15For some people, the exercise of deciding what day you will visit each Disney World park can be a nerve wracking experience. When deciding what day to visit each Disney World park there can be a too much emphasis on trying to pick the perfect day. But if we’re being honest, there is no such thing as a perfect day. Any day on vacation is already great! That said, there are some things to keep in mind you start thinking about the days to visit a park.
Our guidance here is for the express purposes of trying to avoid crowds. If you have other objectives, these may not work for you. As part of this planning you’ll want to know what park hours are, when events are held, and more. We recommend Kenny The Pirate’s park calendar for reference.
Stay Away from Parks with Extra Magic Hours
At first this may sound counter intuitive. Everyone thinks that you want to hit those parks because you can have another 1 to 2 hours, but that is the point. EVERYONE thinks these are the days to hit the park, so they are jam packed! So zig when others zag. Or zag when they zig, if that’s your preference!
If you really want to take advantage of the extra magic hours, go to another park on that day, and then come back to the park with extra magic hours at night. This does require the park-hopper option. We don’t recommend going to morning magic hours and leaving the park as you only get one hour in the morning and there isn’t enough benefit in our minds.
Go to a Park the Day Before or After Extra Magic Hours
If your looking to lower crowd volume even more, go to a park the day before or the day after it has Extra Magic Hours. For example, if Animal Kingdom has Extra Magic Hours on a Tuesday, you would want to hit the park on a Monday or Wednesday. If people are gearing up to hit that park on Tuesday, they likely aren’t going there the day before or after. This should mean you’ll see slightly lower crowds on these days. Note we didn’t say no crowds, just slightly lower.
Know When Special Events Are Going On
Special events are a two-way street and can have a big impact when deciding what day to visit each Disney World park. Depending on what you are trying to accomplish, these events could be a reason to go to a park or stay away. First, we’ll focus on the two big hard ticket events of the fall/winter: Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
If these events are going on while you are at Disney World, you can use these parties to your advantage. Because they are both events that require separate admission to the park, you will usually find lower crowd levels at the Magic Kingdom the day of the event. Remember, these events don’t start until 7:00PM, but you can get in the park at 4:00PM.
People that don’t have a ticket to the event will usually avoid the Magic Kingdom, since they can’t have a full day at the park. Go to Magic Kingdom these days and bask in the lighter crowd levels. The downside of this is that you either have to buy a ticket to the party, hop to another park when Magic Kingdom closes to regular guests, or just call it a night and head home.
Outside of the parties, there are other special events. Marathons, festivals and more. You can read the Disney World Special Events section of our guide. This will help you take it all in and select a better day to hit the parks when these events are going on.
One other thing to consider when deciding what day to visit each Disney World park is you FastPass+ reservations. Specifically, what reservations you can get. If you have laid out your park days and know you need a FastPass+ reservation for a specific attraction at a specific time but you can only get that for a Tuesday, then that makes your decision a little easier.
One extra tip for you is to book harder to get or more time sensitive FastPass+ reservations later in the trip. The way Disney limits you to booking these reservations 60 (or 30) days out, you will have an easier time making FastPass+ reservations for attractions later in your trip. As of this writing we recommend you visit Animal Kingdom later in your trip so you can have better success getting Pandora related FastPass+ reservations for this exact reason.
An Extra Thought
One additional thing we want to point out when deciding what day to visit each Disney World park. You’ll notice that we didn’t say you should pick a park based upon dinner reservations. Or a special experience like like Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.
Now, this is a hard one because you can make table service reservations 180 days in advance. Way before you know how your FastPass+ reservations line up. But you will know when the Extra Magic Hours are and what events are going on and, in our opinion, that matters more. Pick your targeted park days, make your dining reservations, then make your FastPass+ reservations and be flexible.
Beyond these few things to consider, hit the parks when you like. Notice we said the parks would likely have lighter crowds, we didn’t say light crowds. That’s because the parks will be busy during busy times of the year no matter what. Flexing your schedule by a day or two won’t change that. There is no chance that you will get in and be able to have the park all to yourself. And because of that, you shouldn’t stress about deciding what day to visit each Disney world parks. Go and have a good time.
[…] make it because they are slow to get at it in the morning. As we talk about in our article on deciding what days to go to each park, the tradeoff here is that you could see elevated crowds later in the day at the parks with Extra […]