Individual Park Crowd Levels — Now Available!

by on July 23, 2010 84 Comments

Filed under: Crowd Blog, Uncategorized

“Should I go to Magic Kingdom when it’s a Best Park and the Crowd Level is a ‘7’? Or should I go when it’s a Park to Avoid and the Crowd Level is a ‘2’?”

We’ve received this question many times, and we’ve always wanted to answer it better.Β  So we’re happy to debut a new feature: Per-Park Crowd Levels are now a part of the Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar!

These individual park crowd levels are based on wait times and are measured on a relative scale from 1 to 10. If the Magic Kingdom Crowd Level is a ‘1’ — it’s one of the lightest days of the year for the Magic Kingdom (and when it’s a 10, it’s one of busiest for the Magic Kingdom).

A given park level is only directly related to other park levels for the same park. If Magic Kingdom is a ‘4’ and Epcot is a ‘6’, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the Magic Kingdom is less crowded than Epcot (a ‘4’ day at the Magic Kingdom may have longer waits than a ‘6’ day at Epcot). However, if Epcot is a ‘4’ one day and a ‘6’ the next day, we’re predicting that Epcot will be less crowded on the first day, and more crowded on the second.

How does it affect my trip planning?

Say you’re on a 5-day trip, and want to schedule your touring around the single best day to hit the Fantasyland dark rides. Or the most relaxing day to enjoy Expedition Everest and Kilimanjaro Safaris. Or you want to hit Disney’s Hollywood Studios on the day you can most likely get a FASTPASS for Toy Story Mania after 10am! These Park Crowd Levels should help you do just that.

How do these numbers relate to the Best Park Recommendations?

As the calendar shows, we don’t simply choose the day with the lowest park crowd level to be the Best Park for a given day. Further, we don’t choose the absolute least crowded park for each day (if we did, the Animal Kingdom would be the Best Park every day of the year). Our Park Recommendations are based on a formula that includes Extra Magic Hours, special events & holidays, as well as guaranteeing that each park is a “Best Park” at least one day out of every seven days. To read more about how we calculate the Best Parks and Parks To Avoid, read the Park Recommendations breakdown.

Go check them out!

The Park Crowd Levels can be found here and are available exclusively for premium subscribers. Any questions, comments? Leave us a comment or email us!

Posted on July 23, 2010

84 Responses to “Individual Park Crowd Levels — Now Available!”

  • I noticed on Thurs. Aug 12th, 2010, MK is rated a 4.0, but is a Park to Avoid that day on the overall crowd calendar. I’m thinking with Epcot/HS over 9 on that day, that the 4.0 is a mistake?

  • Magic Kingdom hosts Extra Magic Hour morning on Thursday Aug 12. We tend to “Avoid” parks that host EMH morning because it puts day guests at a disadvantage for touring. That is why we recommend the Animal Kingdom on that day (4.8).

  • This looks like a great addition! Thanks πŸ™‚

    • OK, I started checking out our possible next trip dates and I’m a bit confused, so I’m sure there is something obvious I am missing. For example, take June 8, 2011. The park to avoid that day is HS. But on the per-park crowd levels, HS is only listed at a 1.2, while MK is 4.1, EP is 5.8, and AK is 8.1. Does the per-park level follow the percentile idea, where a 1.2 would be in the lowest 10% of days? Help πŸ™‚

      • You’re right about the per-park level being based on a percentile rank — but recommendations are a formula that take into consideration Extra Magic Hours, special events, holidays, etc. Hollywood Studios usually has evening Extra Magic Hours on wednesdays, hence the park to avoid recommendation.

        • Thanks! So to find a day on which it’d be easiest to ride TSM, I should find a day on which it’s recommended, or the day with the lowest level, or a combo of both? Because I’m all about Buzz Lightyear! πŸ˜‰

          • Great question! If you’re just focused on TSM, use the per-park index. If you choose a day that lands on EMH and you can’t take advantage of it (either you’re not staying on property or can’t get to the park for EMH rope drop) — then choose another day!

  • Ahhh! Confused!! Animal Kingdom is a park to avoid on October 31st with a per park level of 1.3 and then the next day Nov. 1st is neither a park to avoid or a best day with a per park level of 6.9
    Which day is truly the best to visit with lower crowds. My original plan was to go on Nov 1st, now I am not so sure! Help!

    • Hey!

      Sorry to make things more confusing for ya!

      Here’s the rub: the park will be less crowded on the 31st than on the 1st. However, there will be Extra Magic Hour morning on the 31st. So if you can’t take advantage of it, it may be better to hit another park that day.

      • Yes I am staying at Pop! So you would recommend AK on the 31st rather than the 1st even with the EMH in the morning?

        Just a little confusing, but I’ll get it down! You guys are doing an awesome job!! Thanks!

        • Thanks a lot for the feedback–we totally understand that it’s a bit hard to sift through the tea leaves, but we’ll continue to make it easier to understand and digest.

          If you can get to the park early, I would say AK is a better bet on the 31st!

  • This is a great addition. Thanks! I’m confused on one thing, though. It seems that many “lighter” days are also EMH mornings at parks. For example, during the week of Aug. 1, by far the lightest DHS day is a 5.4 on Aug. 2. That is also an EMH morning at the Studios. Does this mean that the crowds will be lighter on that day than others that do not have EMH, or are EMH not considered? I understand that if one can take advantage of EMH and wants to go to the studios that this is a great day, but what about someone who is not on property? How should they read this?

    • Hey Mike, we were wondering if people would catch this!

      We are finding evidence that there are a lot of days with EMH that aren’t terribly busy, and in fact, less busy than non-EMH days.

      Couple of things to note, however. EMH is kind of screwy in the summer, because they add lots of EMH to the schedule (DHS has four during August 2-9). Second, DHS crowds have a lot to do with Fantasmic schedules these days, not just EMH.

    • Oh, and, if you’re off-property or don’t want to take up EMH, the real issue is not just the overall crowd level, but the time in which you can start your touring plan related to everyone else. And at DHS, you’re at quite the disadvantage if you get to TSM at 9 instead of 8, and the rest of the attractions are stacked up on top of that. It’s really a personal choice. If you’re going just for lunch and for atmosphere, you may not care about EMH — and can just go for it.

  • This addition is great. I like to plan things out in extreme detail, so this is very helpful. If you are going for a shorter trip, it can be difficult to follow the best and parks recommendations. This helps understand which way to not follow the recommendations in order to do everything you want in a shorter trip.

  • I’m surprised to see crowd levels of less than 1 for Epcot on Food and Wine Festival Weekends. I know you guys are taking this from real data, so not doubting what I’m seeing, just wondering if there is some kind of explanation for it? Is it because Future World is ignored while everybody is eating and drinking around World Showcase?

    • That, Melissa is a great point! The
      Crowd levels are based solely on wait times, and unfortunately these don’t include the queues at the booths for F&W! That may in fact be what’s going on here: FW might be light with most people in WS.

  • by Keith C (TheFugitiveGuy) on July 23, 2010, at 7:53 pm EST

    Wow, wow, wow, this is awesome! I love the level of detail (not only per-park numbers, but even numbers with decimals!) πŸ™‚ And it’s yet another reason to happily pay to be a Premium subscriber (as if full Crowd Calendars and Lines weren’t enough!)

    One thing I was curious about, does the effect of EMH in regards to the recommended park ever vary based on how good the specific park level is? I think the Oct 31 example is a good one for AK, where even though it’s an EMH morning, having a ~1 rating for the day seems like that low crowd level should override the fact that it’s also an EMH day. Or does EMH always trump other considerations?

    To be honest, I’m tempted to basically follow the Per-Park Level now, since that seems to give more than enough info for me to make my decisions (and I can personally weigh in whether there’s EMH or not, and whether I can get there at the start or not)

    • Hey Keith!

      I’ll let Fred chime in here, but I do believe EMH trumps all because of the off-property and late-riser families. If start an hour after everyone else, you are at a big disadvantage to seeing the headliners even on really light days.

      Even when AK is a one, you can still see waits of a 30-40 minutes on everest and safaris — Disney will be running at limited capacity (fewer trains / trucks)

  • First of all, thanks to all the Touring Plan/Unofficial Guide/Betamouse/etc etc etc folks that work to build these kinds of tools. The rest of my family may think I’m a bit nuts, but I’d rather do as much planning as I can early so that we can enjoy our trip that much more.

    So, I get that it may be wise to avoid a lightly visited park that has EMH if staying off property, but I’m curious to know your opinion during special events.

    To give an example, I’m looking at the Magic Kingdom on 10/11. There are no EMH, but there is a Halloween Party in the evening. The park is at a 1.1 level but is listed as a park to avoid. Should I interpret this information as the park will likely be quiet, especially in the morning, and picking up in the afternoon/evening leading up to the Party?

    • I have some of the same thoughts as you. 10/13 is a non-party day in the midst of 3 party days. It’s the recommended park but with a crowd level of 4.2. The next day is an EMH morning AND a party day, but the crowd level is a .6!!! I’m torn between avoiding the park because instinct tells me to avoid EMH and parties, but that crowd level is SO tempting. Plus I’d switch it with one of my DHS days and it would put me at DHS on a .4 day!!!!

      • I realize it’s a bit stressful, but this is exactly what we want to give you: a real, informed choice based on more detailed data! You’ll have a better trip! We hope to continue to make this data even more clear going forward!

    • Thanks!

      That is a good guess! Our recommendations revolving around special events are more than just crowd-based. If you go on a hard ticket event day, you’ll have way fewer hours to tour with. It may not mean much if you’re just popping in for the morning, but it would if you’re only spending two days in WDW!

  • Oh, oh, oh, so much data! Head. Might. Explode.

    Seriously, I know I’ve been anticipating this with barely contained glee…but now that it’s available I’m not sure what to do with it. I think that it’s going to be wonderful after I process it all.

    For example, on December 5th the Magic Kingdom is a 0.2. (0.2!!!) I am thinking that it is not a recommended park because of the MVMCP that night. However, my plan before these new park specific crowd levels came out was to be at the MK for rope drop and enjoy it up until our Crystal Palace reservation at 12:45. After lunch, we will leave for a break at our hotel. We planned on going to the Studios for the evening to see Fantasmic, so we don’t care that MK closes early. Given the 0.2 MK level, I am thinking that this plan seems like an especially good idea. Is there a flaw in my logic, or is this a good/accurate way to interpret this data?

    So, Len and Fred, will this be an upcoming topic for a WDW Today podcast episode? (hint, hint)

    Thank you for all of the wonderful work you do!

    • Yes Amy, it is a great idea! If you don’t mind that the park closes early then this looks like a great to do what you planned.

      • Of course, now I’ve looked at the WDW calendar again and I see that Fantasmic is moving to Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. This has caused a great deal of shuffling in our schedule, but the Individual Park Crowd Levels have REALLY helped. What kind of impact does having Fantasmic move to Saturday, but increasing days shown to 3 days per week have?

  • On Monday Aug 30, AK has a 0.1 crowd level prediction but is the park to avoid due to EMH. These seem contradictory; no one is going to the park because they have EMH? What are the error bounds on these numbers (i.e. should we wait until 1 week before to use)?

    • It seems contradictory I know, but this is what the wait time data is telling us. The standard error for for the Animal Kingdom is 1.1 so the real value will be between 0 and 1.2, on average.

  • by Keith C (TheFugitiveGuy) on July 23, 2010, at 10:30 pm EST

    Sorry, one other question… I think I need a reminder about how the overall Crowd Level is calculated vs. this new park-specific Crowd Level. During a trip, it seems to me that it’s not simply a matter of picking a park with a “low crowd”, but rather about picking parks by comparing the same park across different days (crowds on Tue in EP vs crowds on Wed in EP), as well as comparing all the parks on that same day (on Tue, compare EP to AK to MK to HS). My thought is that we would want to optimize by choosing the park that has the greatest difference from the “average” for that day. If the overall Crowd Level is 5 for Tuesday, but EP is a 1, then EP is significantly better than the average for that day. But then I’m not sure that I’m correct in that interpretation, because Fred explicitly stated in the original post: “A given park level is only directly related to other park levels for the same park.” Is it valid to compare Overall numbers with Park-Specific numbers to try to find the “best” park to go to?

    • The thing that you’re missing Keith is that the overall crowd level is not an “average” of the four parks. Comparing the overall numbers to the park numbers isn’t useful. Think of each number separately. For example: “Overall the resort ranks a 9 today. MK itself ranks a 6.1”.

      The good thing is that you can compare the index for the four parks to each other. To pick the park with the absolute lowest relative crowd, its simply the lowest number.

      • But I thought that up above it said that you cannot compare the individual levels from different parks to each other. πŸ™‚

  • If I am staying for more than a week on-property and I’m an early riser, do I ignore the Best/Avoid recommendations and just go with the per-park crowd levels?

  • Wow! Great tool. Can you tell me why Epcot is a 8.7 and 8.8 repectively on 9-29-10 and 10-6-10? I had planned to go to Epcot on the 6th for sure (even got Le Cellier that day!), but now I am reconsidering. I assume something big must be happening to see crowds that high in early October. Thanks!

    • I was wondering that as well, since I’ll be there at the same time. (But not Le Cellier — I miscalculated on the calendar and tried to book 176 days in advance. Man!) Why IS Epcot packed on those days, but dead from Friday through Monday?

  • by Walt Krzystek on July 24, 2010, at 10:12 am EST

    This is awesome. Thanks for all of the work that goes into this. One tip I might suggest – repeat the park header every month so when you are scrolling down the page to find the days you are looking at, you can quickly see what column is what park. Thanks again!

  • by Andre Willey on July 24, 2010, at 2:19 pm EST

    What happens on Wednesdays in Epcot that changes the park to around a 9 compared to less than 1 on nearby days (I’m looking at late October). I know that there are late EMH on Weds, but does that make such a massive difference during the rest of the day so as to push the whole park to almost its highest YEAR-ROUND attendance level in an otherwise dead period? Even days with early EMH only show as around 4, and three other days that week are listed as 0.5. For example, 9.7 on 3rd November – that would be the same crowds as Christmas week!! Surely something’s gone wrong somewhere…

    • Hey Andre, thanks for the analysis and feedback. I’ll ask Fred to take a look at it to see if anything’s wacky going on, but one thing to point out:

      Our crowd levels are based on wait times, not park attendance. We would _love_ to get our hands on Disney’s attendance numbers to do predictions, but that ain’t gonna happen. So while it may not be one of the most busy times of the year in terms of raw numbers of people, it will have waits that look like days in the summer. This is probably because Disney will keep the capacity of the attractions low (fewer cars at test track, fewer cast members staffing attractions, etc).

      Hope this helps!

  • Does Veterans Day(11/11) have an effect on Epcot? It is much higher than the days around it.

    Thanks for the new info!

    • I guess my question actually goes along with the previous one about midweek highs in the fall at Epcot. Vet. Day is coming off the Wed peak.

      • I’m interested in the answer to this question as well.

        • YEAH, you hear THAT, you number-crunching freaks?! How do you explain THAT, huh?

          (Surreptitiously hiding my “Free Dining vs. AP Discount Package Cost Comparison Analysis” spreadsheet)

    • Hey rsogal, it seems like this is related to the “wednesdays are bad” observations above.

      One other thing to note is that sometimes it’s really hard to isolate specific causes for fluctuations — we’re dealing with many variables here, including park hours, EMH schedules, etc etc — as well as tens of thousands of data points (wait times). There sometimes isn’t one exact cause — but many subtle ones. But I’ll definitely ask Fred to see if he can think of a Wednesday/Epcot correlation.

      • I can’t think of anything off-hand but an interesting phenomenon to look into, thanks.

        • by Andre Willey on July 25, 2010, at 3:53 am EST

          Thanks Fred, and thanks also for all the amazing work you guys put into this, it’s a wonderful resource.

          If you do get a chance to check to see what’s causing this blip, I would definitely like to hear what might cause Wednesdays in late October/early November to have some longer predicted Epcot lines than Christmas week.

  • by Scarlett Litton (scarlettashley) on July 24, 2010, at 4:34 pm EST

    I’m so excited about these numbers! As a local who goes often, these are super beneficial for me. I can’t say enough about how much I appreciate all the hard work you guys do to give us the most data/information possible, and then answer any questions we have as well. Thanks guys! Love it!

  • I have had my trip planned down to the finest detail for the end of August and early September. Now, it looks as though everything I have planned regarding ADRs and parks to go to are all backwards and I could have done much better. I wish this had been available back in February. If it wasn’t for my ADRs I would be revising my entire trip!

    • I’m sorry, Anita! We launched this as soon as we could. If you followed the “Best Park” recommendations, you’ll still have a fantastic time. And even if you didn’t, arming yourself with a good Touring Plan and loading Lines onto a smartphone, you’ll have a great trip!

  • Hi! I sent an email with my questions, but I think I understand now. Sept 4 HS is avoid even though rating is 0.9 because EMH-AM are that day. Same for Sept 6: avoid AK (1.4) due to EMH-AM. And Sept 10: Avoid MK (0.4) because of Nights of Joy, so less touring time.

    I had planned to hit EP the evening of Sept 4th (arrival day), but thanks to this new data, I’ll switch to HS for crowd levels (no Fantasmic that evening). We may have to do TSM on our 2nd HS day, but we should be able to hit several shows of interest to DD4. Thank you!

    • Ah, great! Was just getting to your email.
      One other thing to note about EMH mornings: you don’t just have less touring time, you start off the day 1-hour behind everyone else if you don’t take advantage of EMH. While that may seem like not a lot, it can significantly add to your wait times at the headliner attractions (especially at Toy Story Mania! in Hollywood Studios!).

      • Having spent much time in the last few days with LINES (recently subscribed, first WDW visit in 10 days), I was “simulating” our itinerary and yes, I am now convinced that parks with morning EMH are not worth it if you don’t make it for the rope drop. But they usually become the best park if you do. Especially with a plan, I guess.

        Fred/Henry/???, I would seriously look into creating a “toggle switch” in the recommended parks algorithm for users to specify whether they will _use_ EMH and be there early or not. The impact of rule #1 is too great and the actual use of EMH seems to make makes a big difference in you experience.

  • I LOVE this per park addition!! It is absolutely wonderful and is an extremely valuable tool in my touring plans so thanks so much!

  • Looking around my vacation time (Feb 2011), it generally looks like EMH evenings may have a more dramatic impact on the per-park numbers than EMH mornings. Ratings seem to spike for DHS on Mondays, AK on Wednesdays, and EP on Fridays, more so than EP on Tuesdays or MK on Thursdays.

    That 9.6 rating for EP on Feb. 25th really caught my eye, since EP wasn’t a recommend/avoid park on that date… maybe not all 9.6’s are created equal? Perhaps EP is projected as a relatively sedate 7 in the morning but an absolutely psychotic 13 for Illuminations??? πŸ™‚

  • Wow! You guys are my heroes! We will be at WDW 10/22-10/26. Fri, Sun, Tues are Halloween Party nights at MK. Sat and Mon are EMH days…Hmmm! So do I go with Mon 10/25 since the per park number is less than Sat even though Fri and Tues is a 0.1? Thanks so much and for adding the park headers in so quickly!

  • Wow. I can’t wait to really dig into the data. Thanks for doing this. We have park hoppers for our 6 day trip in the beginning of September, so our ADR’s won’t be a problem. I am looking forward to seeing how the data will change our planned parks. Thanks again.

  • THANK YOU! From someone who likes the MK but it’s fourth on the list, this is a real boon!

  • Hi,

    Sorry but still confused. If I plan to be at rope drop but won’t take advantage of EMH and will take mid day breaks because of young children, would you use the per park calendar despite recommended/avoid parks on regular crowd calendar? We just want to have minimum wait times since the kids will get restless in line. We won’t have park hoppers either. We also won’t be riding most of the headliners for older kids/adults. TIA!!

  • I love this per park crowd calendar! If MK is ranked LESS THAN 1 for Oct. 7 and 8, why do you say avoid MK both days? Also do they make all non-banded guests leave at 7 pm before MNSSHP? It seems impossible to tell who is and is not banded in a crowd watching a show or parade.

    • Penny,

      I’ve been to MNSSHP twice now and what happens is that you need the band to go on any ride after the start time. I am not sure if they start to usher non-banded folks out of the park or not.

  • I’m excited (and confused) about the new Per-Park Crowd Levels. I am going to take both my sisters and my niece to the parks beginning Tuesday, May 24th and leaving Saturday, May 28th. We will be staying at a WDW property. We plan to be at every park before opening per Touring Plan guidelines. Our biggest goal is to ride park attractions as often as possible. I had created a schedule, based on the “old” crowd level guidelines. Should I abandon the old crowd calendar suggestions and stick with the new Per-Park guidelines now? What’s your best advice?
    Thanks Touring Plans staff for making every trip we’ve taken to “The Mouse” a breeze!

  • Fred, you make Canadians everywhere proud πŸ™‚ My favorite part is that it’s on lines so when I’m there (25 days!)I have access to it all. I agree with Amy- WDW today needs to get you on to explain all the nitty gritty details ASAP. Thanks again to everyone involved at touringplans.

  • I am analysing the per park crowd forecasts, and how the model works. I am using the Lines app to cross check some info.

    I am still puzzled by the reported/forecast effect of Morning EMH on parks, especially since it seems the per park crowd level is relatively low for theses days. Could it be that enough rides have short enough lines during that hour to skew the results toward an “average wait time” that is lower?

  • (I should have posted this before the previous message, sorry)
    In analysing the data, I am using the Lines app to crosscheck some info on the per park crowd level. It’s work but results are good!

    For example, today at MK is 8.8 and tomorrow 7.5. I compared the full forecast for both days, for many rides in MK (7 or 8): Yes, on average, most of the rides have a slightly higher wait time and earlier “FP Gone!” today than tomorrow. I like the fact that it was not the same relative improvement for every ride. This gives me confidence that there is actual data for every ride used for these forecasts and that in turn, the data from the “sum of all rides” drives the forecast for the park. I get a similar (but reverse) result for HS where it is 8.2 today and 9.9 tomorrow.

    I will probably repeat my analysis on friday, when Epcot has a 7.6 followed by a 5.4, or next Wednesday, when MK has a 8.5 followed by a 5.5.

    Note that I have not been to WDW yet (1st visit is Aug 10th) I am just trying to see if things are consistent, and how to best prepare our trip.

    Thanks for the data. To me it’s the more data the better.

    • Epcot forecast wait times last friday/saturday were in line with the posted crowd level 7.6/5.4. but the difference did not seem as sharp. One could say a 1.8 difference in that range, at Epcot is not as drastic as a 1.3 in a higher range (8.8->7.5) at MK. I’m getting a better “feel” for all these crowd levels. Hope this helps others…

  • by Chris from WI on July 28, 2010, at 12:25 pm EST

    I love it and I think I understand it…which is probably why I love it. LOL

  • Can you tell me more about the crowd level for AK on November 24th. We were originally planning to go to AK that day even though it was listed as avoid. I figured it was listed as avoid b/c of pm EMHs and we planned to be done by mid afternoon, and figured only later in day would be affected by EMH. But now that there are park levels listed, AK has a 9, which is by far the highest for that week. So my questions:
    (1) Why is it expected to be a 9 that day?
    (2) Should i expect it to be a 9 throughout they day, or just afternoon through evening EMHs?
    (3) Should we switch plans and go to AK on 22nd (w/am EMH-we can go early if necessary) as it only has 5.9 and do MK on 24th (6.9) instead of 22nd (6.0)?
    We were originally trying to avoid parks with a.m. EMHs, but it seems like those are actually better crowd wise. And we thought 22nd would be much better for MK than 24th, which is day b/4 holiday (but they don’t appear to be much different).

  • I am confused on something. Which is better to do. Go to Epcot, but not arrive until around 11:30 on a 4.0 day or go to Epcot, on a day to avoid, with a 6.1 day,arrive for RD, have a lunch ADR at 11:30 and leave the park by 1:00? Do you think there will be FP’s available on a 4.0 day after 11:30 a.m.?
    Thank you! Love your website!!

  • I have a question…
    We’re going down 5.8.11/5.18.11 with 2 little girls. We’re not so much interested in the major rides (we do take advantage of FP’s for the few rides we do like…toy story mania, Kilimanjaro safari) and we usually don’t stay very late at any of the parks because the girls get too crabby.
    Anyway, I’m trying to plan (already!) and wondering if I should be looking at per park levels more than anything else.
    We’re basically just interested in the lowest amount of people in a park, not necessarily wait times.

    For example, Monday May 9th 2011, has AK at 1.3 (MK-6.2, EP-2.8, HS-3.1) but it’s a park to avoid. But will it most likely be the least crowded park people wise?

    We went 3.29.09/4.4.09 and the crowds were unbearable..shoulder to shoulder all week long AND I didn’t know about this site then πŸ™ Not trying to do that again.

    Thanks! This site is great BTW!

    • Thanks Dawn. Our crowd level index is based on wait times but we don’t publish anything that estimates the total number of people in a park. However, judging by experience, the two are closely related.

      It all depends whether you are taking advantage of Extra Magic Hour mornings or not. If not, stick to the recommendations. If you are then the per park index is your best bet. Regardless, those dates should be much less crowded than what you experienced last time.

      Hope that helps.

      • Hi Fred. Thanks for the prompt reply.

        I’m just sticking to the recommendations. The calender isn’t up yet on the WDW site and I’m not waiting until the last minute to figure things out. LOL. I know we never even came close to making it for EMH last trip so I’m not even going to try this one.

        I noticed Sunday May 15th-2011 has a rating of a one. A one! I’m so excited about that. Looking at the ratings for the same dates next year, that we went down in 09, I see those are mostly 10’s. I’m glad to see I booked a decent time to visit (prior to finding your site) this trip!

        Thanks again! πŸ™‚

  • Fred – I’m echoing the previous comment about the Epcot Wednesday conundrum. On Nov 3 (when we were thinking of being there,) it’s a 9.9. Really!? In November? I know it’s Jersey Week and Food and Wine, but is there some kind of “Wednesday-only Epcot Massive Group Get Together” that we’re all missing here? πŸ˜€

    • I know Patrick, we noticed that too and have made some adjustments. It has to do with the fact that Epcot hosts back to back EMH on Tuesdays (morning) and Wednesday (evening).

  • Fred,
    I absolutely love the level of detail. You guys knocked the cover off the ball (and forced me to put a new tab on my Disney Planning spreadsheet). I am travelling in the second week of November with a group of ten. We have already planned where and when we are visiting the park based off the old numbers. But, with these new numbers, I have a concern. It of course involves a Wednesday (11/10/10) and Epcot. We are visiting DHS that day, but have dinner at Biergarten. With a 9.6 @ EP, should I be planning extra time to navigate over to Germany from DHS (Who’d a thought Rick Springfield would become a factor in my dinner plans)? Thanks again for the superb level of information.

    • Hi Chris. You, among others, have discovered something that is happening with our estimates on Wednesdays at Epcot in the fall. We looked into it because it seemed strange that Epcot had such high crowd levels during that time of year.

      What we discovered was that on Wednesdays in the fall Epcot hosts Extra Magic Hour evenings AND on Tuesdays in the fall Epcot hosts Extra Magic Hour mornings. This ‘back-to-back’ Extra Magic Hour schedule is rare and our model was telling us that this would elevate the wait times at Epcot. Because this schedule is rare we made some adjustments and now you may notice the estimates have changed for those dates.

  • Thanks so much for the additional information! I’m a little frustrated with trying to figure out the best day for MK. Our travel dates are 10/22/10-10/26/10. Everyday is either MNSSHP or EMH! From your responses, I am thinking about going with Monday (EMH), since it is the recommended park that day and the per park rating is less than that of Saturday(EMH). Would you agree? I doubt we will be taking advantage of EMH, though. Thanks for any help!

  • by James Brabazon on October 19, 2010, at 7:45 pm EST

    This is legit. I’m dad fun guy and planning my Disney Trip is year long, I love you.

  • by Alex from Guatemala on November 10, 2010, at 12:19 pm EST

    Hello! We are traveling to the World on Thanksgiving week and am a bit confused with your recommendations. Based on your WDW Crowd Calendar we had planned on visiting HS on Monday (nov 22), MK on Tuesday (nov 23) and Epcot on Wednesday (nov 23) leaving Thursday (thanksgiving)and Friday for Universal and Islands. Given some recent news of extended hours, what Park would you recommend visiting on Thanksgiving Day??

    Thank you very much for all your help!

  • Hello,
    We will be staying on site and plan on taking advantage of morning EMH if the day’s crowd level is expected to be low. Also, we will be traveling with small children, and it is doubtful they will last the whole day, so it will not matter if the park closes early. So I guess we will be planning on choosing a park based on your Per Park Crowd Levels and ignore the Best park recommendation.

    My question is this…how likely are the Per Park Crowd Levels to change? And by what magnitude? We are planning a fall 2011 trip, so I would like to know where I will be on what day for ADR purposes six months beforehand. We just want to avoid a situation where we make an ADR in a park with the lowest crowd level only to have it change come trip time. Thanks

  • So far, I am playing with the different plans to see what I like and have also been trying the customized planning. The only real problem I am having is trying to make sure we have a 60 minute window before fantasmic begins at MGM. No matter how I change it, it only gives us 15 minutes before start time and we will never get a good seat that way. I even tried scheduling a “break” for an hour before the show but the plan bumped our “rest time” to after the show, scheduling all events until 15 minutes before the show. Is There any way I can get the plan to give us more time before Fantasmic in choosing seats?