Crowd Blog

Walt Disney World Crowd Report – December 22 to 28, 2013

by on December 30, 2013

Our predictions did very well again this week with no park-level predictions missing by more than two index levels and no resort-wide predictions missing by more than 1. Before we pat ourselves on the back too quickly, we remind ourselves that predicting high wait times during Christmas doesn’t take a lot of science. However, we were pleased to see that our new wait time models did a great job predicting the nuances between each day. We correctly called which parks would have lower wait times and our prediction that The Studios and Animal Kingdom would trail behind Magic Kingdom and Epcot until December 27 proved correct.

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

The Crowd Report

The Crowd Report

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Islands of Insanity: Christmas Week Crowd Photos from Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure

by on December 30, 2013

I’ve never participated in the running of the bulls in Spain, nor rung in the New Year in New York’s Times Square, because I don’t need to: I’ve been engulfed by the Christmas week crowd in Orlando’s theme parks. In the spirit of “taking one for the team,” I took on the challenge of visiting Universal Orlando Resort’s Islands of Adventure on two of the busiest days of the year — Christmas Eve (December 24, 2013) and the Friday after Christmas (December 27, 2013) — to give you idea of what guests face during 8 to 10 days on our crowd index.

We maintain our Crowd Calendar to help you avoid days like these, and Tourimg Plans to help you navigate should you be meshuggenah enough to ignore the following photos. These Islands of Adventure Christmas week crowd photos should also serve as great advertisement for the unlimited Universal Express access included with an on-site hotel room. And remember, these mob scenes are just a hint of hordes certain to swarm when The Wizarding World of Harry Potter — Diagon Alley opens at Universal Studios Florida next summer.

Christmas Eve (12/24/2013)

We’ll start with my mid-afternoon stroll around Islands of Adventure on Christmas Eve:

Wait times are substantial with Forbidden Journey posted at 100 minutes.

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Walt Disney World Crowd Report – December 15 to 21, 2013

by on December 23, 2013

Our predictions did well again this week with no major misses. The past week will be the last time crowds stay below average in 2013.

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

Walt Disney World Crowd Report Dec15-21,2013

The Crowd Report

The Walt Disney World Crowd Report
December 15 to 21, 2013

Sunday, December 15, 2013

On Sunday all parks had wait times much lower than average with no park exceeding a level ’3′ on our scale. Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom only reached level ’2′. This matched our predictions where we expected the resort wide level to be ’3′ and each park to be a level ’4′ or lower. No prediction missed by more than one index level.

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Walt Disney World Crowd Report – December 8 to 14, 2013

by on December 15, 2013

Our wait time models tell us that we should expect our predictions to be accurate within one or two index points most of the time. Occasionally we can expect to be off by three index points, but almost never more than that. On our previous crowd report we saw a couple days where our predictions missed by three index points. This week, we returned to form with a good week of predictions. Our resort-wide crowd levels were spot on three days and only missed by one the other four. Every park prediction of the week was within one or two index points.

It was a good week for visitors to the parks, too. Resort-wide crowd levels were below average all week, and each park stayed at a level ’5′ or lower. Still, popular attractions did reach average wait times in the 80 to 90 minute range on some days. The new holiday-themed version of Jungle Cruise at Magic Kingdom continues to see a bump in interest, while most other attractions stayed within expected ranges all week.

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

 

The Crowd Report

The Crowd Report

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Walt Disney World Crowd Report – December 1 to 7, 2013

by on December 9, 2013

Post Thanksgiving week crowds at Walt Disney World are usually a lot like pre-Thanksgiving crowds, lighter than average but not as low as early fall. This year, crowds during the first week of December were at or below average but higher than we predicted. In some cases, much higher. We under-predicted every day by one or two index points. The first week of December is one of our favorite times of year to visit Walt Disney World. The crowds are usually below average, the parks and resorts are decorated for Christmas, but the fall heat has faded to a moderate temperature, perfect for touring. Given the levels hit this past week, it may be a sign that the first week of December is losing favor as a great time to visit, perhaps due to special events. The Christmas Day Parade taping at the Magic Kingdom brings hordes of visitors to Main Street, U.S.A., in early December, and the Pop Warner Football Championship brings thousands of ‘tweens and their families to the value resorts. If you can avoid the impact of these events, then the festive atmosphere and cool temperatures may make the first week of December a favorite for your family.

The Crowd Report

The Crowd Report

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Walt Disney World Crowd Report November 24 to 30, 2013 – Thanksgiving

by on December 9, 2013

Like most Thanksgiving Holidays at Disney World, the final week of November 2013 proved to be a busy one. The resort hit a level ’7′ on Sunday, November 24 and remained at that level or higher until Saturday, November 30. We’ve seen busier Thanksgiving weeks in the past, but still this was a very busy week for Disney World guests. Inevitably we hear from guests who tour the parks during a crowd level ’8′ and say “Wow! I can’t imagine how crazy it must be during a 10!” If you visited Thanksgiving week we hope you used a touring plan and used Lines, our mobile app, to Optimize while in the parks. In general, our wait time predictions hit the mark with only a few exceptions. Most notably, our wait times models correctly predicted when wait times would start to surge (Sunday) from the influx of holiday guests and when they would begin to taper (Saturday). See below for our day-by-day Crowd Report of how the crowds looked Thanksgiving week.

WDW Crowd Levels Nov24-30, 2013

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The Legacy Of FASTPASS Distribution Rates

by on December 5, 2013

FastPasses

The rate at which an attraction distributes FASTPASSes is a big deal to guests of Disney theme parks. It is also a big deal to the Stats Team here at TouringPlans.com. Not just because we use it ourselves all the time but because it can be a great indicator of crowds at the parks. Fall 2013 has seen systematic changes to some of the FASTPASS Distribution rates. In some cases, drastic changes. With the launch of FastPass+ it was not clear how the distribution of Legacy FASTPASS (the old way) would be affected. Let’s take a look.

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Walt Disney World Crowd Report November 17 to 23, 2013

by on November 25, 2013

November 17 to 23, 2013, ended up being a great week for low crowds at Walt Disney World. Our Crowd Calendar predicted low crowds all week with the exception of Saturday. In fact, wait times came in even lower than our predictions, including on Saturday. Although our predictions hit the mark at the park level for some days, in general we overshot by one index level. If you used our calendar and selected last week for your trip to Disney World, you experienced some of the lowest wait times of the year.

WDW Crowd Levels Nov17-23, 2013

 

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Walt Disney World Crowd Report November 10 to 16, 2013

by on November 18, 2013

Generally, crowds last week came in lower than expected with no park reaching higher than a level ’6′ on our scale. We were within 2 index points 86% of the time last week and within 1 index point 61% of the time.

Based on Average Posted Wait Time Between 10am and 5pm

Based on Average Posted Wait Time Between 10am and 5pm

 

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party season arrived at the Magic Kingdom this week, which means savvy planners who don’t mind the shortened park hours can experience low wait times during the day.

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Announcing Disney World Crowd Calendar 4

by on November 7, 2013

Disney World Crowd Calendar, Crowd Levels and Crowd PredictionsToday we’re launching a new version of our Disney World Crowd Calendar.

The new Crowd Calendar is still based on attraction wait times and still uses a 1 to 10 scale, where 1 means small crowds and 10 means large crowds.

Most of the changes are behind the scenes to improve the accuracy of our analysis of past crowds and of future crowd level predictions.

The changes you’ll see will make the calendar easier to use and understand:

  • Each park’s crowd level on the same page. You’ll see the crowd levels for all of Walt Disney World, Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom all on the same page, along with each park’s schedule and Extra Magic Hours. We’ve reduced the number of clicks needed to find information.
  • Explanations of how holidays and special events affect crowds. We’ve always listed important special events and holidays on the crowd calendar and now we’ve added descriptions of how they affect the parks. You can see those descriptions on our Crowd Levels page.
  • More 4′s, 5′s, and 6′s; Fewer 1′s and 10′s. The previous crowd calendar took all the days in our database and assigned a crowd level of 1 to the least-busy 10%, a crowd level of 2 to the next-slowest 10%, 3 to the next-slowest 10%, and so on. The busiest 10% got a crowd level of 10. This relative ranking idea is great for comparing days, but it means that minor bumps in waits sometimes meant big jumps in crowd levels. For example, the difference between a crowd level of 2 and a 9 at The Barnstormer was about 10 minutes in line. Instead, with the new calendar, a minor bump in wait times will mean a minor bump in the crowd level too.
  • No decimal points. Based on reader feedback, the calendar now uses only whole numbers. Thus, you’ll see Magic Kingdom crowd level predictions of 1, 5, or 7, but not 1.4, 5.3 or 7.8. It’s simpler and easier to read.
  • No “7-Day Rule.” Since the very first crowd calendar, we’ve always tried to recommend each park at least one day per week, so that families visiting during that week would know the best day to visit each park. Unfortunately, there were times where special events and holidays forced us to recommend a park when it wasn’t the best day for everyone. Feedback from readers showed that some folks found the 7-day rule more confusing than helpful, so we designed a new calendar that doesn’t require it.
  • An attraction’s average posted wait between 10 am and 5 pm now corresponds to its crowd level. The old crowd calendar used the attraction’s highest wait time at any point in the day. Using the average wait time during the busiest hours of the day will tend to smooth out the ups and downs to give a fairer look at crowds at that attraction throughout the day.
  • “Best Park” and “Park to Avoid” labels are not needed. It’s easy to see which park to pick, so the labels aren’t needed. The best park to visit on any one day is the park with lowest crowd level number. Avoid the park with the highest crowd level number. Our Park Recommendations page has been updated to help you decide which park to visit using the new calendar.

One happy side effect of these new changes is that the new Crowd Calendar’s predicted crowd levels don’t change as often as the old calendar’s. Thus, if you’re using our popular Crowd Tracker tool to keep an eye on crowds for your vacation dates, you’ll receive far fewer emails.

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