Crowd Blog

Disney World Crowd Report – May 18 to 24, 2014

by on May 27, 2014

Crowds at Walt Disney World held steady last week with only one park reaching a crowd level above ‘7’ on our scale. Other than that, most days the parks were about average, between ‘4’ and ‘6’. Crowds at Disney Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom were more often lower than expected. In the case of the Studios, perhaps guests are pushing their Studios visit to the weekend to experience the Star Wars festivities. Highlights of the week included Star Wars Weekend and “Rock Your Disney Side”, the Magic Kingdom’s 24-hour summer kick off.

Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week:

Walt Disney World Resort Crowd Levels – Daily Breakdown

Sunday, May 18, 2014

  WHAT WE
THOUGHT
WHAT WE
SAW
ANALYSIS
Magic Kingdom
5
6

Epcot and Disney Hollywood Studios went opposite directions from our predictions. Soarin’ and Test Track averaged 69 and 64 minutes respectively while Spaceship Earth averaged 24 minutes, a ’10’ on our scale. At The Studios Toy Story Mania reached an average wait time of 68 minutes, much lower than the 85 minutes we predicted.

Epcot
5
7
Hollywood Studios
6
3
Animal Kingdom
5
6

Monday, May 19, 2014

  WHAT WE
THOUGHT
WHAT WE
SAW
ANALYSIS
Magic Kingdom
5
5

Monday’s predictions missed only at The Studios and only by one. Early week crowds continue to be much lighter than crowds later in the week, a trend that has been prominent through late April and May.

Epcot
3
3
Hollywood Studios
3
2
Animal Kingdom
5
5

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  WHAT WE
THOUGHT
WHAT WE
SAW
ANALYSIS
Magic Kingdom
5
5

Tuesday’s crowd at Disney Hollywood Studios was the lowest of 2014. All Studios attractions ended up as a ‘1’ on our scale. Toy Story Mania averaged 53 minutes while Star Tours and Great Movie Ride were a walk-on all day.

Epcot
4
5
Hollywood Studios
5
1
Animal Kingdom
5
6

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

  WHAT WE
THOUGHT
WHAT WE
SAW
ANALYSIS
Magic Kingdom
4
5

Extra Magic Hour morning at The Studios brought a slightly higher crowd on Wednesday but not by much. Animal Kingdom saw lower than expected crowds as well. At Magic Kingdom the warm weather pushed Splash Mountain’s average wait time to 52 minutes, the highest in the park.

Epcot
3
3
Hollywood Studios
4
2
Animal Kingdom
5
3

Thursday, May 22, 2014

  WHAT WE
THOUGHT
WHAT WE
SAW
ANALYSIS
Magic Kingdom
5
5

The Studios was the best choice on Thursday, as predicted. Other parks stayed close to predictions as well with no park averaging wait times above average.

Epcot
4
5
Hollywood Studios
3
1
Animal Kingdom
6
4

Friday, May 23, 2014

  WHAT WE
THOUGHT
WHAT WE
SAW
ANALYSIS
Magic Kingdom
6
6

Rock Your Disney Side! Magic Kingdom opened for 24 hours straight beginning at 6:00am on Friday morning. The crowd was dominated by locals and annual passholders who took an opportunity to experience a soft opening of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Wait times were moderate throughout the day so our prediction of a crowd level ‘6’ between 10am and 5pm proved correct. Friday was a surprisingly good choice to experience Star Wars Weekend at The Studios, which had a crowd level ‘2’.

Epcot
5
5
Hollywood Studios
5
2
Animal Kingdom
7
5

Saturday, May 24, 2014

  WHAT WE
THOUGHT
WHAT WE
SAW
ANALYSIS
Magic Kingdom
7
5

Our predictions for Saturday put crowds higher than average for the first time all week. That turned out to be correct at Animal Kingdom and Epcot while Magic Kingdom and The Studios stayed average.

Epcot
7
8
Hollywood Studios
6
5
Animal Kingdom
7
6
What to Expect This Week
May 25 to 31, 2014
The Crowd Report

The Crowd Report

Memorial Day is over, so is “Rock Your Disney Side” but soon, school districts will approach the end of their respective school years and we will see summer crowds begin. June can be a good time of year to visit if your kids are done school in the middle of the month, the peak of summer crowds will not begin until late June.

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.

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Least Crowded Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party 2014 Dates

by on May 19, 2014

Nov204Last year I wrote about what we expected to be the least crowded Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. It proved to be a very popular topic, so here I am again to review the information from last year and give you an even better projection for 2014. Make sure you check out our dedicated page for a complete list of dates as well as a thorough description of what the Christmas party is.

In short, if you’re looking for the best 2014 Very Merry Christmas Party to attend, we recommend Monday, November 10, 2014. Last year we recommended Tuesday, December 10, 2013, and it turned out to be the party with the 2nd lowest wait times by our calculation. The equivalent party for last year’s recommendation, Tuesday, December 9, 2014, comes in second on this year’s list.

Since I’m sure you’re wondering how we did with our recommendations last year, the answer is…eh, okay. There were several predictions that we nailed, but we had a few errors that we have fixed for this year’s recommendations. Here are the top 5 from last year’s recommendations:

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Summer Vacation Schedules

by on May 15, 2014

The crowd levels at the Disney theme parks are highly correlated with school schedules. Most school systems have similar national holidays, but other breaks can very significantly. For the past few years I have been doing a blog post talking about spring break. Since Easter moves around the calendar year to year spring break dates can change significantly. Summer break is less variable year to year, but there is variation between school districts. The general recommendation for a summer trip is to go early or late to avoid the highest crowds. I’m here to help quantify what early and late summer means. Traditionally summer break is between Memorial Day and Labor Day, but most schools are only out a portion of this three month span.

Below is a chart showing the percent of students in school, between June 1 and October 1, 2014. We compute a different statistic for Disney World and Disneyland; weighting the data base on schools’ population and location.

Percent of students in school

Percent of students in school

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Disney World Crowd Report – May 4 to 10, 2014

by on May 14, 2014

Overall the crowds we observed in the parks edged slightly higher than expected last week. Especially on Sunday when a three day stretch of heavy rain finally came to an end. Guests who stayed in to wait out the bad weather took full advantage of Sunday’s blue skies. Our predictions for the rest of week also tended to be on the low side although not significantly.

Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week:

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Walt Disney World Crowd Report – April 27 to May 3, 2014

by on May 6, 2014

Predictions did very well again this week with only one prediction missing by more than two levels. Among the other 34 predictions, only 5 were off by more than one. Rain kept crowds moderate at the end of the week and despite some special events at three of the four parks, crowd levels were unaffected, as we predicted.

Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week.

The Crowd Report

The Crowd Report

The Walt Disney World Crowd Report
April 27 to May 3, 2014

Sunday, April 27, 2014 

Our prediction for moderate crowds on Sunday were accurate with a resort wide crowd level of ’5′, one higher than the ’4′ we predicted. Magic Kingdom and Epcot were also a ’5′ on our scale, about what you would expect for late April. The other two parks went in opposite directions from our predictions. The Studios ended up two levels lower than the ’4′ we predicted while Animal Kingdom was two levels higher than the predicted ’5′.

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Walt Disney World Crowd Report – April 20 to 26, 2014

by on April 28, 2014

Predictions did very well this week with only one exception. We saw moderate crowds all week including a surprising, but correctly predicted level ’5′ on Easter Sunday. Resort wide, every day was either a ’5′ or ’6′ on our scale.

Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week.

The Crowd Report

The Crowd Report

The Walt Disney World Crowd Report
April 20 to April 26, 2014

Sunday, April 20, 2014 

Sunday’s resort wide crowd was a level ’5′ as predicted, much lower than one might expect for a major holiday. We think our models correctly predicted this crowd because most schools had already finished Spring Break and those that hadn’t were heading home to prepare for the return to school. We also hit the mark at Magic Kingdom with a prediction of ’6′.

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Walt Disney World Crowd Report – April 13 to 19, 2014

by on April 21, 2014

We received a lot of questions about this year’s Easter crowd level predictions, most of them doubting the crowds could be that low on Easter weekend. We stuck by our estimates however knowing that Easter crowds are lighter when it occurs in late April, and it turns out that we were right. In fact, thanks to a storm on Friday the crowds were actually lower that expected heading into the Easter weekend. We correctly predicted that the peak crowds around Easter would occur mid-week, not on the Holiday weekend itself. Easter will not occur late in April again until 2019.

Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week.

The Crowd Report

Crowd Report, April 13-19. 2014

The Walt Disney World Crowd Report
April 13 to April 19, 2014

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sunday’s crowds were the lowest we would see between Sunday and Friday last week. Magic Kingdom was a ’7′ as predicted even though it hosted Extra Magic Hour morning, Extra Magic Hour evening (until 3:00am), two daytime parades, two evening parades and Wishes. No other park was more crowded than Magic Kingdom on Sunday with Epcot and Animal Kingdom reaching a level ’6′ on our scale (predicted ’8′s at both parks). The Studios was also less crowded than expected with average wait times only reaching a level ’3′ (we predicted ’5′).

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Walt Disney World Crowd Report – April 6 to 12, 2014

by on April 14, 2014

Anytime statisticians see a spike like the one we see on this week’s crowd report, they first break out in hives, then catch their breaths and look for an explanation of the outlier. The number one most common reason that our predictions miss the mark is weather. Unexpected good weather and bad weather can affect what we see in the parks, and we think that is what happened last week. On Tuesday, Central Florida experienced a severe weather warning from around noon until early evening. Then on Wednesday resort guests, off-site guests, and locals who were well-rested from missing most of Tuesday’s touring time flocked to the parks.

We feel this is a solid theory since wait times returned to expected levels on Friday and Saturday. If Tuesday’s spike was the result of an underestimate on our part, then one would expect the rest of the week to be very crowded, as well. This wasn’t the case. Also, during the day on Wednesday, Disney extended park hours to accommodate the unexpectedly large crowds.

Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up on other days last week.

The Crowd Report

The Crowd Report, April 6-12, 2014

 

The Walt Disney World Crowd Report
April 6 to April 12, 2014

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Park-level crowds ranged between a ’3′ at The Studios and ’6′s at the Kingdoms on Sunday. Both Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom were one level higher than the ’5′ we predicted which pushed the resort-wide level to a level ’5′, one higher than expected. Epcot’s crowd level ’5′ was also one level higher than predicted while The Studios’ crowd level ’3′ matched our prediction.

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Walt Disney World Crowd Report – March 30 to April 5, 2014

by on April 7, 2014

Last week we saw crowds fade to levels lower than that of the previous week. It appears that Sunday was the last day of a Spring Break peak that was followed by busy but manageable crowds. Our predictions did very well with none missing by more than two index levels all week. We also correctly predicted differences between park crowd levels on most days.

Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up day-to-day last week.

The Crowd Report

The Crowd Report

 

The Walt Disney World Crowd Report
March 30, 2014 to April 5, 2014

Sunday, March 30, 2014

While predictions for Magic Kingdom (7) and Disney’s Hollywood Studios (5) proved accurate on Sunday, we underpredicted Epcot and Animal Kingdom by two levels. Soarin’ averaged 86 minutes (we predicted 65) while most other attractions were only off by a few minutes. Similarly, Animal Kingdom’s higher than expected crowd level came from mostly from one attraction, Kilimanjaro Safaris. We predicted a 26-minute average posted wait while the observed value was almost double, at 50 minutes. Resort-wide, the crowd level ’7′ ended up the highest level we would see all week.

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How FastPass+ Is Affecting Your Wait In Line – An Update

by on April 3, 2014

FastPasses

FASTPASS vs. FastPass+

Back in early February we took at look at How FastPass+ Is Affecting Your Wait In Line At Disney World. We saw a small increase in standby wait times for secondary attractions like Spaceship Earth and Great Movie Ride, and a small drop in standby wait times for super-headliners like Space Mountain and Expedition Everest. With 2014′s Presidents’ Day and March Spring Break crowds behind us, it’s time to take another look.

Attendance is Up, And So are Wait Times

Walt Disney World attendance increased about 4% in 2013, and attendance is up about 4% again in the first quarter of 2014, or a little more than 8% over the past two years. To put that in perspective, if the average wait at Soarin’ was 60 minutes at 2012′s crowd levels, it’d be about 65 minutes adjusted for 2014′s higher crowds. When we’re looking at the impact of FastPass+ on standby wait times, the first thing we have to do is factor out the higher attendance.

For this analysis we’re comparing standby wait times from February 1 through March 31, 2014, with data from the same months in 2012 and 2013. To factor out the 8% increase in attendance from 2012 to 2014, we’ve increased 2012′s wait times by 8%. To factor out the 4% increase in attendance from 2013 to 2014, we’ve increased 2013′s wait times by 4%. (Disney doesn’t release official attendance figures, but even if our estimate of attendance increases is off by 1-2%, the results don’t change significantly.)

For data, we get posted wait times for every attraction about every 5 minutes, from both Disney’s My Disney Experience app and from our Lines community. That works out to about 250,000 wait times just for this study.

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