Presidents’ Week began with near peak crowds on Sunday and then slowly tapered off the rest of the week, exactly as predicted by the crowd calendar. Our park-level predictions performed well with the majority hitting the mark or missing by only one or two levels.
Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up day-to-day last week.
|February 16, 2014 to February 22, 2014|
Sunday’s crowds brought the peak wait times of Presidents’ Week, as predicted. All parks had a crowd level ‘9’ except for Magic Kingdom which came in at a level ‘8’. At the Animal Kingdom three attractions, Dinosaur, Kilimanjaro Safaris and Primeval Whirl reached a ’10’ on their respective attraction-level scales thanks to respective average posted times of 40, 64 and 30 minutes.
As is the case with many Monday holidays, the crowds on the holiday itself did not reach the same level as the Sunday before. Instead of ‘8’s and ‘9’s Presidents’ Day brought mostly ‘7’s with one ‘8’ at the Animal Kingdom. Our predictions were accurate again on Monday with none missing by more than 2 index points. Epcot was the only park that fell short of our prediction. We said ‘9’ but it ended up reaching only a ‘7’, thanks to lower than expected wait times at Test Track (82 minutes, predicted 105) and Soarin’ (98 minutes, predicted 141).
Predictions did well again on Tuesday with Magic Kingdom, The Studios and Animal Kingdom all reaching levels within one of what we predicted. Epcot was the only exception where crowds came in much lower than expected. We predicted a ‘7’ but in fact the wait times translated to a ‘4’. Only Spaceship Earth had wait times that came in higher than expected (21 minutes vs 15 predicted) while other attractions were less crowded than expected.
Crowds continued to fade further on Wednesday with a resort-wide crowd level of ‘6’ on our scale. Park levels were as high as ‘7’ at Magic Kingdom to a low of ‘4’ at The Studios. In all cases, our predictions were within one index level. Mission: Space was the only attraction resort-wide that had surprising wait times. We expected it to have an average posted time of 10 minutes but in fact it was much higher at 30 minutes. The rest of the park was clearly more moderate than that which validates our method of excluding the highest and lowest averages in our park-wide numbers. Also, it reminds us to rely on Lines, the mobile app whenever possible. You never know when any one attraction may have a surprising wait time.
The trend continues on Thursday although the drop in crowds was not quite as significant as predicted. Still, Thursday’s resort-wide level (6) was only low by one level (predicted 5). We missed Animal Kingdom by two levels (‘6’, predicted ‘4’) thanks to higher than expected wait times at Dinosaur (23 minutes) and Kali River Rapids (37 minutes). Extra Magic Hour morning at Magic Kingdom brought a crowd level ‘6’ as predicted although Jungle Cruise had an average posted time almost as high Peter Pan’s Flight – there aren’t many days when one can say that.
Friday’s numbers took another step down from Thursday’s with a resort-wide ‘5’. Epcot and Animal Kingdom were ‘4’s while The Studios was a little higher at ‘5’ and Magic Kingdom a little higher still, at ‘6’. Jungle Cruise continued its popularity on Friday with a surprising average posted time of 40 minutes. By contrast from Wednesday, the average posted time for Mission: Space on Friday was 7 minutes, much more in line with historical averages.
Saturday’s crowd level stabled somewhat with all parks between a ‘4’ and a ‘6’ on our scale. The Princess Half Marathon is the event of the weekend which brings in several thousand runners but doesn’t increase the wait time in the parks. Only the Magic Kingdom reached higher than a ‘5’. The effect of running events on the resort is limited to traffic delays and crowded hotels. Once you maneuver around the hotels and roads, you will find manageable crowds in the parks.
|February 23 to 29, 2014|
Now that Presidents’ Week has passed we should be free of holiday sized crowds until the first of the Spring Break weeks arrive. Spring Break is a difficult season to predict because every school district chooses its week independently. We collect the school schedules for the 50 largest school districts in the U.S. and use them in our statistical models. As it turns out, they are essential to our accuracy this time of year. Many of you may find that your children’s spring break falls on a week that doesn’t have a high crowd level on our calendar. Count yourself lucky. Even if a few thousand students are off, it takes several tens of thousands before we see a real bump in attendance.
To see Walt Disney World Crowd predictions for the days of your vacation, check the Crowd Calendar.
To get details about our predictions of future crowds or details about crowds in the past check out the Crowd Calendar and select “Jump to Date” on the left margin.