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Planning for Disney World in May

Star Wars WeekendsMay is truly one of the Frog Family’s favorite months to visit the Walt Disney World Resort and the Orlando theme parks. Because school is still in session for most of the country, crowds are mostly neutral and there are a ton of fun events at the parks — most notably Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios®.

This May is even more spectacular for a number of reasons. On the 24th of SeaWorld’s most-ambitious exhibit/attraction to date, Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin. There is also a new meet-and-greet opening at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park, and Disney World’s first Starbucks opens in Magic Kingdom® Park. Want to know what else is coming to the theme parks? Look no further than Tad’s exhaustive list (which just keeps growing and growing).

Additionally, to kick off its Monstrous Summer promotion, Magic Kingdom® Park will be open 24 hours on May 24, starting at 6 a.m. (Click here for our tips if you plan to attend!)

Crowds

Crowds MayThe first half of the month sees the lowest crowds, with neutral crowd levels during the week and slightly higher crowd levels on weekends. Starting the week of the 19th, crowd levels increase and will remain elevated, particularly around Memorial Day on May 27. Be sure to download our wait-time apps before you head to the parks. Getting to the park before opening is always a good idea, but it’s even more crucial when crowd levels are high. (Wanna know the SECRET to avoiding Disney World CROWDS? Here it is!)

For those of you planning to take part in the Magic Kingdom® Park All-Nighter on May 24, expect the park to be very, very busy! For this reason, the park has gone from a neutral recommendation to red, and while the daily crowd level is 7 out of 10 for all parks, Magic Kingdom® Park itself is expected to be more crowded.

Predicted best days of the month to visit (and recommended parks)

  • May 7 (Magic Kingdom® Park, Disney’s Hollywood Studios®, Universal Studios)
  • May 8 (Epcot®, Disney’s Hollywood Studios®, Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure)
  • May 15 (Epcot®, Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure)

Check the crowd calendar to see recommended days for the whole month and beyond.

Magic Kingdom® Park and New Fantasyland™

Understandably, many people are making New Fantasyland™ their first stop in Magic Kingdom® Park, and even at opening it’s quite common to find a 45-minute wait for Enchanted Tales with Belle (here are details about it and the other New Fantasyland™ attractions). There is no Fastpass for this attraction, so if it’s a priority, your best bet is to hop over first thing at park opening. If you arrive and find a line less than 45 minutes, do this first and then Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid and Ariel’s Grotto. If you find the line more than 45 minutes, head to Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid and Ariel’s Grotto, because after the opening “rush,” Enchanted Tales with Belle sees a slight dip between 10 a.m. and noon on most days and won’t see lower wait times again until late afternoon and evening.

Closings and Refurbishments

At Magic Kingdom® Park, Mad Tea Party has a refurbishment for most of May. Fountain View Ice Cream Shop in Epcot® is closed the entire month for its conversion to a Starbucks location. For more details and a list of all refurbishments, check our closings page.

Weather

Temperatures are on the rise in May, with an average high of 88, a low of 66 and medium rainfall chances. Here is the packing list for this time of year.

May Events

  • Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival runs daily through May 19. Among this year’s highlights are the brand-new garden marketplaces, which offer themed eats and drinks,  as well as an interactive play area and midway-style games based on the “Oz The Great and Powerful” film. See our highlights from this year’s event.
  • As part of its Limited Time Magic promotion, Disney’s Hollywood Studios® plays host to “May the 4th Be With You,” a one-of-a-kind “Star Wars”-themed celebration that will keep the park open until midnight.
  • Dolly Dolphin Viva La MusicaThe final weekend of SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa’s Viva La Musicawhich celebrates Latin music, cuisine and culture,  is held May 4 and 5 (Cinco de Mayo). See our highlights from this year’s event as well as the lineups.
  • May 3 and 4 mark this year’s Expedition Everest® Attraction Challenge. This timed endurance event pairs a 5K with a nighttime scavenger hunt through Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park. While the race is sold out, there are spots left for the kids races and pre-race picnic and post-race party.
  • Celebrate the Star Wars saga during Star Wars Weekends, which kick off May 17 and run through June 9 on Fridays and Saturdays at Disney’s Hollywood Studios®. Highlights include a Character Processional through the park, Star Wars character meet and greets, Disney Characters in Star Wars themed outfits, and autograph opportunities from Star Wars celebrities.
  • Internationally known animal expert Jack Hanna, along with some of his animal “co-stars,” pays a visit to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay on May 18 and 19 for Jack Hanna Weekend.
  • While not an official theme park event, Gay Days is a vacation extravaganza that takes place at one theme park per day May 30-June 2.

Will you be visiting in May? Let us know what you are planning!
– Leap

 

 


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12 Responses to “Planning for Disney World in May”

  1. Glenn Levin says:

    We are planning MK and HS on May 24 and 25. We have single park admission tix for each of those days. We have 2 adults and 2 young tweens (12 and 9). Star Wars is not super important to us, but is something we’d enjoy if we were there on Friday. However, with the 24 hour MK day on Friday, it has confused my plans. Should I stick with my original plan of MK on Thurs and HS on Friday, or switch it. Or…convert one of the single park tix to a park hopper and do MK on Thursday, and BOTH HS and MK on Friday. Although, I’m not so sure how late into the night we would stay, as we are planning both Universal parks for Sat and Sun. Ugh!!!! I’m so confused….too many options. Help!

    • FrogBlog says:

      Hi Glenn,

      You might have already seen my response on Facebook. The idea of 24 hours in Magic Kingdom is tempting, however, keep in mind that the park will be incredibly packed! On Leap Day last year when Magic Kingdom was open 24 hours, we received a wait-time submit of 80 minutes at 2 a.m. for Peter Pan’s Flight! Unless you just want to be part of the “All-Nighter” experience, you will most likely see fewer crowds keeping to your original plan.

      –Leap

  2. Jill says:

    We are visiting in May! Our group includes me, my husband, and our 3 kids (boy 2, girl 4, girl 7). We are flying in late on Sunday 5/19 and will be flying back on Saturday 5/25. We just booked our trip so we are really planning at the last minute but so far, so good!

    Our plan is to spend 2 days in the Magic Kingdom and the rest of the time swimming, shopping, and visiting local family. One of our park days will definitely be the Wednesday 5/22 (thanks to your crowd calendar!) and the other day will be Monday, Tuesday, or Thursday (now that we know to avoid Friday, again thanks to you!). The actual day will depend on whether we can get reservations at Cinderella’s Royal Table…of course everything is booked as of right now, but we are hoping to get lucky closer to that day.

    We will hit the ground running and follow your recommendation to see Belle and Ariel first. Truth be told, I was clueless about the new Fantasyland but consider myself amazingly lucky with our perfect timing, as these happen to be my children’s favorite princesses – yes, even my son! Maybe even more so than his sisters!

    • FrogBlog says:

      Hi Jill,

      Sounds like a great trip! Let us know if you get reservations for Cinderella’s Royal Table. A possible alternative for you since this is a hard one to get is Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Epcot, which includes the princesses.

      Have fun!
      – Leap

  3. maria says:

    Great tips! Any idea if MK is usually busy during Mother’s day wknd? that is when me and my family (husband and two small children under 7) are gonna go there for one day. Thanks!

    • FrogBlog says:

      Hi Maria,

      Our daily crowd level for all of the parks on Mother’s Day is 8 out of 10. Magic Kingdom has a neutral recommendation.

      Enjoy your Mother’s Day!
      – Leap

  4. Cheri says:

    We are visiting the end of May. One thing that is stressing me out — we have a BOG reservation on May 24th at 9:15 pm. We wanted to spend the day at either Animal Kingdom or Typhoon Lagoon and head to MK for the evening for our reservation. Do you think we will have trouble getting into MK with the 24 hour event going on? We would hate to miss out on our BOG reservation. Any tips are appreciated!
    Thanks!!
    Family of 4, kids are 9 and 11

    • FrogBlog says:

      Hi Cheri,

      I think you’re smart to be thinking ahead about this. If you have a dining reservation at Magic Kingdom, you will be allowed in, provided you have theme park admission of course! I would allow yourself ample time to get over to Be Our Guest as Magic Kingdom is expected to be very crowded.

      Have a great trip and let us know how it goes.

      Best,
      Leap

  5. Cheri says:

    Thank you Leap,

    We will give ourselves plenty of time, I’m assuming even parking will take a lot longer than usual as the crowds flow in for the night!! If there was a chance of not getting into the park we would head over in the early afternoon, however, since we can get in because of our reservation we prefer to spend a relatively more “calm” day elsewhere and head over to MK that evening without high expectations of doing more than have dinner and being a part of the crazy experience! We start our week this coming Saturday the 18th and the 24th is our last day there so should be memorable!!

    Appreciate all your tips and tools!
    Cheri

  6. Melanie Gardiner says:

    We are arriving Fri 2 adults 2 kids 4&6. Do you know if you get into MK before midnight if it will register any admission for Sat? We don’t have park hopper and am not sure we re doing MK Sat but don’t want to use it up by staying after midnight. Never been to Disney so I don’t understand when you use admission tickets. Thanks!

    • FrogBlog says:

      Hi Melanie,

      I am assuming you are talking about May 24. If you visit Magic Kingdom on Friday, it will count as one day’s ticket through 6 a.m. Saturday as part of the “All-Nighter.” The park will then close for three hours and reopen at 9 a.m., which would then count as another day’s ticket.

      Let me know if you have more questions!

      Best,
      –Leap

  7. Melanie Gardiner says:

    Thanks you answered my question perfectly!
    One more thing…is there a schedule of Star Wars events and times….mostly what time is he parade they hold. I. I cant find anything specific on WDW website. Thanks!

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