Choosing a Park on a Specific Day

Hello, we are planning a trip in Mid-August with multiple park days and multiple down days. We are trying to establish a park strategy, but there are a lot of variables including, the Not So Scary Pre-Labor Day Party - I mean Halloween Party - which frankly, I did not even consider the Halloween Party when we booked several months ago. I know that MK will close early on party days, which should deter those without Park Hopper and are not planning on going to the Party (like us). Makes MK great for starting the day and hopping to another park prior to the party, but we do not have that option. TP Crowd Level Predictions reflect this as well.

We are using Saturday as a down day.

I am seeing on the TP site, but not necessarily yet on Disney’s site, variable park hours by day (though Disney does not have anything past July 4th posted yet). For instance, AK is generally opening early, but one day, TP shows it opening at 9:00. Is anyone generally seeing the opening and closing times impacting park crowd levels, or at least capability to manage crowds at rope drop? If AK usually opens at 8:00 with 7:30 early entry, does that make a 9:00 park opening inherently more crowded than an 8:00 - especially at park open? It feels like the obvious answer is yes, but are there opinions on whether it is worth avoiding a later phase shifted park hours day, in favor of one that has more traditional hours and might be more manageable at rope drop if we get there early? Same goes for if a park is staying open unusually late compared to the other days, is that drawing bigger crowds?
Lastly, I assume that the Deluxe Extra Evening Hours are not a driver of crowds, but I would love to hear what you are seeing. TP Crowd levels (which I understand are impossible to predict) do not appear to be changing based on park hours except for in the case of special ticketed parties.

Anything else to consider?


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Absolutely go to MK on a party day if you don’t mind having to leave early. Everyone who went in August last year (myself included) had a glorious day.

I didn’t find any of the parks overly crowded except for HS so I’m not sure that slight shifts in opening time made much difference. We didn’t rope drop any parks, but we had hoppers and used G+ a few of the days to stack some rides.


The park hours should release about 60 days in advance. TP makes estimates based on previous years and then updates whenever WDW updates the actual hours.

If you can, go to MK on a party day. We went on a day it closed early and it was a CL1. It was glorious! I mean - everything was an absolute walk on.

Look at this picture after park open - around 8:05am on an 8:00 open day.

And this is the hub at 1pm


TP does take park hours into effect with their CL estimates - and the estimates are based on 11-3 (or something like that) in the park for that day. Generally, an hour here or there do not impact crowds significantly.

You can get more “done” without waiting by showing up at or before rope drop or staying later in the evening. All parks will be more crowded midday because a lot of people sleep in or take it slow.

I believe that you should pick the park based on what inherently makes sense for your plans - I wouldn’t put too much weight in the open/close times for crowds. You won’t feel a huge difference in crowds if they are varying by 1 level in any park.

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Seconding this. We did go to the party and arrived at MK at 11. My plan was to stack genie+ and I couldn’t really because wait times were so low.

I took screenshots of the longest wait times because I couldn’t believe this

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My kids walked onto Space Mtn 4 times in a row the day we went. I think it took maybe a half hour total.

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