Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar Improvements!

by on November 22, 2011 22 Comments

Filed under: Crowd Blog, Recent News, Trip Planning

With the season of giving approaching quickly, we here at TouringPlans.com are doing our best to give you even better tools to plan your Disney vacations. Following on the heels of our Optimized Touring Plans, we are proud to announce that our Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar has just gotten better, too, by utilizing projected park hours.

One of the most common criticisms we receive about the Crowd Calendar is that it changes too darn much. The reason it changes is that Disney adjusts park hours (for details, see this blog post) at least once per month based on attendance estimates generated from internal data. Although TouringPlans.com also predicts crowd levels, we do not have access to all of the information that Disney uses for its estimates. Therefore, to be as accurate as possible, we use Disney’s park hours as factor in our crowd level predictions. So when Disney changes park hours, our Crowd Calendar generally changes. Those of you that utilize our Crowd Tracker have probably noticed.

Over the past few months we have been collecting and analyzing years of Walt Disney World park hours. The result is a full projection model that predicts all elements used in the Crowd Calendar. While it will not totally eliminate changes to the Crowd Calendar, it will even out many of the fluctuations, making the Crowd Calendar more reliable looking into the future.

You may have noticed many changes to our Crowd Calendar numbers since this change has just gone into effect (especially if you had signed up for our Crowd Tracker). Please rest assured that all of this is done solely to increase our accuracy and increase your knowledge as you plan your Disney vacations.

If you have questions or comments, please let us know.

Finally, note that we plan to allow you to see our totally unofficial, projected park hours, but we are not quite at that point yet.  We will certainly let you know when that happens.

Posted on November 22, 2011

22 Responses to “Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar Improvements!”

  • This makes a lot of sense to do, but looking at the dates I’m tracking — which aligns with Easter in years prior (at least last year) but NOT this year, I’m wondering if this is actually an improvement for floating holidays. I’m HOPING the updates (which changed the average crowd level from 4.8 to 10) are incorrect.

    • MDB…I’m guessing you are going on a school vaca on one of the two last weeks of April. We are too. We had MK go from a 5 to a 9 and others jump 2 or 3 points. Do you really think this was because Easter fell in the latter half of April last year therefore skewing the numbers? Should I change my plans for which park we are going to visit and when? We are not doing hoppers so if I need to redo my plan that’ll definitely affect my dining reservations. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated. Thanks all. Can’t wait…5 months and counting.

      • Trying this again because my last post didn’t make it.

        Your are correct — we are arriving on 4/19, which we specifically picked because it was after what we believed to be the main “spring break” season this year (my kids are young enough that we didn’t mind pulling them out of school for a week). You can corroborate what I’m saying by googling for “2012 spring break peak season” and following the link from your first vist dot net.

  • Wow. I booked my trip for 4/17-4/23/12 based on the crowd calendar levels of 4-5 and now they’re at 9’s. I thought spring break and Easter crowds were finished. Now, I am cancelling my trip. Why did the levels increase so dramatically? In the future, how can I trust what the crowd calendar predicts?

  • Okay everyone, don’t go cancelling trips 🙂

    It is possible that Easter has swayed the crowd calendar results for April 2012. It should not have, but I am going to check it out to make sure.

    March and April are notoriously tough becuase of the Spring Break/Easter combo that shifts from year to year. Disney is making it tougher now because they are experiencing higher than average attendance this fall and we don’t know how long that will continue.

    Give me a few days to check into it and see if I made a mistake in the model.

  • I’m about to have a heart attack here… last week April!!!! *sob* Let us know ASAP Brian… with crowd levels like that, we may cancel/reschedule too.

  • I too am very concerned about these revisions. Our trip is from May 5th to 12th. The predicted crowds have gone up quite a bit, close to 9s for some dates that used to be 5s. Considering good dining reservations need to be made so far in advance this is making me rethink our plans. So disappointed 🙁

  • Good(ish) news. I messed up some of the formulas at some point that predict the park hours. Post-Easter April should drop a little bit once we get the crowd calendar re-run.

    I’m not sure when the numbers will change with the holiay tommorrow, but you should see a difference in a few days.

    • Thanks for re-checking, Brian. I’ve got the same issues as Becca and others – park choices for late April based on the earlier iteration of the Crowd Calendar (with dining reservations made last month as the 180-day window opened). I’ve seen crowd levels during our planned visit go from 5s and 6s to all 9s (if it were Spinal Tap it would be 11, huh?).

    • Thanks for responding so quickly. I’ll wait to hear from you before making any changes to my plans.

    • Why did the levels for the first week of May go up? As of 11-19-11, MK was a 5.4 on May 6, 2012 and now it jumped to a 8.4 and the park to avoid. Is it bc of the extra magic hours until 1:00am? We have already made our dining reservations and don’t really want to start rearranging the whole trip. Any chance the numbers for this week we adjust any? I sure hope so! Thanks!

  • OhthankWalt 🙂

  • Count me in the end of April, first week of May crowd. I am actually glad to hear something was amiss with the formula. There is no good reason for 9’s. No special events, no free dining, no huge promotions. I couldn’t imagine any decent reason why the numbers jumped so high.

  • I have friends who are planning to visit WDW during the week between Christmas and New Year’s. They were thinking of trying to park-hop (Epcot & Magic Kingdom), but I’ve been reading of a distinct danger of not being admitted to a park once it’s reached a certain level of crowding. If they started the day at Epcot on a given day that week (with crowd levels pretty much at 10s, with an occasional 9.9), how likely is it that they might not get into the Magic Kingdom after, say, 1 PM or so? I’m thinking that might be a real risk, and they might be better off choosing one park or the other. (They don’t have the opportunity to do more than a day, unfortunately.)

  • I’m not necessarily disputing the predictions, but how can every day for a 6-week stretch (mid March thru April) be a 9 or 10? If 10 is still the top of the scale, that means it will be like Christmas Week every day for six weeks in spring.

  • Any update on the status of the revisions to the model? I’m not noticing any changes to the dates I am tracking.

  • I just got revisions to my dates in late April via the email alert. They all went down, thank heaven!

    • There doesn’t appear to be any adjustment to any of the dates I’m tracking in early May. This just doesn’t make sense to me…post Easter, no special promotions, but the Magic Kingdom is mid-8s almost the whole time we are due to be there. The crowd levels in June are lower than for May at this point.

      • I am going May 4-11 and noticed the big jump also! I am still confused as to why that week is projected to be so crowded. I am hoping for a correction bc I’m getting a little worried. The whole reason we picked the beginning of May was bc crowds shouldn’t be too bad. Maybe I was wrong!

        • Im glad I am not the only one freaking out a little bit. My May 10-19 trip just got a whole lot uglier if these number hold true in may.

          • There are some other crowd predictor sites out there that are still giving end of april, early may as the 8,9,10,11 best weeks to go in 2012. So I am hopeful that the numbers will adjust back to area of where we started. Then again, they dont seem to be as dedicated as TP so hopefully this is just a hiccup in their calculations.