Which is better -- lower crowds or more hours (MK)?

I’m spending 6 days at WDW December 10-16 2018 (there’s an extra day in there for Kennedy Space Center).

The Crowd Calendar is predicting low crowds in MK on days with Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, but the park is only open 9-6 on those days.

Current plan:

  • Mon Dec 10 EPCOT 9a-9:30p (Crowd 5)
  • Tue Dec 11 MK 9a-6p (Crowd 5, shorter hours)
  • Wed Dec 12 AK 8a-8p (Crowd 7, which is the lowest listed)
  • Thu Dec 13 MK 9a-6p (Crowd 4, shorter hours)
  • Fri Dec 14 HS 9a-8p (Crowd 6)
  • Sat Dec 15 Kennedy Space Center (Avoid the busy parks on a “9” day)
  • Sun Dec 16 EPCOT 9a-9:30p (Crowd 5)

The only days with longer opening hours at MK either have EMH (but I’m staying off-property) or high crowds (8 or 10).

So, which would you say is better at MK?

  • Low-crowd days (4 or 5) but with shorter hours (9a-6p), or
  • High-crowd days (8 or 10) but with longer hours (9a-9p)

We will NOT be using Park Hopper. We are staying off-property.

I intend to rope-drop each day and spend the busier middle-of-the-day hours visiting Disney Springs and exploring the Resorts, returning to the park as crowds decrease. So, one option is to attend the shorter days but stay in the park the whole time and do our exploring after 6pm. That would effectively give us the same amount of time “in park”, taking advantage of the lower crowd levels.

Any other ideas?

  • Low-crowd days (4 or 5) but with shorter hours (9a-6p)
  • High-crowd days (8 or 10) but with longer hours (9a-9p)

0 voters

Looks like you’re planning 2 days at MK. If it were me & I was going without hoppers I would do 1 MK day on party day & 1 MK day with late opening. HEA fireworks are really special & I think it’s worth being in the park on a higher CL to see them. I would do RD to lunch that day & plan to come back to the park after dinner. Allow yourself plenty of time to save a spot for fireworks OR spring for the dessert party that night.


How about switching these 2 days? MK will be an 8, EP will still be a 5. Plus starting out a trip at MK is pretty awesome :slight_smile:

I would do one day of each for the magic kingdom. To see it all lit up is special.

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We’ll be there in Dec, too, and are having the same conundrum. I’m interested in seeing what people say. We’re planning on 2 short days and 1 long one in MK right now. And we’ll see you in AK on there 12th. It’s my DD’s birthday and our last day and I think she’ll want to be in Dinoland. :grimacing:

I have the same issue (but with the Halloween party) and I think I am going to settle for a long day+fireworks and a short day without the party.

I ended up booking the dessert party to see the fireworks.

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This is what we are doing.

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Thanks for your ideas!

Yes, we would miss the fireworks doing two short days.

@BoilerMomPharmD - Yes, Swapping EPCOT & MK on Mon & Tue is a good idea but my wife will be joining us a day later (on the Tuesday) and would prefer 2 days at MK rather than two at EPCOT (nostalgia!).

Another option is keep the plan as-is, but also visit MK after the day at Kennedy when it is a 9p closing (Crowd Level 10). It’s only $10 for an extra day on the multi-day tickets and we could come just for the evening fireworks, without feeling the need to rush around and do attractions. In fact, I guess we could book some FP for the evening pretty easily, too, so it would be quite worthwhile.


Ah, didn’t realize your whole party wouldn’t be there. I think your plan to add a day of tickets is a good one! $10 is worth it to see HEA!

I like this idea best. I’ve never been to the Kennedy space center, so not sure how tired you’ll be after? But $10 is totally worth fireworks to me!

We (2 adults, no kids) are going the week before you and have chosen low crowd days for MK. We are doing three days there: one, we are leaving in the early afternoon, doing a break, and then an evening in Epcot; another, we are staying RD to 6, and then heading over to the GF to see the holiday decorations and maybe grab a bite and a cocktail at Mizners. The third, we have MVMCP tickets and will do MK all day, with an afternoon break.

We are also going to CG for dinner one of the MVMCP nights in hopes of a nice fireworks view.

Good news… The Touringplans estimates for MK on my chosen days have now dropped to a Crowd Level of 3, making the above plan even more attractive.

Also, the planned Saturday night visit for the Fireworks in MK has dropped from CL 10 to CL 7.

However, EPCOT has increased on my final day, which might now require some tweaking.