By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2020, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

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Category — n. Approaching Dates at Disney World

September 2020 at Walt Disney World

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September at Disney World combines lower crowds with low prices, and typically also has nice deals as well.

This makes it a great month for returning visitors.

But it has lousy weather, combining continuing summer heat and humidity with the peak of the hurricane season, making me not so keen on the month for first time visitors who may never return.

Note also that picking the right park to visit each day is critical at this time of the year.  See this, and use the comment form below to ask me about your specific dates!

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February 10, 2020   2 Comments

Possible September Dates for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party


While as of this morning, Disney World’s official calendar only goes through August 17, September dates are beginning to leak.

One unofficial calendar that I have found to track quite well with actual operating hours shows the Magic Kingdom closing at 6p on the following September dates:

  • Tuesday September 1
  • Friday September 4
  • Monday September 7
  • Friday September 11
  • Sunday September 13
  • Tuesday September 15
  • Friday September 18
  • Sunday September 20
  • Tuesday September 22
  • Friday September 25
  • Sunday September 27
  • Tuesday September 29

The odds are pretty high that these  represent September 2020 dates for the 2020 version of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (“MNSSHP”—for more on this party, see this), as they are fully consistent with the 2019 and 2018 patterns.


I should have noted this when I published about possible August 2020 dates for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, but analysis of the same sources suggests that the 2020 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival will open the week of 8/23 in 2020, likely on 8/27 or 8/28.




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February 9, 2020   No Comments

Possible August Dates for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

While as of this morning, Disney World’s official calendar only goes through July 20, August dates are beginning to leak.

One unofficial calendar that I have found to track quite well with actual operating hours shows the Magic Kingdom closing at 6p on the following August dates:

  • Thursday, August 13
  • Saturday, August 15
  • Tuesday, August 18
  • Friday, August 21
  • Tuesday, August 25
  • Friday, August 28

The odds are pretty high that the last four represent dates for the 2020 version of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (“MNSSHP”—for more on this party, see this), as they are fully consistent with the 2019 pattern, and largely consistent with the 2018 pattern.

The first two dates are off pattern—based on 2018 and 2019, one would have expected to see the first Party Friday the 14th, not Thursday the 13th, and Saturday parties are quite rare—I can recall seeing them only at the end of October.

Moreover, if both these are parties, there would be an unprecedented six parties in August—compared to five in 2019, and four in 2018. But I would not read too much into this, as a way for Disney to grow earnings year over year is to have more parties.

Magic Kingdom closes at 6p for reason other than parties—for cast member appreciation events, and, more rarely, if a big-pocketed convention is in town and buys out the park for the evening.

Based on all this, I’d put the odds at greater than 90% that the last four dates will be the 2020 version of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, about 80% that the first date will be, and about 50-50 that the Saturday date will be.

The party dates for 2019 were announced on Tuesday, January 15, 2019, so we may get the official answer to this quite soon.

(Update February 9–the Disney calendar is now out through 8/17, so the first two 6p closes are official–although the official 2020 party dates have not yet been released.  For thoughts on September dates following the same approach, see this.)



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January 12, 2020   No Comments

The Holidays at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park has added new and enhanced holiday decorations and shows.

Some have called the additions unprecedented, but I have been doing this long enough to have written in the past about the long-gone Mickey’s Jingle Jungle parade at this park, so have a more judicious view.

Highlights of what’s new include

  • Winter puppets near the Tree of Life—this is a daylight event, and my visit was after dark. Disney describes these as “life-size, artisan-sculpted animal puppets—including a Merry Menagerie of reindeer, foxes and polar bears,” and them seem to be quite the hit.
  • A winter-themed set of shows in Tree of Life Awakenings
  • Added decorations in all the parks other lands, including some minor adds to Pandora—my photos of this did not turn out even by my usual lower standards.

Let’s take a tour!

The entry to Disney’s Animal Kingdom features the usual Christmas tree…

…and some holiday lights on the structures here.

Discovery Island has as noted the puppets, and also holiday decorations.

Tree of Life Awakenings can be seen from either in front of it on Discovery Island or from the back along the pathway from Africa to Asia.

The brief shows are more winter-themed than holiday-themed, and have the usual subtlety and charm we’ve come to expect from these shows.

More from the Tree of Life Awakenings.

Africa includes celebratory colors and textiles….

…and among other decorations this tree near the Wildlife Express.

Pandora has a bit of decoration from its Earth-native expats. Some have complained that these additions—all my photos are terrible, so I have nothing to show you—are off-theme, but Disney has learned the hard way in Galaxy’s Edge to not take 100% immersion too seriously. Folks don’t come to Disney World for 100% immersion; they come for fun.

Asia has added lights to celebrate Diwali––the festival of lights in India.

These fit so nicely with the already-existing evening lighting that I’d like to see them stay all year.

Dinoland has recently had strong Donald Duck (and associates) Christmas-themed meet and greets.

You’ll see this again this year, plus more decorations…

… including in the boneyard.

All in, a pleasant set of additions to a great theme park.



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November 25, 2019   No Comments

June 2020 at Walt Disney World

April   May   June   July   August   September


If you must go to Disney World in the summer, the very beginning of June is your best choice for a first visit.

Crowds, while not good, are lower than than much of the rest of the summer, hotel prices are OK, except at the value resorts, ticket prices are average earlier in the month but higher later, and the full weight of summer weather is not yet in place.

(The end of August is the next best summer choice.  Prices and crowds are much better, but you are not only in peak summer heat then, but also the peak of the hurricane season.)

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November 19, 2019   No Comments

Christmas 2019 at Walt Disney World


The Christmas season at Walt Disney World includes both the best and the worst times to visit, with both prices and crowds at both lower and very high levels over the period.

Decorations, special Christmas shows, programs, and events, and Christmas trees are everywhere, making Disney World as special a place to celebrate the holidays as you can find.


December crowds at Walt Disney World begin at lower levels. In 2019, they will begin to build the week of 12/14 and by 12/23 will hit their highest levels of the year, where they will stay until about January 1, 2020. Crowds will still be high–though not at the holiday levels–through January 4, 2020.

AK-Christmas Mickey and Minnie at Disney's Animal Kingdom from

Walt Disney World resort hotel December prices at the beginning of the month are at one of the lower levels of the year. Prices increase 12/8, again 12/13, and again 12/20, reaching then the highest levels of the year.

Walt Disney World ticket prices begin the month at average levels. By 12/13 all but the shortest are high, and ticket prices hit their peak levels of the year shortly after.

December weather is cooler and variable. While the average daily high is 73, this masks tremendous variability.


Each of the parks has wonderful Christmas decorations, and each has special Christmas events, which will begin in early November at Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and the Studios, and the Friday after Thanksgiving at Epcot.

  • At the Magic KingdomMickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party—a special event that requires its own ticket—runs on many nights from November 8 through December 22nd. Later in December, its signature events—a special Christmas parade, and special Christmas fireworks—are available to all guests. Christmas decor is in place by the night of the first party–in 2019, November 8.
  • At the Studios, in 2019 the Christmas projection and fireworks show Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! returns on November 8 and a projection show on Tower of Terror, Sunset Seasons Greetings, begins that same day.  These two shows, other business, and the Christmas Tree at Echo Lake make Hollywood Studios the second best Christmas park at Disney World, after Magic Kingdom.
  • At Epcot, the evening fireworks show Epcot Forever has special Christmas additions. In addition, beginning November 29 Christmas carols are sung by massed choirs in the Candlelight Processional. Many of the countries in Epcot’s World Showcase have special Christmas events as part of Epcot’s Epcot International Festival of the Holidays which begins in 2019 on November 29
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom has a broader set of Christmas activities and events in 2019 than it has for a while.  See this for more.

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October 29, 2019   2 Comments