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  • On Jun 7, 2010
    Emmalea from VA Asked

    Trying to determine which parks to visit each day based on crowd levels. Various sites give contradictory info. Staying on-site for 1 week with park hoppers. Any advice on which park to visit or avoid? What about water parks? Or does it really matter?

    Fabulous question, Emmalea!

    The two sites that I trust the most for crowd levels and recommendations for parks per day are www.tourguidemike.com and www.touringplans.com.  If you want information several months in advance, you'll need to subscribe to either service (a relatively small "investment", especially considering the cost of your vacation).

    Unfortunately, sometimes the recommendations from these two sites conflict, due to different data sources and different approaches/methodologies used.  For this reason, I think it's best to choose one source, and stick solely to that one.

    Outside of these sources, there are a few general guidelines I use to predict less crowded parks:
    1) Avoid park with morning or evening Extra Magic Hours (EMH)
    2) Pick the park that had evening EMH the night before
    3) Avoid Hollywood Studios on days with Fantasmic! (If you want to see Fantasmic!, park hop in the evening to Hollywood studios.  If there are two shows, the second will be less crowded)
    4) If the Magic Kingdom has an evening hard-ticket event (like Mickey's Not So scary Halloween Party), then it will likely not be very crowded during the day.  If you don't mind getting kicked-out by 7pm (and missing fireworks, etc.), then this can be a great day to visit the Magic Kingdom
    5) Take a rest day outside of the parks on the busiest days of the year (New Year's, Christmas, July 4, etc.)
    6) Waterparks tend to get more crowded later in the week (Thurs-Fri), and on the weekends.

    Regarding "Does it matter?"  Only partly.  If I had to choose a crowded park, with a good plan (which attractions?, in which order?), or a less crowded park, with no plan, I prefer having a plan!  In fact, some say that having a plan is 5 times more important than picking a park with a lower crowd -- definitely something to keep in mind!

    Hope that helps you a bit with your planning!
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Meet the Panelist: Bret,

As one of the dads on the panel, I have fun helping all Walt Disney World planners who want a dad’s perspective. Learn More About Bret

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