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?