Evening Hours Are My Favorite
Are your kids night owls? Want to impress tweens and teens? Nothing says fun mom like hitting Magic Kingdom until 11pm and EPCOT until midnight. They will carry this extended evening hours magical Disney vacation memory for years to come.
If your family is like mine, youve got kids of varying ages. Thats great in real life. But at Disney, juggling kids who range in age from newborn to teenager is a logistical nightmare. The smaller kids are interested in some of the more juvenile-themed rides, the teen wants to do all the thrill rides. And the baby cant go on any ride with a height restriction. We dont always have two grownups on trips. So what is a solo parent to do?
How to Please Everyone
Extended Evening Hours for the win! We ride all the rides the little girls want to go on . Then my teen son can race through the lines for the thrill rides with his sister. Since hes over 14 he can bring her through without me. Then I hang back with the littles. They emerge excited and are ready to tackle the next ride. A special treat? Bring the oldest back for some one-on-one fun. My son still talks about getting a soda at 2am as we walked back to the monorail after Extra Magic Hours. It happened when he was 8. Hes 17 now.
TravelingMom Tip: If youre planning to visit EPCOT on your trip, make it a late night too! Extended Evening Hours at EPCOT are a great time to try the foods of the World Showcase without waiting in long lines.
What About Early Theme Park Entry
Disney has retired Extra Magic Hours but in their place they have implemented a new system called Early Theme Park Entry.
This benefit allows Disney Resort guests the opportunity to enter any of the 4 theme parks 30 minutes before non-Disney Resort guests.
If qualify for this benefit, we highly recommend that you take advantage of the extra time to get ahead of the regular park crowds and head to Fantasyland and catch a ride on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train first.
For more information, check out our Guide to Early Theme Park Entry at Disney World.
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Which Program Is Best
Unfortunately, with Early Theme Park Entry not rolling out until later this year, it is hard to tell whether the program will be as loved and appreciated as Extra Magic Hours were. I predict if ETPE can disperse crowds, the loss of extra time will certainly be worth it. But until we can see this program in action, a conclusion cannot be made.
Both programs have benefits and drawbacks, and time will tell which is best.
All Of The Extended Evening Hours Announced For Disney World
Disney World hasnt had Extra Magic Hours since reopening in July of 2020.
For the 50th Anniversary, Disney replaced Extra Magic Hours with Early Theme Park Entry for all resort guests, allowing them to arrive early at each of the four parks daily. In addition, theres the added perk of Extended Evening Hours for guests of Deluxe Resorts on select nights. Weve already seen some dates announced for this new offering, but Disney just added more to the list!
Previously, Disney World released Extended Evening Hours options for the month of December 2021. But now Disney has updated the calendar. More Extended Evening Hours have been announced for December and select dates in 2022. Heres a look at all of the dates that have been announced for Extended Evening Hours so far:
Remember, this perk is only available to Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resort guests. Heres a look at the qualifying resorts:
Disney Deluxe Resorts
- Disneys Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Disneys Beach Club Resort
- Disneys BoardWalk Inn
- Disneys Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
- Disneys Polynesian Village Resort
- Disneys Wilderness Lodge
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How Our Crowd Calendars Work
Ready to dive in? Jump down to the
1. For each day of the month, we tell you on a scale of 1-10 how busy the entire Walt Disney World Resort is when compared to other days of the year.
2. Then, for each park you’ll see the park hours and any special events that are planned.
3. We also track refurbishments and closings .
4. We have a handy feature that allows you to automatically add your Advanced Dining Reservation date to your calendar.
5. And, one of the most useful features is the ability to be able to print the calendar so that you can have a paper copy for planning .
When Planning Your Park Days The Goal Is To Visit The Park With The Lowest Predicted Crowds
To accomplish that, youll use the information in the monthly calendars linked below, along with our tips for selecting the best parks for each day of your trip to put together a daily plan.
The monthly calendars are easily customized to display the exact information you need for all 4 parks:
- Magic Kingdom
Plus operating information for:
- Disney Springs
- Blizzard Beach
- Typhoon Lagoon
We recommend you use the information on this page to guide you as you select your travel dates, and then use the monthly crowd calendars linked below each month to help you plan your individual days.
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Disney World Crowd Calendar And Park Hours 2020
I release my free Disney World crowd calendar 2020 for each month approximately 195 days in advance of each month. On each calendar youll find park hours, crowd levels, Extra Magic Hours, weather, special entertainment offerings, best park / worst park, special events as well as dining and Fastpass+ booking windows!
How Can I Avoid Crowds At Disney World
When it comes to planning a trip to Disney, one thing that pretty much every first-timer wants to know is how to avoid crowds. There are some seasons that are less crowded and some that are more crowded, as weve shared above, but if you can only visit during peak seasons like the middle of summer or Christmas vacation, here are some tips for avoiding crowds as much as possible.
First, we highly recommend using the My Disney Experience app. This will allow you to check park hours, wait times, and even order food straight from your phone. Its available in the app store for your iPhone or Android device and it will be a lifesaver while on vacation. We, of course, recommend downloading the app before you arrive at Disney property.
Secondly, when available, we recommend taking advantage of amenities like Extra Magic Hours and FastPass+. These luxuries are free for Disney Resort hotel Guests and will help you not only stay organized and have a plan for your trip but also avoid crowds and waiting in long lines. Note, however, that Extra Magic Hours and FastPass+ are currently suspended at Disney World and Disney has not yet announced when they will come back.
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Things To Keep In Mind For October:
- The growing popularity of fall breaks in schools means that October is far busier than it used to be.
- Halloween entertainment continues at Magic Kingdom, but no word yet on whether it will be Mickeys Not-So-Scary Halloween Party or the brand-new Disney After Hours Boo Bash.
- The International Food and Wine Festival will be in full swing over at Epcot. Whenever possible, we recommend that you avoid Epcot on Thursday Sunday .
- Weather has always been a factor when planning Disney World trips, but the temps and humidity in October often surprises guests visiting from cooler climates.
- Storms will also likely be a factor, so we highly recommend you plan mid-day breaks from the sun and rain during your trip.
Get park hours and info on refurbishments and special events on the .
Disneys Animal Kingdom Tips
In Animal Kingdom, head for AVATAR Flight of Passage or Expedition Everest if you are adults or have older kids. Both of those rides dont have Genie+ times, you pay to ride Lightning Lanes so youll save cash knocking one off first thing. Animal Kingdom is probably the trickiest park for bundling rides. Its large. Even if you power walk, it takes time to move from one area to another. Pick your priority and make Genie+ or Lightning Lane reservations for the rest.
If you hit Flight of Passage first, spend early entry in The World of AVATAR. Being realistic 30 minutes isnt a long time. Its going to take you 30 minutes to bust your butt over to the ride and get through the small queue. Youll be riding it as the park opens to everyone else. Then head over to Navi River ride because everyone who just entered will be lining up for AVATAR.
With Little Kids
With smaller kids or animal lovers I highly recommend going to Kilimanjaro Safaris. I like to be in line at Kilimanjaro Safaris when the attraction opens. In the morning the animals are more active.
For evening hours Im a huge fan of Expedition Everest in the dark! With older kids you can use the single rider line to go through multiple times in a row.
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Thinking Point #9 When You Have Park Hopper Ticket
The Disney World Basic Ticket allows guests to visit one theme park per day but Disney also offers an upgrade called the Park Hopper Option. This option costs extra, is good for the length of your ticket and allows you two move between the Disney Theme Parks at your convenience. Guests with Basic Tickets really need to be careful when planning around Extra Magic Hours because, once youve entered a park, youre committed to that park for the day. You can leave and re-enter the same park but you cant switch to a different park. The Park Hopper option costs more but it does give you some flexibility for example, you can go to Disney’s Animal Kingdom park for a morning Extra Magic Hour and enjoy that park while crowds are low, then head over to the Magic Kingdom to enjoy some attractions and the evening entertainment.
What Is A Crowd Calendar
The best time to go to Disney World depends on many factors, including the weather, which time period fits into your busy schedule, and, of course, how crowded the theme parks will be. After all, who likes waiting in long lines when you could be enjoying the rides?
Crowd calendars predict how busy a theme park will be on any given day of the year. By using data compiled from recent years, Disney crowd calendars help us determine which theme parks will have the shortest lines and which parks will have the longest lines. While not every traveler has the flexibility to plan their trip around the least-crowded dates, this can still be a valuable tool. Knowing what to expect will allow you to plan accordingly and help you to maximize your Disney experience.
Below youll find our Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar infographic. It provides a quick and easy way to identify the best times of year to visit Disney World. Feel free to link it to your website or share it on social media.
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Pros And Cons Of Early Theme Park Entry
The biggest pro to Early Theme Park Entry is that it will theoretically help spread early arriving crowds out to all four parks evenly. Instead of resort guests overcrowding the park with Extra Magic Hours scheduled, they will more uniformly distribute across all the parks.
Another pro to Early Theme Park entry is the set schedule. Rather than a schedule that jumps around and changes, ETPE happens every day in every one of the main parks. This makes it reliable and easy to plan for.
Early Theme Park Entry has two main cons as far as I can tell: less extra time in the park, and the a.m. only schedule.
For those who prefer evenings to mornings, ETPE does not offer an evening option, meaning many early mornings. Depending on when regular park hours occur, Early Theme Park Entry could open as early as 7:30 for some parks on some days.
The other glaring drawback to ETPE is the reduction in extra park time for resort guests. The Walt Disney World Extra Magic Hours program offered an extra hour or two. In contrast, Early Theme Park Entrys 30 minute advance opening pales in comparison, and is frankly, a disappointment to what could be a great program for resort guests to enjoy.
ETPE is especially hard to swallow for those of us who have visited while Disney was controlling capacity in 2020. At this time, guests were being admitted as much as an hour before official park opening to better facilitate social distancing at the entry gates.
Disney World Morning Extra Magic Hours
Morning Extra Magic Hours allow Disney resort guests into the theme parks an hour before everyone else. That gets you into the park as early as 7:00 a.m. or 8:00 a.m., depending on the time of year and the park. Since most vacationers are reluctant to get to the parks early, Morning Extra Magic Hours are an excellent time to experience headliner attractions.
Note the following tips for touring during Extra Magic Hour mornings:
Disney varies the days on which Extra Magic Hours occur, especially during busy times of year. For that reason, check our Crowd Calendar for specific hours during your visit. In addition, the Extra Magic Hours schedule is in the packet of information you receive upon checking into your resort and is often posted in the lobby of Disney resorts.
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Seasonal Events And New Attractions
No matter what time of year you visit Disney, youll get to experience the magic of the Disney theme parks, Extra Magic Hours if youre staying on property at a Disney Resort hotel , the option to add amenities like the Disney Dining Plan or Memory Maker to your trip, fantastic dining experiences and tours you can add to your reservation, and so much more.
But, when you visit Disney during certain times of the year in 2021, youll also have the opportunity to experience new and returning events and attractions. Below we have included a list of some of the typical seasonal events at Disney World as well as new attractions, shows, and experiences coming this year.
Seasonal events we anticipate in 2021 include the following:
New attractions, shows, and experiences in 2021 will include the following:
How Often Are The Magic Kingdom Park Hours Updated
When Disney first publishes their park hours, they tend to be kind of generic and there wont be much nuance to them.
And what we mean by that is that they will usually show every day opening and closing at the same time. Additionally they will be fairly conservative with the amount of time the parks are open.
However, park hour updates are based on demand. The busier the parks are projected to be, the higher the likelihood that Disney will extend the hours.
And more and more, we are seeing that happen. In the final weeks or days they extend the operating hours by either opening up earlier or staying open later .
Of course, the reverse of that is also true. Although not nearly as common as seeing the hours extended, it isnt totally unheard of for Disney to cut back on hours, too.
Disney issues updates for park hours on a fairly regular basis, sometimes as often as once per week. However, not every park will see hours updated. Having the park hours extended is never a guarantee.
Historically, Magic Kingdom tends to have its hours updated the most, which makes sense considering just how popular the park is.
Updates are more likely the closer you get to your trip
Since Disney updates park hours based upon projected attendance, the closer you get to your trip the more data they will have to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to make any changes .
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Rating System For The Disney World Crowd Calendar
Our Disney World Crowd Calendar uses a rating system from 1 to 5 for each of the Walt Disney World theme parks. We compile this information using historical data from the past several years. Our rating system also takes variable factors into account.
Please note that past attendance figures are not always reflective of future attendance, and there may be slight differences between our prediction and the actual crowd sizes. We do our best to give you the most up-to-date and accurate predictions so that you may know what to expect when you arrive at Disney World.
Ratings based on Park Attendance: