There are many theories on how to choose which park to visit on each day of your vacation. There are also many helpful websites that give insight into why you should attend a certain Disney park on a specific day. My preference in choosing a park is based on avoiding the crowds. There are three things I look at when choosing a park to visit.
Here they are:
Historical Park Attendance. Historically, Mondays have been known to be the most crowded days at the Magic Kingdom. The theory being that most people travel on the weekends and with the Magic Kingdom being the most popular park, most people want to visit that park first. Following this mentality, people also tend to visit the parks in chronological order as they were created. Therefore, as the Magic Kingdom tends to be the most crowded on Mondays, Epcot is most crowded on Tuesdays, Hollywood Studio’s has higher crowds on Wednesdays, and Animal Kingdom can be busier on Thursdays. This theory doesn’t always hold true, as Extra Magic Hours or Special Events do alter which days are busiest at each park. That’s why it’s important to take Park Hours into consideration as well.
Extra Magic Hours & Special Events. Disney realized that certain parks were more crowded on certain days, therefore they came up with the plan of Extra Magic Hours to try to disperse crowds more evenly between the four parks. In order to avoid crowds, I’d suggest avoiding the parks on the days that have Extra Magic Hours – morning and evening. Take it a step further, and look at which park has extra evening hours – and visit that park the very next day. If Hollywood Studios has EMH on a Tuesday evening, visit that park on Wednesday morning. Yes, it conflicts with the historical attendance theory, but with the use of EMH Disney has pulled crowds into Hollywood Studios on the night before, causing for fewer people to show up at DHS on Wednesday morning. (If you have a park hopper, and you know for certain you can get to the park that has the EMH morning hour – go for it! You can accomplish quite a bit in that first hour, but you may want to hope to another park later on.)
Special Events in the parks, such as Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, do detract crowds. When guests see that the Magic Kingdom is closing extra early due to a party, they choose a different park to visit that day because they’re afraid of having ‘less time’ in the Magic Kingdom. I say go to the Magic Kingdom that day! Get there right at opening, you’ll be able to experience just about everything you want to with very little wait because the crowds will be lower. Yes, the park closes earlier than the rest, but if you’ve got a Park Hopper you can finish off your evening at another park. If you don’t have the park hopping option, go back to your hotel to relax and get a good night’s rest so you can hit your next park first thing in the morning!
Touring Plans. Finally, take a look at what days Touring Plans suggests are best. Did you know you can look at the crowd calendar for your travel dates one month in advance for free? For example, now that it’s November, the month of December is available for you to view absolutely free. There you’ll see that every single Monday is December has the Magic Kingdom marked as a Park to Avoid due to predicted high crowds. I often cross-check Touring Plans suggestions with the crowd calendars on EasyWDW (always free to use) and make my decision based on the info given from both sites.
By using the three methods above, you should be able to plan out which days you’d like to visit each park in order to experience the lowest crowds for that particular day. This certainly isn’t the only way to choose your parks for each day, there are many other resources you can use to help select the parks you visit on your vacation days. For those of you that are planners – tell us what your method is for choosing which parks to visit on each day of your trip in the comments below!
In addition to writing for Chip & Co., Terri writes for her own blog Walt Disney World Hints. Terri enjoys going off the beaten path when visiting Walt Disney World and finding out about the lesser known things. You can also find out more tips on the WDW Hints facebook page.
- The Magic Kingdom – Why It’s Worth Waking Up Early For (chipandco.com)
- What is Rope Drop and Why do I want to see it? (chipandco.com)