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Today we are making a few changes to our Park Recommendations algorithm for the Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar. When we choose the “best parks” and “parks to avoid,” we try to balance low wait times with optimal touring conditions — which can be a tricky balance (read more about touring conditions).
What does this mean for my WDW dates?
Few recommendations have changed, but if they have, the new park recommendations should result in lower waits and equally optimal touring conditions. Our park recommendations are now better than ever.
The changes are subtle but they represent a shifting of the balance in favor of low wait times. We won’t be so quick to punish parks hosting Extra Magic Hour mornings and days at the Magic Kingdom with an evening Party. We have the most thorough database of Walt Disney World wait times anywhere, let’s use them! We did some research on the subject before implementing these tweaks, here’s what we learned.
- For most families, experiencing the lowest wait times possible is the number one priority, even if park hours are shortened.
- Sacrificing a little in optimal touring conditions can mean big gains in lower wait times. Anyone who has been to the Magic Kingdom on the morning of a Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party can attest to that.
- By implementing these tweaks, in the long run the average crowd level for each “best park” recommendation is a little lower, and the average crowd level for each “park to avoid” recommendation is a little higher (which keeps the statisticians happy).
Wait! Tell me more!
If you are interested and have a few minutes, you may want to know what specifically is changing:
The OLD Formula:
- Avoid a park if it has Extra Magic Hour morning.
- Avoid a park if it is hosting a special event.
- Avoid the Magic Kingdom on Holidays
- If the crowd level is lower than the 7-day average then recommend the park.
- Some special cases:
- On a given day, if there is no recommended park then recommend the park with the lowest crowd level.
- On a given day, if there is no park to avoid then avoid the park with the highest crowd level.
- If there is a 7-day stretch where a park is not recommended then recommend it on the day with the lowest crowd level during that 7-day stretch (aka the 7-Day Rule)
The NEW Formula:
- A park cannot be a BEST park if it has Extra Magic Hour morning.
- A park cannot be a BEST park if it is hosting a special event (Magic Kingdom Parties excluded).
- Whichever park has the lowest per-park crowd level on a given day is the BEST park.
- Whichever park has the highest per-park crowd level on a given day is the park to AVOID.
- If there is a 7-day stretch where a park is not recommended then recommend it on the day with the lowest crowd level during that 7-day stretch (aka the 7-Day Rule).