Our resort-wide predictions were too low last week although when we missed it tended to be only at one park. We were within one or two index points for 25 of our 28 park level predictions last week and for the other three we missed twice by three index points and once by four. Our resort wide chart below clearly shows however that wait times were higher than expected. When we look at attraction level wait times we see something interesting. The majority of the time when we underpredict it is with an attraction that we would consider secondary, not the headliners. For example, we were virtually bang-on at Peter Pan’s Flight and Space Mountain but missed at Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean. This may relate to Fastpass+ integration, something that we have discovered before and continue to spend time examining, watch for more blog articles about that.
In the meantime, let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up day-to-day last week.
|February 23, 2014 to March 1, 2014|
Sunday’s resort-wide crowd level ‘3’ was the only resort-wide prediction that was spot on for the week. All parks had below average crowds including Magic Kingdom which peaked at a level ‘4’. Epcot and Animal Kingdom were one level lower at ‘3’ while The Studios came in as the lowest crowd level at ‘2’.
Epcot surprised us the most on Monday with a crowd level ‘5’, three levels higher than we predicted. Wait times were not drastically high though. In fact, Test Track’s average posted time was 46 minutes, 5 minutes lower than expected. Soarin’ had an average posted time of 61 minutes, 9 minutes higher than expected. The other three parks were all one or two levels higher than we predicted although none peaked higher than a level ‘5’. In fact, the Studios and Animal Kingdom had low crowds, both a level ‘3’ on our scale.
On Tuesday, it was Magic Kingdom that surprised us. We saw average posted times of 25 minutes at Haunted Mansion (predicted 11), 39 at Jungle Cruise (predicted 12), 24 at Pirates of the Caribbean (predicted 16) and 44 minutes at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (predicted 30). This may be more evidence that Fastpass+ is causing increased standby times at secondary attractions while lowering standby times at headliners. Space Mountain was only 8 minutes higher than expected and our prediction for Peter Pan’s Flight was spot on. All this translates to a crowd level ‘6’, we predicted ‘2’. Strangely, crowds were low as expected at all three other parks, including a crowd level ‘1’ at The Studios.
Our prediction for a level ‘3’ at Magic Kingdom on Wednesday was accurate and all other predictions were within one level. No park had a crowd level higher than ‘3’ making each park a good choice on Wednesday.
We had predicted a resort-wide level ‘1’ on Thursday and although that turned out to be 2 index levels too low, our predictions for each park were all within one. Magic Kingdom was a ‘4’ (predicted ‘3’), Epcot a ‘3’ (predicted ‘2’), The Studios a ‘2’ (predicted ‘1’) and Animal Kingdom a ‘2’ (predicted ‘1’). A difference of one index level indicates a difference of less than 5 minutes for the average posted time at the attractions, well within our comfort level.
Magic Kingdom surprised us again on Friday but this time we underpredicted by three index levels. We had predicted a level ‘4’ but observed a level ‘7’ thanks to higher than expected wait times at Pirates of the Caribbean (36 minutes, predicted 17) and Jungle Cruise (48 minutes, predicted 17). Once again wait times at Peter Pan’s Flight and Space Mountain matched what was expected although park-wide, wait times were higher on average. Epcot came in at a level ‘4’ (predicted ‘3’), The Studios a ‘3’ (predicted ‘1’) and Animal Kingdom a ‘4’ (predicted ‘3’).
Our prediction of a crowd level ‘6’ at Magic Kingdom on Saturday was bang on although resort-wide our wait time predictions were low. Although all of our park level predictions were within one or two, our resort-wide number missed by three. This is possible due to the way we calculate the index but it is a quirk that may not properly reflect the accuracy of our resort-wide number. Animal Kingdom was the most crowded park at a level ‘7’ while The Studios came in at ‘5’ and Epcot a ‘4’.
|March 2 to 8, 2014|
Crowds next week will start to climb to above average levels thanks to the start of spring break for some school districts. In fact, crowds over the next several weeks will ebb and flow in parallel with the percentage of schools that are in session. Touring plans are essential this time of year as crowds tend to be more unpredictable.
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.