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If you are in the Studios this week (October 1-7, 2010) you may have noticed that crowds are a lot heavier than expected. Our model failed to catch this and we’re very sorry for those of you that showed up at the Studios expecting low crowds. Hopefully, the touring plans worked their magic and the major bottlenecks were avoided.
Based on historical wait times, this week should have been some of the lowest crowds of the year. After combing through wait times submitted through Lines we see that wait times were closer to an average day at the Studios and in some cases more than that.
Here’s how it all breaks down.
|Date||Walt Disney World
|Walt Disney World
|October 1, 2010||1||1||0.7||3.9|
|October 2, 2010||4||4||0.7||1.4|
|October 3, 2010||1||4||8.3||9.0|
|October 4, 2010||2||4||0.9||1.9|
|October 5, 2010||2||3||0.5||4.0|
|October 6, 2010||3||6||0.2||5.2|
Our estimates for per park crowd levels are subject to an error of +/- 1 on average so it is not surprising to see estimates that are off by as much as 3 index points (this should happen about 5% of the time). What is concerning is that all of our estimates were under-estimates. For some reason, wait times at the Studios during this period were higher than history would suggest.
Even though some of the estimates were too low, when you look at the last 365 days at the Studios, the wait times were about average for that park. Any time you can tour a theme park with crowd levels less than 6, you will be ahead of the game, especially when following a good touring plan.
The Story of Toy Story Mania
One attraction that was busier than expected at the Studios is the Fastpass booth for Toy Story Mania. On a crowd level day of 5 we’ll see a Fastpass distribution rate of about 3:1. This means that for every minute that ticks by on the clock, the Fastpass return window increases by 3 minutes. On the busiest days of the year, that distribution rate will increase to about 6.5:1.
On October 6, 2010 the Fastpass Distribution rate for Toy Story Mania was 6.13:1. This is one of the fastest distribution rates that we’ve seen, putting it in the top ten. This is especially strange for October which in all other areas is a pretty slow time of year. If you were in the Studios this week and have an idea why the crowds were busier than usual, or if you have an idea why the Fastpass Booth for Toy Story Mania was busier than usual, let us know.
Interestingly, the standby times for Toy Story Mania were as expected, peaking between 90 and 110 minutes on non-Fantasmic days.
What can we learn from this?
We will keep sifting though the data and see of we can find a reason. Hopefully, we can find an explanation that makes sense and tweak our models so that we will see this coming in the future. If you have the inside scoop as to why we’re seeing the increased crowds, let us know.