Many of our readers are asking about how the state of the economy is affecting crowds and our prediction of crowd levels. We take all the information available to us when we predict the crowd levels on our calendar. Our predictions include the expected continuation of the downturn in the economy as well the many other factors that we measure in an ongoing way. If our data tells us that something is changing then we reflect that in our numbers.
When it comes to the effect of the economy is having on Disney crowds the answer it not exactly clear. We have seen recent indications that guest numbers are down for this past December and in early January, 2009. That doesn’t mean that Easter weekend is going to be less crowded than normal. Our historical data shows that when a downturn in the economy occurs the number of people visiting the parks goes down but the overall wait times in the park do not change that much. This is because Disney makes their own adjustments to staff and schedules which can offset the lower number of guests. The salient point is that the index is meant to be a comparative tool. Use it to judge between the estimated crowds of two time periods.