Several readers have asked us questions about how to interpret the per park crowd levels that we recently added to our crowd calendar. Although we use the same methods to produce the numbers there are some differences that we want to spell out.
The per park crowd levels are an absolute ranking of the wait times for that park. We only take wait times into consideration for per park levels. The park recommendations are based on touring conditions. A “Best Park” is one which has the best touring conditions for that day, a “Park to Avoid” is one where the touring conditions are more restrictive. For “touring conditions” we take into account wait times, special events, extra magic hours and other factors that affect touring.
It gets confusing when the per park crowd is low but a park is listed as the park to avoid. How can that be?
Actually, this is telling us something interesting about wait times. It means that on some days where touring conditions are not ideal (Extra Magic Hour Mornings, Special Events, etc.) the wait times are not that bad.
OK, now I’m really confused. When the per park crowd level and park recommendations don’t agree, how do I decide what to do?
Well, you have to determine how the touring conditions affect what you want to do. Here are some examples of when to use the per park crowd levels and when the park recommendations are better.
Use the Per Park Levels if …
- you are taking advantage of Extra Magic Hours
- you don’t mind that the park closes early
- you are not concerned about sticking to a touring plan
- the most important thing is low wait times
Use the Park Recommendations if…
- you are not taking advantage of Extra Magic Hours
- you want regular park hours
- you want to complete a touring plan
- the most important thing is optimal touring conditions
Keep using the Crowd Calendar as a tool to help you decide what schedule makes the most sense for you. Stay tuned for further features that will allow you to customize the calendar to fit your vacation.