Confused about the December crowd…

Hi! I am not a Disney expert, but I’m trying to do enough research and planning to make our 2.5 days at Christmas go as well as it can.

Apparently I chose some of the worst possible days of the year to go. (Dec 19-21) Yaaaaay. I’m checking crowds for our days, and they’re very red. One thing I’m confused about is this… December 19 (Sunday) is our first day. We won’t get there until later in the afternoon/early evening. Dec 19 is a MK After Hours ticket night, but it’s showing that it’s (by far) the lightest park at WDW. It’s at a 5, while all the other parks are 8s and 9s. Is the park really that “empty” on special event ticket days? Or is it even too soon to tell? I was purposely trying to avoid MK on the After Hours days, thinking it’d be PACKED.

It likely will be packed when the after hours crowd can start to enter. But a lot of people will avoid that park that day because of the more limited hours. If you were just going in the morning and then leaving when the after hours folks start to show it may be a very pleasant experience.

Given your arrival is late in the day though, I would say it is probably wise to avoid it as it will close early and you’ll be in the worst time where the after hours folks start to arrive so it will be busy.

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Sundays tend to be light at MK anyway, IIRC, because it tends to be a travel day that draws that group of people out of the park. Added to that the fact it’s a party night and it might just be that low.

Although with party not starting til later, and thus park hours not ending quite so early as in the past, I’m not sure that’s quite as reliable a prediction as it would once have been.

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Not near as early as in years past. With parties not starting til 9 or 9:30pm, day guests can stay a lot later than in years past when the parties started far earlier. Some say these After Hours events, vs parties, are in direct response to guest dis-satisfaction with early close on so many days due to parties

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The Crowd Calendar seems to be projecting a 9PM close every day that week for MK regardless of the after hours party or not. That seems shockingly early for Christmas week, doesn’t it? Guess I’ll be surprised if on non-party days they don’t extend the MK hours, but a lot will likely depend on demand…

Parties used to start at ?7 and the park closed even earlier.

Not sure about Christmas Week in particular, to be fair, but in general parties happened earlier, the park closed earlier, and for that reason folks avoided the park on those days opting for days with longer operating ours not impeded by parties

Note: look back to 12/2019 to see this

Looks like it varied - go back far enough and the park would close at 7PM which is when the party started (I looked at 2008) as I definitely have memories of still being in the park when the party started. 2017 has the park closing at 6PM with the party starting at 7PM - allows for a cleaner break & clearing of the non-party folk.

The party ticket started at 4PM IIRC so that time where party goers could get in and the park was still open could be pretty busy and worth avoiding.

And in 2017 the park was open until Midnight on the 23rd, a non-party day. Looks like every day after that for Xmas that year was a Midnight close at MK.

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