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There are some basic rules that govern which visitor characters will visit the deserted island on any given day. Most visiting characters must be unlocked in some way before they will visit. The weekly visitation schedule begins on Monday of each week, and all characters except Pascal will visit only once per week. The visitor schedule rules (updated as of version 1.3.0) are as follows:
- Guaranteed Visitors
These visitors are guaranteed to visit every week on the weekend.
- Daisy Mae is unlocked after constructing Nook's Cranny and will visit every Sunday morning from 5AM to 12PM.
- K.K. Slider is unlocked after achieving a 3-star island evaluation for the first time, and will visit every Saturday (or Sunday if an event that requires use of the Resident Services plaza is scheduled for Saturday) from 5AM to 12AM.
- Weekday Visitors
These visitors are semi-randomly selected to visit on Monday through Friday. Visitors are prioritized as follows:
- Visitors who did not appear in the previous week.
- Visitors who appeared in the previous week.
- If there are any unfilled days in the schedule (can occur during the early phases of the game), Wisp is selected to fill them.
The random weekday visitors are:
- Saharah is technically unlocked from the start of the game, but will not appear even if she is selected that day unless the player has upgraded their tent to a house. She is present from 5AM to 5AM.
- Leif is unlocked from the start of the game, and is guaranteed to visit at least once during weeks when Nature Day is ongoing. He is present from 5AM to 10PM.
- Kicks is unlocked after constructing Able Sisters, and is present from 5AM to 10PM.
- Label is unlocked after constructing Able Sisters, and is present from 5AM to 10PM.
- Gulliver is unlocked after constructing the museum, and is present from 5AM to 5AM.
- Redd is unlocked after donating at least 60 items to the museum and then speaking to Blathers about art, and is present from 5AM to 5AM.
- C.J. is unlocked after upgrading Resident Services, and is present from 5AM to 5AM.
- Flick is unlocked after upgrading Resident Services, and is present from 5AM to 5AM.
- Gullivarrr is unlocked after purchasing any Wet Suit for the first time, and is present from 5AM to 5AM.
- Evening Visitors
These visitors only appear at night, up to once per week, and can visit at the same time as most of the other visitors or each other.
- Wisp is unlocked from the start of the game, and has a chance of appearing on a random day from Monday to Friday if all weekday visitor slots are full. He is present from 8PM to 4AM.
- Celeste is unlocked after constructing the museum. She is guaranteed to visit any day from Monday to Sunday if a meteor shower is occurring (she will prioritize visiting during heavy meteor showers over light meteor showers if both will occur that week) and K.K. Slider is not visiting on the same day. She is present from 7PM to 4AM.
- Visitors with Unique Schedules
These visitors appear based on unique conditions.
- Mabel is unlocked after constructing Nook's Cranny, and can visit multiple days each week, including weekends; she will cease visiting after constructing Able Sisters.
- Harvey is unlocked after the island's third villager moves in, but only visits once to explain that Harv's Island is now open.
- Pascal will appear when the player catches their first scallop of the day while diving; he can appear up to once per day, seven days a week.
- Luna will appear in the player's dream state if they lie down in a bed and select the option "Yeah, I want to sleep." She will take the player to a designated island based on a specific code per user.