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Note: This is a trial blog post intended to summarize our predictions of crowds in Walt Disney World yesterday, and how the crowds actually looked. Let us know in the comments if this sort of thing is useful, and if there’s anything else you’d like to see.
Thanks to everyone who posted feedback on yesterday’s initial post about crowd levels in the parks. Based on that feedback, I’ll keep this post a little shorter and include a couple of character greeting lines, as well as a couple of photos.
For all graphs, the blue line represents our prediction of Disney’s posted wait times outside each attraction. The green line represents our estimate of your actual wait in line. The red dots are actual posted wait times, from that attraction, submitted by TouringPlans staff and Lines users.
We had Disney’s Hollywood Studios rated as a park to avoid on Thursday. On the theory that you should confront every morning something you’ve been avoiding, let’s start at the Studios and take a look at the crowds yesterday. Here’s Toy Story Mania:
Yeah, that’s a posted wait of 110 minutes. On a Thursday. When school is in session. However, Toy Story Mania was shut down for two hours in the middle of the day Thursday, from around 12:45 pm to around 2:45 pm, and that certainly affected waits later in the day; my guess is that people who had FASTPASSes and had run out of other things to ride by mid-afternoon were likely just waiting on their Toy Story ride before calling it a day at the Studios.
By the way, the explanation Disney provided for the TSM outage was that Andy was home, so the toys couldn’t play:
(Thanks to our researcher Shane for the photo.) Other than the ride breakdown, TSM looked to be a little lower than we predicted. When a ride breaks down, it’s always difficult to judge how busy a popular ride was, especially when FASTPASS is involved.
Here’s Tower of Terror:
Tower of Terror also went offline briefly around 7:30 pm, and that may be the cause of the spike in posted wait times at 7:30.
See the three dots above the blue line at noon, followed by the sharp drop and two dots below the green line at 1 pm? This kind of thing is suspicious, because it’s an indication that Disney’s posted wait times may be obviously wrong. Here’s why:
Tower of Terror’s posted wait at 12:44 pm was 50 minutes. Doing the math, that means that if you got in line at 12:44 pm, you’d be on the ride at 1:34 pm.
However, people who got in line 9 minutes later, at 12:53 pm, only had a wait of 20 minutes. That means they got on the ride at 1:13 pm, or a full 21 minutes before the people who got in line earlier.
Now, Tower of Terror is an attraction with variable capacity. It has two drop shafts, and (if I understand the ride mechanics) a total of four ride vehicles can be operating at any given time. It’s possible that only 1 or 2 ride vehicles were operating at noon, and Disney suddenly increased the capacity to the attraction’s maximum of 4.
Another possibility is that Disney the posted wait times were just estimated too high. For what it’s worth we had an actual wait reported of 18 minutes at 2:15 pm.
On to Rock ‘n Roller Coaster:
Pretty much what we expected, give or take a few minutes. No ride breakdowns reported at RnRC yesterday, so the magic duct tape must have held up better there than other attractions.
Star Tours’ lines also were in line with what we predicted. We won’t be freezing the stats guys in carbonite, I suppose:
We had actual waits of 1 minute and 2 minutes reported at Star Tours between 10:45 am and 11 am yesterday. I expect those to increase as we get into Star Wars Weekends next week. Incidentally, if you’re interested in Star Wars Weekends, our friends over at StudiosCentral.com have a great overview of all of those activities. Here’s the link.
Great Movie Ride was what we expected as well:
The Backlot Tour’s wait times were higher than we expected, but let’s take a closer look at those:
Our fabulous Lines users submitted posted waits of 30 minutes at 11:49 am, and 15 minutes at 12:13 pm. While that’s technically possible, it makes me think the 30-minute posted wait was wrong. If it was true, then Disney would have had to adjust the posted wait down twice – a total of 15 minutes – within 20 minutes to reflect what was actually going on in a rapidly shortening queue. Call me a pessimist, but I don’t think that happened. Still, the overall posted waits show that the Studios was pretty busy.
Before we leave the Studios, let’s give a shout out to some of the best character performers in all of Walt Disney World: the Studios’ Streetmosphere actors. Here’s Myna Talent touring the parks as God intended: with a feathered hat and a martini:
The white gloves are a nice touch. Thanks again to Shane for the photo.
Let’s head over to Epcot, the park we recommended as the best to visit on Thursday. Here’s the waits for Soarin’:
The waits looked to be a little lower than we estimated. I’m glad that happened on a day we said Epcot would be slow.
Here’s Living with the Land:
Pretty much what we said it would be. Remind me to give the stats guys an audioanimatronic chicken as their next bonus.
Here’s The Seas with Nemo and Friends, everyone’s favorite attraction based on a directionally-challenged clownfish:
Again, the lines looked pretty much like we said they would.
As far as character greetings go, Epcot has the Character Spot. We got a grand total of one wait time for it yesterday, and it was in line with our estimates:
Spaceship Earth was pretty slow all day. Lines users reported actual waits of 0 minutes at 3:45 pm and 7:45 pm. Those late afternoon times are generally when we recommend visiting SSE. Here’s the graph:
And, finally, Mission: Space:
Those short waits in line should not be construed as a reflection on Gary Sinese’s acting ability in the pre-show film.
Let’s check Maelstrom before heading over to the Animal Kingdom. Here’s what the waits looked like at Maelstrom yesterday:
There’s only one explanation for the higher-than-expected wait times around 2 pm: Norway put its most attractive Castmembers at the ride entrance in order to lure guests on to the boats. Curse you, Scandinavian sirens, for messing with our wait time models!
On to the Animal Kingdom, which we had listed as a neutral park – neither the best nor the worst. Remember that the blue line represents our prediction of Disney’s posted wait times outside each attraction. The green line represents our estimate of your actual wait in line. The red dots are actual posted wait times, from that attraction, submitted by TouringPlans staff and Lines users.
Here’s the wait times in line at Expedition Everest:
That jump in posted waits, from 5 minutes at 10:16 am to 25 minutes at 10:45 am, makes me think the posted wait sign wasn’t being updated as often as it should have been. I mean, it’s possible that our model was wrong, and that there was a sudden influx of an extra 500 people, beyond the regular crowd we expected, in those 30 minutes. Maybe a tour group. We’ll keep an eye on Everest’s wait times for the next few days to see.
Here’s Kali River Rapids, also in Asia:
Our model’s prediction of the waits was better than yesterday, but still lower than we wanted at 1 pm. The stats guys are looking at this.
On to Dinoland USA. Here’s Dinosaur:
Looks pretty good. We didn’t have any wait times submitted for TriceraTop Spin, but here’s Primeval Whirl:
Also looks pretty good. One last stop, at Kilimanjaro Safaris, before we end the day at the Magic Kingdom. Here’s what the Safaris looked like yesterday:
Wow – those are some extraordinarily high wait times between noon and 1 pm, and some seriously low waits at 5 pm. The next time we have staff in the park and this happens, I’ll ask them to hop on the Safari to see what the actual wait is. It just seems a little odd that so many people would wait 80 minutes for the Safari at 1 pm, when the wait at Everest was 30 or less. You’d think some of those folks would have balked at 80 minutes and taken the short walk to Asia. Like I said, we’ll put someone on the ride to see what’s really going on.
Moving on to the Magic Kingdom, a park we had listed as neutral. Here’s the wait for Mickey Mouse’s autograph on Main Street:
Pretty close to what we expected, around a 15-minute wait most of the day. Mickey’s not as in demand as the Princesses, and here’s their wait time info from yesterday:
The posted waits seem to be +/- 15 minutes from our estimates. We didn’t get any actual wait times for the princess meets. We’ll keep an eye on this over the next few days.
To keep this blog post short(er), I’ll hit the highlights of the Magic Kingdom. Here’s Space Mountain:
As noted yesterday, I think we’re underpredicting Space’s wait a little bit in the morning. The stats guys are looking at that.
Here’s Buzz Lightyear, which was in line with our predictions:
Our predictions for Dumbo looked good …
… as did Peter Pan …
… and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh:
Over in Liberty Square, Haunted Mansion had an unexpectedly high wait time in the early evening:
I wonder if that was some playful spooks having fun with the wait-time sign, because the rest of the day looked pretty slow.
Here’s what was going on at Splash Mountain over in Frontierland:
Definitely higher than expected in the morning. That’s unusual because the opposite happened yesterday, when waits were lower than we expected. I still think weather plays a part in this queue’s waits in the morning. We’ll keep an eye on it. Oh, and Splash went offline for at least an hour yesterday afternoon.
Moving on to Adventureland, here’s the lines data for Jungle Cruise:
I’ve got to say that I’m still a little surprised at a 20-minute posted wait before 10 am. I’ll ask the team to ride it a few times to see what the actual waits are. Oh, and we had a report of a 4-minute actual wait at 9 pm. If you’ve not been on Jungle Cruise at night, try it – I think it’s a better ride after dark.
Wait times at Magic Carpets of Aladdin were in line with predictions:
Finally, we didn’t receive wait times during the day for Pirates of the Caribbean. Pirates was reported offline on Thursday evening between 8:30 and 10 pm, and we got wait times reported right before it was closed, and during the closure. It doesn’t make for a pretty picture (either literally or figuratively), so not worth a graph.
That wraps up yesterday in the parks. Let me know what you’d like to see in these posts going forward. Thanks for reading!