We booked a holiday for the week starting 20/6/11 based on the predicted crowd calendar crowd levels of between 2 and 3 at the Disneyland park. There has now been a huge jump so that that week has upper 4 and 5 levels. Can you tell me why this has suddenly changed one week out? Is there something I should know and plan for?
We record wait times and track crowds every day at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Every few days or so, we have information in the form of new park hours, up-to-date wait time data or improvements to our attraction models. Whenever these minor changes affect our estimates of crowds, we update the calendar. The question is, what should you do with it?
First of all, let’s be clear that a jump of 2 index points (in this case a 2 to a 4 or a 3 to a 5) represents a jump in the average wait time of about 6 minutes, on average. Not a huge increase by any standard. An average day at a Disney theme park will be between a 3 and an 8. Why such a large range? Well it has to do with the distribution of crowds. Think of it like measuring the height of a large group of people. The seven dwarfs will be the 1s and 2s while the L.A. Lakers will be the 9s and 10s but almost everyone else will fit in the middle. Our crowd calendar is meant to give you a comparative rank of all days irrespective of the size of that difference. So we’re saying that even though the 5-foot 1-inch man only has an inch over the 5-footer, it is enough to get a full point higher in the ranking.
The point is, it is important to remember that although the crowd level for your travel dates may change, if it still in the range of 3 to 8, the difference may not be as great as you think.