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People often ask us when’s the best time of day to visit the theme parks.

As we try to explain, the answer is a lot less straight forward than you might expect.
Most people tend to be looking for the quietest line waits, and we can definitely help with that to some degree, but working out how the theme park schedule works is vital if you don’t want to miss out on the Magical events and changes in atmosphere that theme parks provide over the course of the entire day.
We’ve tried to break this down into a few different areas that might interest you, such as the best times for quiet lines, people watching, unforgettable moments etc.

The best time of day for parades and shows
There’s no escaping this one!  Those parades and shows are scheduled during the day well in advance and there’s not much you can do about it if you are desperate to see your favorite theatre show or street parade.
While many websites including ours, provide the show times for major events, many of the smaller street performances are spread out over the day according to the particular park’s show times guide leaflet which is available once you  are inside the parks.
Guests that are totally intent on missing the busier times of day will often lose out on the great events of the day, including the beautiful Magic Kingdom’s Festival of Fantasy Parade.
If you think you won’t be interested in this, please think again, it is amazing!
With most of the general street performances starting from around 10:30am right through to 4pm, they do tend to overlap the busier times of the day.
Fireworks and light shows in the theme parks
Ok, so this is a little obvious, but it’s important to note that guests wanting to enjoy the fabulous fireworks at the Magic Kingdom and Epcot, or the Cinematics over at Universal Studios will need to plan their day around being inside the parks later on that day.
The reason that we’ve added this quite logical advice is to remind quests that getting inside the parks first thing in the morning to avoid the crowds can really backfire if all you have ever dreamed of is watching those beautiful fireworks over Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom (9pm).
Timing things for the atmosphere!
At the top of the page, one of our favorite images from inside the Magic Kingdom is of the entrance way to the Haunted Mansion.  Sure, it looks a lovely picture, but as the sun set below the tree line over Tom Sawyer’s Island and Big Thunder Mountain, the Haunted Mansion really took on a whole new ambience.
Regular guests will know, that the soft howls of wolves can be heard all day long around the area, but at dusk, the sounds from the hounds almost seem louder and much more noticeable as our senses instinctively become more alert at that time of day.
While this is a particular favorite spot of ours, the same principle applies to all areas of the parks.
Everything seems more exaggerated as the dusk sets in and the theme park lighting takes its turn to show the parks in literally ‘a new light’.
The fabulous lighting effects, moving attractions, spinning carousels and much more, make the world seem much more fun for adults and kids alike.
Don’t forget too, those days as a kid, when you were allowed to stop up a little later than usual.
Your kids will simply explode with energy as they enjoy the rare chance to stop up later and see this exciting new worked for the very first time at night!
TIP If you are planning a late evening visit, do get the kids an earlier night before if you can!
Finding the quiet times of the day to visit
Ok, so this is the bit that most people are looking for, but, please read the sections above again as we can’t emphasise the importance of enjoying the parks to the full.
If you are looking for the best days of the year to visit, check out our ‘Best time to go to Orlando‘ article.
When it comes to finding the quietest times of the day to visit the theme parks, these beautiful charts from Touringplans.com give a great insight into some really quiet times to visit the Orlando theme parks.
The general idea appears to be, get up and in the parks ready for early opening and the parks will be almost empty for at least the first two or three hours.
Even during the busiest holidays like Easter and Christmas, this simple advice can give you a golden opportunity to hit all of the most popular attractions without any fuss.
While others are still in bed or eating breakfast, you can be riding Big Thunder Mountain time and time again!
During busy season, by 11 am things are rapidly changing and the parks quickly fill up, leaving you with 60+ minute waits or more.
But take another look and see what happens most days at 5pm!  The parades are over, kids are getting tired and the parking lots begin to empty as guests pile out of the parks and call it a day.
This early evening time is always a good time to be in the parks and really suits guests that are enjoying a lie in, or have relaxed by the pool for a few hours.
Take a look at these amazing charts from the Touringplans.com/blog.
If you want some great planning information, this is the best site for busy day forecasts and line wait information.
They offer some free data and also a very good subscription service for guests that really love to know when to visit each park.
 
 
A forecast chart for April 2014 – Animal Kingdom
Best Time of Day April 2014
 
A forecast chart for Nov 2014 – Hollywood Studios
Best Time Nov 2014
A forecast chart for Dec 2014 – Magic Kingdom
Best Time Dec 2014
For further information please contact Touringplans.com