Crowd Blog

Hurricane Irma Bounceback Effect May Be Increasing Wait Times At Disney World

by on September 25, 2017

For the second year in a row a hurricane interrupted operations at Walt Disney World. Last year, Hurricane Matthew forced the closure of Disney Parks in early October, after which we saw a slight bump in attendance when guests returned. This year, the bounceback as guests return after Hurricane Irma may be more significant.

Crowds are up since Disney World re-opened after Hurricane Irma

In the 90 days leading up to the arrival of Hurricane Irma the Disney World Crowd Calendar correctly predicted the crowd level at Walt Disney World within 1 index point most days. Occasionally, the crowds would come in at a 2 point difference. Last week we saw a three-day stretch between Monday and Wednesday when the parks were two points higher than predicted each day. This could be an indicator that something is different. It may be that most visitors affected by Irma chose to rebook their vacations immediately after the storm passed.

Or, this may be a random fluctuation in crowd patterns. On Saturday (and Sunday) we noticed that the crowd levels were within the normal range for this time of year.

Regardless, we wanted to share what we have seen so far and let you know that we are monitoring the crowds daily and will announce if we decide to make any further adjustments to the crowd levels going forward.

Question: Were your travel plans affected by Hurricane Irma? 

 

Expected Impact Of Irma On Crowds At Walt Disney World

by on September 12, 2017

The Disney World Crowd Calendar will be updated Tuesday evening to reflect the expected impact of Hurricane Irma. In early October 2016, Disney World Parks closed as Hurricane Mathew passed over Florida, and we saw a bump in crowd levels for about two weeks after the parks reopened. We expect a similar impact this year as guests return to Disney World after Hurricane Irma.

Early September is the least busy time of the year at Disney World, so even if every guest decided to delay their trip by a week, the impact would not be as significant as a storm that occurred in mid-October. However, Irma had a widespread and sweeping effect on Florida and surrounding states on a scale not seen before.

In addition, we are hearing that Disney Parks and Resorts will announce another round of layoffs sometime before Disney’s fiscal new year turns over on October 1. In 2015 and 2016 these layoffs had a surprisingly direct effect on wait times: they went up by 10 to 15%. We don’t know much about this round of layoffs or whether they will have a similar impact on operations at the attractions.

Bottom Line: Irma and layoffs mean that the Disney World Crowd Calendar index may see a one or two point jump on many days between now and mid-October.

 

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Update: The Crowd Calendar has now been updated (September 13).

Florida Crowd Updates – Coming Soon

by on September 11, 2017

Quick post to let you know we’re currently updating our crowd predictions following Hurricane Irma. We’ll expect some changes as people cancel and reschedule trips.

Please stand by and look for the first updates within 24 hours.

 

 

Disneyland Wait Times Lower Than Expected Since New Fantasmic!

by on August 18, 2017

Recently we updated projected crowd levels for Disneyland Park in response to the re-opening of Fantasmic! on July 17. Although the new show is drawing plenty of visitors we have not seen an increase in wait times around the park. So, today we are posting a new update for now until Labor Day based on the latest wait times collected.

Annual Passholders who own a pass with blockout dates will have their first opportunity to see the new Fantasmic! on August 21. We expect the park to busy (especially Frontierland in the afternoon) between August 21 and 25 but we don’t expect a large increase in wait times at the attractions.

Very hot weather is contributing to lower than expected crowds as well. We have seen most days at two or three points lower than expected since mid-July. So, from now until September 4 you will see a drop in crowd level for many days.

 

School Schedules and Crowd Levels

by on August 14, 2017

Ed. Note: We frequently get questions to TouringPlans asking how we make crowd predictions. This article provides insight into one of the metrics used when formulating predictions about park attendance.

It comes as no surprise that many families with school-age children take Disney vacations, and most prefer to take their children on vacations when school isn’t in session. To account for these attendance patterns, we track over 100 public school districts. This includes the 100 largest school districts in the country, the largest school districts in each state, and school districts that are close to Walt Disney World and Disneyland. This covers 12 million students. That is more than 20% of all students enrolled in public education. TouringPlans spends a lot of time collecting the school schedules each fall and summer. We put in the effort because school schedules are one of the best indicators for predicting crowd levels. Collecting more school schedules has diminishing returns, however. We would have to collect 100 more school districts’ calendars to cover 5% more of the public school students.

National Center for Education Statistics
CCD public school district data 2014-2015, 2015-2016 school years
http://nces.ed.gov/ccd

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How to Pick the Best Park for Each Day of Your Walt Disney World Trip

by on August 7, 2017

Families often ask us to help pick the best park to visit for each day of their Walt Disney World vacation. In fact, it’s one of the reasons why we created our Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar.

When we answer those questions, the first thing we try to figure out is what “best” means for this family, on this trip. To do that, we ask questions about when the family is going, how long they’re staying, how many times they want to visit each park, and so on.  Once we know that, we can narrow down the list of choices and start talking about the pros and cons of each possibility.

Below is the process we use to pick the best theme park to visit on any day of a trip to Walt Disney World. It’s easy to extend this process to include days off, visits to water parks, or other theme parks. Let us know in the comments below if your family considers other things when visiting a park, or if you’d like to see another example with water parks and more.

When Are You Going?

The first step is to look at the Crowd Calendar for the entirety of your trip. For an example, let’s assume I have an upcoming trip for October 1-7, 2017.

October 1-7, 2017, Crowd Calendar

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Disneyland Preview — Week of August 5

by on August 4, 2017

Happy Friday!  Yet another good-looking summer week at Disneyland is upon us!  Read on for more details in this week’s Disneyland preview!

Special Events and Notes

Disneyland Monorail

Photo: Disney

As the summer winds down, Disney is ratcheting back its special events, so there’s not that much to report for the upcoming week.  With that said, for those of you that are staying at Disney hotels, Disney is running a special promotion where Disney’s California Adventure will stay open one hour later to give you more time to ride Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout.  Think of it as an attraction-specific evening Extra Magic Hour, which happens on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Is this going to save you a ton of time? Not really, primarily because there will be plenty of people in line by the time of regular park closing hours to ensure a healthy wait for this very popular attraction. With that said, particularly if you’re showing up to experience the attraction towards the end of the extra time, you can expect to have fewer people to compete against, and therefore a relatively shorter wait.

Also, the Summer of Heroes continues at Disney’s California Adventure. As always, you should read Derek Burgan’s write-up on the event if you’ve not been before to get the most out of it.

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Disneyland Preview — Week of July 22

by on July 21, 2017

Hey folks, it’s once again time for this week’s Disneyland Preview, so you’ll know what you’re in store for when you head to the parks! Without further ado, let’s jump right in!

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Disneyland Crowd Calendar Updates For August 2017 and Beyond

by on July 19, 2017

Fantasmic! is back at Disneyland Park after a year-long hiatus. Early reaction to the new features of this popular show are positive so we expect crowds to increase at Disneyland for the rest of the summer. In particular, when summer blockout dates end in August we expect a large influx of annual passholders wishing to check out the new show. So, a new update to the Disneyland Crowd Calendar is in order.

Southern California (and Southern California Select) passholders will have their first chance to see the new Fantasmic! show on August 21. The Disneyland Crowd Calendar expects crowds to be elevated at Disneyland Park between August 21 and Labor Day on September 4. Most passholders who want to see the new show will have done so by then. Crowd levels have increased for those days by as much as 6 index points. Disney California Adventure crowd levels remain unchanged.

If you have a trip planned for late August, don’t panic. Although this update represents a large increase in crowd levels on some days we believe the crowds will be mostly afternoon visitors coming in specifically to see the new show. So, if you arrive early and follow a touring plan you should be fine. It is also likely that the increased crowds will be mostly focused in Frontierland, where the show takes place.

There are very few updates to the Disneyland Crowd Calendar beyond August and almost no major changes. You will see some days change by a point or two but nothing more than that. Most days remain unchanged.

 

Universal Orlando Resort Preview – Week of July 15th

by on July 13, 2017

The Universal Orlando Preview is brought to you by Storybook Destinations. Storybook Destinations specializes in Disney and Universal travel, is consistently highly rated by our readers, and is owned by our own blogger extraordinaire, Tammy Whiting. Storybook also offers free subscriptions to TouringPlans to clients with qualified bookings.

So you want to go to Universal Orlando, you say?

This week, you say?

Well you’re in the right place!! Each week, I’ll have the most important things you need to know, all in one place, to help you make the most of your time and have the most epic day ever!

Weekly Crowd Level

Overall, crowds will be pretty consistently summer-dense throughout the week. Do I hear a Sunday Funday calling??

Weekly Weather Report

It’s summertime in central Florida! You know the routine….scattered thunderstorms, they come and they go! *Disclaimer: though my name rhymes with weather, I am not in fact a meteorologist. So arm your smartphone with your favorite weather app (Dark Sky is my personal favorite) and check the forecast before you go!

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