I went from booking a trip a few months out & trying to figure out TP and FP+ only to have to cancel our trip at the last minute. The good news is I now have a trip booked 9 months away! When do the crowd calendars normally come out and when is a good time to create my “first draft” of TPs for the parks?
The CC typically is updated 6 months out. I’ve created a tentative TP almost a year in advance, but anything outside I 6 months is really just a practice draft. Realistically I select my parks before the 180 day, make my ADRs, and at around the 90 mark I make a “realistic” TP and decide what FPPs I want. After I get my FPPs I finalize my TPs.
I had all of my TPs made for July and I wanted to make new ones for next May to show my hubby a comparison of how much less the crowds would be. It would not optimize or evaluate at all even though I changed the dates. I thought it was because it was too early.
Ive started on mine for Easter but having done Easter in the past I know they are not accurate. I notice changes in wait times( increase )about every 2 weeks or so. Think len posted that most accurate times will be 2 weeks before you travel and shouldn’t change much from then.
I couldn’t get mine to optimise in June for March as it was too far away but July was fine for optimising(8months) although 10 minutes for space at 10 am at Easter was a bit optimistic. Times are still low but look a bit more real.
Crowd Calendar predictions are posted 1 year out, and are good for general planning.
As @bswan26 mentions, the predictions are usually refined about 6 months out, when WDW releases its first operating calendar for the month in question. These predictions are good for more specific planning, and should be used when working out ADRs.
The predictions are regularly re-evaluated, and you can “track” your trip days in the CC so that you receive e-mail updates when they are changed. It’s always a good idea to review the predictions and your plans before other significant dates (like FPP selection at 60/30 days out) as well as right before you go on your trip.
Thanks - the only good thing about having to cancel our trip is that I pretty much have the few ADRs we want already figured out. Now to book them in November.
I do remember getting the alert that the crowds had changed - I was going when all parks were 8-9 so this trip has to be better!