Recap of Walt Disney World Crowds on Wednesday, May 9, 2012

by on May 10, 2012 70 Comments

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Note: This is a trial blog post intended to summarize our predictions of crowds in Walt Disney World yesterday, and how the crowds actually looked.  Let us know in the comments if this sort of thing is useful, and if there’s anything else you’d like to see.

Here’s a quick recap of yesterday at Walt Disney World.  Let’s start with the Magic Kingdom, Disney World’s most popular park.  We had the Magic Kingdom as a “neutral” park in our crowd calendar, so it was neither the best nor worst to visit on Wednesday.

Starting with Astro Orbiter in Tomorrowland, here’s our predicted waits for Astro Orbiter and the actual wait times posted.

For all graphs, the blue line represents our prediction of Disney’s posted wait times outside each attraction.  The green line represents our estimate of your actual wait in line.  The red dots are actual posted wait times, from that attraction, submitted by TouringPlans staff and Lines users.

Astro Orbiter Wait Times

Astro Orbiter isn’t a particularly popular ride.  It looks like our predictions were very close in the afternoon, and slightly above – maybe 10 minutes – in the morning.

Here’s Buzz Lightyear, also in Tomorrowland:

Buzz Lightyear

You’ll notice that many of the wait times submitted for Tomorrowland are in the morning.  This is probably because Lines users are following one of the Unofficial Guide touring plans for the Magic Kingdom, which generally have folks visiting Tomorrowland early in the day.  From the graph above, our morning predictions for Buzz looked pretty good.

Here’s Space Mountain:

Space Mountain Wait Times

One thing to note: Space Mountain was reported offline around 3:15 pm yesterday, so that may have affected wait times later in the afternoon.

Here’s the Tomorrowland Speedway:

Tomorrrowland Speedway Wait Times

We also had a report of a 5-minute actual wait at the Speedway at 5 pm.  That’s slightly lower than we would have predicted.

On to Fantasyland.  Here’s the crowd level for the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh:

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

Looks like we were a couple of minutes underpredicting around 10 am, and 7 or 8 minutes overpredicting around 1 pm.  But Pooh was reported offline just before noon, so perhaps crowds were just returning back to the attraction at 1 pm.

Here’s the Mad Tea Party:

The Mad Tea Party

Pretty close all morning.  We also had a report of a 7-minute actual wait just before 3 pm, meaning our predicted actual wait was closer than Disney’s posted wait estimate.

Time for a look at everyone’s favorite flying elephant, Dumbo:

Dumbo the Flying Elephant

See that report of a 20-minute posted wait time at 9 pm?  The same user reported an actual wait of 9 minutes, so Lines was once again more accurate than Disney’s posted wait time.   I’m really happy with these results: we were very close on these estimates throughout the day, and Dumbo is a favorite attraction of small children and their parents.

Wondering what the newly reopened and re-themed Barnstormer was like on Wednesday?  Here are the reported wait times:

The Barnstormer

I’m not sure how accurate those posted waits of 10 minutes were at 9:15 am, especially since the posted waits dropped a little after that,.  Maybe someone forgot to reset the sign last night.  😛  Also, see that report of a 20-minute posted wait at 3:30 pm?  Same user reported an actual wait of 16 minutes, which is almost exactly what we predicted as an actual wait.  So far it looks like chocolate bars all around for the stats team.

Off to Londontown and Peter Pan’s Flight:

Peter Pan's Flight

Looks like we overestimated the wait here a bit before 11 am, but it evened out.  And I have to give Peter Pan’s Castmembers credit: The posted wait just after 9 am was 5 minutes, and the actual wait was 5 minutes according to our Lines users.  Can’t get more accurate than that.

Finishing up Fantasyland, here are the wait times for It’s a Small World:

It's a Small World

Waits were pretty low throughout the day, just as we predicted.  There was a slight uptick just before 1 pm, which we didn’t quite predict.  But who doesn’t need a couple more minutes in that queue in order to memorize those catchy lyrics?

On to Liberty Square.  Here’s what the Haunted Mansion looked like yesterday:

The Haunted Mansion

At first glance it looks like we underpredicted Mansion’s waits in the morning and afternoon.  However, we got reports of actual wait times of 4 minutes around 9:45 am, 1 minute at 6:15 pm and 4 minutes at 8:30 pm.  So it looks like our estimates were closer to reality than the Mansion’s Castmembers were estimating.  Incidentally, having our fabulous Lines users submit actual wait times is incredibly helpful in figuring out what’s happening when our estimates don’t match Disney’s.  If you’ve ever submitted an actual wait time through our mobile app Lines, thank you very much!

There are not usually long waits for either Hall of Presidents or the Liberty Belle Riverboat in Liberty Square, so we’ll move on to Frontierland.  With Big Thunder down for refurbishment, Splash Mountain is the biggest game in town.  Here’s what it looked like on Wednesday:

Splash Mountain

Looks like we overestimated the wait at Splash.  The morning temperatures were just below 80F, so I don’t think cold weather had anything to do with it.  The humidity was dropping throughout the morning, but still around 70% or so, so I don’t think that would have made the morning feel cooler than it was.  I’ll ask the stats guys to take a look at this.

Until we figure out a way to time the waits at the Pecos Bill’s fixin’s bar, that’s all we need to see in Frontierland for now.  On to Adventureland!  First stop is Pirates of the Caribbean:

Pirates of the Caribbean

Not much to see here – we said Pirates would be slow and it was.  Let’s see what was happening over at Jungle Cruise.

Jungle Cruise

Another attraction that it looks like we overestimated for the morning.  Perhaps the stats guys were up late watching The African Queen and fell a little too in love with Humphrey Bogart.  Or perhaps our estimates are exactly correct and the general public is just completely underestimating the kitchy humor of this attraction, and should be flocking to Jungle Cruise in droves.  Hmmmm … perhaps I’ll ask the stats guys to take another look at their models.

Fortunately, we did much better at Magic Carpets of Aladdin:

Magic Carpets of Aladdin

One day when I have time, I’m going to try to explain the difference in appeal between Aladdin, Dumbo and TriceraTop Spin.  Or maybe hire a grad student.  I hear they’ll work for mac and cheese, which probably fits within our budget.

That’s it for the Magic Kingdom.  Overall I’d say we did a pretty decent job.  On to Epcot, which we had recommended as the best park to visit yesterday.

Let’s start with Soarin’, the most popular attraction in the park:


Three sample wait times isn’t a lot, and that posted wait of 5 minutes at park closing is really interesting.  My sense is that there were just not a lot of people at Epcot to enter wait times.

Also in The Land pavilion is my all-time favorite boat ride through a hydroponic greenhouse.  (You’d be surprised how often those appear in my line of work.)  Here’s what the waits looked like at Living with The Land:

Living with the Land

A pretty slow day.  If you wanted to, I bet you could have eaten your weight in hydroponic tomatoes on the Behind the Seeds tour.

Let’s check out Sum of All Thrills in Innoventions East.  (Interesting side note: I toured Epcot with Sam Gennawey last weekend.  Sam’s an urban designer and author of the new book Walt and the Promise of Progress City, about how urban design influenced Walt’s ideas for Epcot.  Sam pointed out that the left side of Future World – Future World East – represents technology of the future, while Future World West represents the “nature” of the future.  If you think about the attractions on the West side – The Seas, The Land, Imagination – and the space, car, and energy-focused attractions on the east side, it makes sense!  Look for more of Sam’s insights in an upcoming Unofficial Guide podcast.)

Anyway, here’s Sum of All Thrills:

Sum of All Thrills

It looks like there were not a lot of people here, and our estimates of that were pretty accurate.

Before we leave Future World, let’s check out Spaceship Earth:

Spaceship Earth

I like how we didn’t get estimates until 5 pm.  Either people were taking the Unofficial Guide’s advice and not riding Spaceship Earth until later in the day, or they were arriving at the park for dinner in World Showcase.  Both of those are fabulous ideas.  Speaking of World Showcase, there are only a couple of attractions with queues worth mentioning.  One of them is Norway’s Maelstrom, and here’s how it looked:


Looks like our estimates were pretty close.   Moving back to Mexico, let’s see if anyone has woken up from a really bad Cinco de Mayo hangover and decided to ride the Gran Fiesta Tour:

Gran Fiesta Tour

Nope.  Not many people there, and not much of a wait.

In short, we recommended Epcot as a good park to visit, and these wait times indicate that was a good suggestion.  Let’s compare Epcot to the Studios, which we had recommended people avoid.

The most popular attraction in the Studios is Toy Story Mania.  Here’s what the wait times looked like yesterday:

Toy Story Mania

A couple of things to note here.  First, notice how many more wait time submissions we had for Toy Story Mania, at the park we said would be busy, than for Soarin’, Disney World’s most popular ride, at Epcot, the park we said would have low crowds.  The second thing to note: Lines users – what are y’all doing at the Studios?  It was busy!

Last thing about TSM: Those posted waits in the early morning are vastly higher than actual waits.  For example, two Lines users submitted actual waits of 14 and 18 minutes between 9:15 am and 9:30 am.  I think the Toy Story Mania CMs may have posted higher waits than were strictly necessary in the early morning.  And again, thank you to the Lines users who enter actual wait times!

Back to Sunset Boulevard, here were the waits for Rock ‘n Roller Coaster:

Rock 'n Roller Coaster

There’s a fairly large difference between the posted waits and our estimates, and I’ve asked the stats team to take a look.  Perhaps the park was slightly more crowded than we thought.  Also, because many families can get tour the Studios in under ten hours, you frequently see a drop in attendance at the Studios after dinner if the Studios does not have evening Extra Magic hours.  And we saw this yesterday: four separate users submit actual waits of 5 minutes, 9 minutes, 8 minutes and 8 minutes between 5:40 and 6:15 pm.  Granted, that’s during dinner time, when you’d expect a drop in waits as people go into restaurants, but that’s a pretty low set of waits.  It’s also the basis for a good “wait out the crowds” touring plan strategy if you get to the parks later in the morning.

Staying on Sunset Boulevard, our estimates were better at the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror:

Tower of Terror

Back up Hollywood Boulevard, here’s how busy the Great Movie Ride [of Death – ed.] was:

The Great Movie Ride

This attraction hasn’t undergone a major update in … ever?  Even during super busy times, it’s unusual to see the attraction with more than a 30-minute wait.  Incidentally, it looks like Disney underestimated the wait at GMR in the morning.  A Lines user reported a posted wait of 5 minutes around 9:30 am, and an actual wait of 14 minutes.  I think our estimate was more accurate than Disney’s (again).

Moving over to Echo Lake, here’s what Star Tours looked like throughout the day:

Star Tours

Ah, I remember when Star Tours 2 opened and Disney was projecting six-hour waits.  Those were the days! Again, it’s not that the park wasn’t busy.  More people submitted wait times for Star Tours than Soarin’ at Epcot.  But it’s a reflection that once you’ve been on Star Tours 2 a couple of times, you’ve seen it.

Rounding out the Studios attractions is the Backlot Tour.  Here’s what it looked like yesterday:

Studios Backlot Tour

A little busier than we expected.  Fair enough – we said the park would be crowded.

Last, but not least, let’s head over to the Animal Kingdom to see what the crowds were like.  We had the Animal Kingdom rated “neutral” on our crowd calendar.

We’ll start with Dinoland U.S.A. and go counter-clockwise around the Animal Kingdom.  Here’s what Dinosaur looked like yesterday:


Not bad.  Our estimates look great in the morning, only off by 5 minutes during the afternoon, and back in line towards the evening.

Here’s what Primeval Whirl’s queues were like:

Primeval Whirl

That posted wait time of 0 minutes at 9:45 am is interesting.  We had something like an estimate of 5 minutes, and it’s just a little unusual to see a 0-minute wait (to me, anyway – the stats guys may say I need to pay more attention).  But overall our estimates looked pretty good.

Here’s TriceraTop Spin:

TriceraTop Spin

I don’t have much to say here other than every time I type “TriceraTop Spin” I want to add a “g” to the end, making it “TriceraTop Sping.”  And I have no idea what a sping is.  If anyone sees one for sale on eBay, let me know.

On to Africa and the Kilimanjaro Safaris.  The Safaris is still a popular attraction, and it’s nice to see the new storyline de-emphasizing the “poacher” narrative.  Not that we shouldn’t be aware of poaching, but if you ride the attraction more than twice, it gets a little tiresome.  Incidentally, I heard Disney dropped a similar narrative at their Wild Africa Trek – if you’ve been on it recently, drop me a line and let me know.   Okay, here’s the queue at the Safaris:

Kilimanjaro Safaris

I have to add this: Two Lines users posted actual waits of 25 minutes at 9:18 am, and 26 minutes at 9:28 am.  Once again, the actual wait time estimate (and posted!) in our mobile app Lines was a more accurate prediction of the wait than what Disney had.

Walking over to Asia to end our day at the Animal Kingdom, here’s what Kali River Rapids looked like:

Kali River Rapids

Kali River Rapids

Ah, that’s really interesting, and I wish we had some actual wait times to corroborate these posted times. For one thing, Splash Mountain was slower than we predicted in the morning, while Kali appears to be more crowded than we thought.  I don’t think it was weather.  I mean, I think the Animal Kingdom feels slightly warmer, on average, than the other parks on any given day, but not enough to explain this.  Let’s keep an eye on these wait times for the next few days to see if the trend continues.  Worst case is we temporarily relocate the stats team’s desks to the tiger enclosure until they get this resolved.

Finally, everyone’s favorite disable yeti is at Expedition Everest.  Here’s what the lines looked like at Everest on Wednesday:

Expedition Everest

Looks like our predictions were within 5 minutes most of the day.  Also, we had a user report an actual wait of 0 minutes just before 9 am, meaning Lines’ estimate of the posted and actual times was more accurate than Disney’s.

Last Words

That does it for our tour around the lines at Walt Disney World for Wednesday, May 9, 2012.  If you’ve made it this far, thanks very much!  Please provide any comments and suggestions below.  Constructive feedback is always appreciated.

See you in the parks!


Posted on May 10, 2012

70 Responses to “Recap of Walt Disney World Crowds on Wednesday, May 9, 2012”

  • OMG! My inner geek is shaking with excitement over all the wonderful graphs!

    • Thanks Marian! I may need photos here to break up the charts. I think we have some from today in the parks. Let’s see how they look tomorrow.

  • This is great stuff. I think it will be really useful. I hope to see more of this. Would it be possible to add a Crowd Level to each section alongside the Park Recommendation (i.e. MK was “neutral” – Crowd Level = 5)? Not a necessity by any means, but might add perspective without having to look it up separately. Thanks for all y’all do.

  • You were just trying to see if we were actually reading this when you got to the “sping” weren’t you?
    Like this a lot, and it would be helpful if this type information were available for each park crowd level 1-10. You could click on “What will a crowd level 1 look like:” Keep it up, so useful!

    • Interesting idea. One of the things about the overall crowd level for a park is that it’s based on the crowd level of several individual attractions.

      So it’s possible, for example, to have the same crowd level at the Animal Kingdom over two separate days, even if the crowd levels at Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest are different each day.

      That may be something worth explaining. Let me see what we can do.

  • There are plenty of pretty pics on the other blog posts–it’s fine to have a graph-tastic post every now and then.

    I’m curious to see similar graphs for character Meet and Greets.

    • Ah – Meet and Greets. Yes. Let me add some.

    • YES!!! Graphs to show when the lowest wait for the Play and Greet for Rapunzel (soon to be the girl from Brave) and the Fairies! Some of those lines can be over an hour long at times!

    • Oh that would be great. We don’t do character meals since the kids are too busy looking around to actually eat so meet and greet character charts would be AWESOME!

  • How did you hammer this out in one day? Amazing analysis and modeling. It is also fun reliving my day at MK yesterday through little red dots. Have to agree about providing a primer of “if Crowd Level X expect wait time on ride A to be Y.” Finally, may want to consider Actual wait times for Fast Pass on certain rides. On 5/8 had 35 minute wait time at 1:00 PM in FP line for TS Midway Mania with no apparent ride issues.

    • Wow – 35 minutes in a FP line? I’ll ask around on that.

    • by David Davies on May 11, 2012, at 6:41 am EST

      I suspect 35 minutes is uncommon, but the “merge point” for FASTPASS riders on Toy Story Mania is pretty early relative to other attractions. I can see how an annoyingly long FASTPASS wait could result. It wouldn’t surprise me if at least 100 riders could be crammed into the merged line, going up the stairs, into one switchback, and then back down the stairs.

    • I would love to know what the wait time would be on the FP line! Another layer, but certainly useful. I mean, you get the FP, thinking you are avoiding a wait, and often there is still a substantial wait once you get in there, either because the lines converge into standby rather early in the queue, or the attraction is just really popular.
      This happened to me a few times on our vacation last month, and being a rookie, I was caught off guard.

  • Honestly, I think it is TOO much info. Also, knowing what the park was like YESTERDAY I don’t think is all that useful. Interesting, maybe. But not useful. If you could somehow harness this info in a way that can help predict TOMORROW, that would be useful. In other words, if you collected data for today, 5/10, and then as soon as possible post any needed corrections to 5/11 crowd calendar. Either way, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you guys are the BEST!

    • Hey Adam-

      Yesterday’s times are definitely included in the calculation of today’s times. I think some of the changes may sometimes be subtle, because we’re using so many days’ worth of data. But they’re definitely there.

  • Good information. I think knowing how the parks were yesterday and how they compared to your estimates is very useful. Gives me even more confidence in following your touring plans.

  • Great stuff! I majored in Statistics ( a loooong time ago) and I still love to read graphs 😉
    Love to get the honest feedback about where the predictions were on-track and also where things went a bit off. Keep it up, please.

  • While I like the post and is fun to read, I would prefer more like the previous technical post that compared the total touring and waiting times for each crowd level and touring plan.

    Also, can someone please let me know the precise way to time my actual wait times for our upcoming memorial day trip? For example, at soarin, am I correct to start timing as soon as I walk in the queue entrance until I am wearing my seatbelt or until we “lift off” or do I stop timing when the “pre-show” movie starts/ends? Thanks!

    • Hey Russ-

      Start timing your wait as soon as you stop walking inside the queue. For example, if you walk into Soarin’s queue entrance and don’t stop until you’re sitting in the seat, then that’s a wait of 0 minutes. If you stop walking just at the point where you see the ride’s pre-show video start, then that’s probably going to be a 3 or 4 minute wait.

      Ride pre-shows are not considered part of the ride. The reason is that some pre-shows, such as Tower of Terror, put you into another queue, and the wait in that queue can be fairly long.

      Stop the timer as soon as you’re in your seat.

      Let me know if that isn’t clear. Good question. Thanks!

      • You may get more accurate reporting if this point were made more explictly on the Lines app. Maybe even as part of an intro or welcome screen. As an occasional Lines submitter, I’m now realizing that I was likely giving inaccurate reporting because I wasn’t sure exactly when to start my timing.

      • Len-

        I’ve emailed about this very thing, and gotten a different answer than what you’re saying.

        For instance, you have the durations of Tower of Terror as 15 minutes, and the duration of RnR as 10 minutes- which is WAY longer than seat belt to end of ride. I was told that attractions with a pre-show like this were considered to “start” when the pre-show started… otherwise the ride durations are off, right?

        Also- your Soarin’ example above brings up a good question: If the wait time isn’t starting until the queue stops moving, how does the optimizer account for that long distance walked? It seems like there’s 2 or 3 minutes first thing in the morning that aren’t being accounted for. And after the ride is over, can the system account for the long walk back to the entrance of the attraction before calculating the walk time to the next attraction in the plan?

        Great stuff here!


      • Wouldn’t that create an apples-to-oranges comparison with WDW’s posted times. I base this on the fact that you when you get one of those timecards from a CM, they are usually at the beginning of the queue. If our clock doesn’t start ticking until we stop walking in the queue couldn’t that skew the results a little?

      • Len, this info most definitely needs to be made more clear to all. And if true, I can’t see how *any* wait time for Mission Space could ever be less than 10 minutes (15 even?), as the multiple pre-shows seem to take at least that long prior to when one actually gets seated.

  • With all due respect, I fail to see the value in this collection of graphs, and fear I may be missing something. Correct me if I’m wrong: you are comparing your prediction of actual wait times and your prediction of Disney’s posted wait times, with ACTUAL POSTED wait times, but only anecdotally mention ACTUAL WAIT times.
    I think the value of your unbelievable service is in its ability to accurately predict actual wait times, not posted times, so I would have found it way more useful to see a line (or dots) on the graphs representing how close anyone was to what actually happened.

    • Thanks Sharon! I’ve asked our team to include the actuals in the graphs. I was thinking of using orange dots to represent those. Any preference for a color?

      • Haha, orange would be just fine!

        I happen to find it very useful to see how accurate you were, and a little self-kudos is well deserved! And it might also help illustrate to some users how off Disney posted waits can sometimes be, and thus confirm how much more meaningful your predicted waits are.

        When Touring Plans requested my feedback on a recent trip, I shared an encounter I had at Tower of Terror: I checked Lines for the FP return, saw 5:35. Went to get my FP, ignoring the sign that said return time 3:30. CM says, “That’s not the right time, it’s 5:30.” I say, “Yeah, I know!”.
        Love it! Thanks again!!

      • by Heather Lousie on May 11, 2012, at 10:31 am EST

        I agree with Sharon, I would love to see the actual wait times on the graph as well. Originally that is what I thought the dots were, after about two graphs I went back to re-read the legend for the graph and it made more sense.

        • TOTALLY agree, would love to see actual wait times included in the graphs, though to your credit you do often mention them in the text accompanying them.

  • So if I’m reading this right, you collected a total of 13 wait times over the course of the day at Epcot? How is that then translated into the very specific actual crowd level that you report daily? And zero actual wait times collected? Is that normal? I don’t see how you can say that Epcot is a 3.7 or whatever with just three wait times collected at Soarin and you know most of the other rides are just going to have 5 or 10 minute posted wait times.

    • Thanks for the note, Ralph. It’s unusual for us to get so few wait times (15, I think) at Epcot. We’re taking a number of steps now to address that, including rotating our own staff through the parks, and making it easier for Lines folks to enter actual wait times.

      As far as whether 15 wait times is enough to say the park was a 3.7, I’ll ask the stats guys to weigh in on that. My sense, without doing the math, is that the odds of the 3.7 being significantly off is low given the wait times we did get. (Put another way, what are the odds that the wait times observed would be what they were, if 3.7 was wrong?) I think I know how to do the math but want to make sure.

      • Len, I think part of the problem with entering actual wait times isn’t the app, but the fact that often when one enters a ride queue, mobile connectivity is reduced or eliminated as one goes inside the building, making it difficult. We never had any connectivity in Soarin’ or Mission Space. A number of times, I would press “start” when I got to the queue, then when it was time to hit “stop”, there was no connectivity. I would cancel it because I didn’t want to enter inaccurate times.

        I have no idea how one could possibly adapt the app to accommodate this, other than having people enter the time manually, rather than via the “timer”. Then you’re relying on people keeping track… when perhaps they should be enjoying their family. 😉

        • I don’t believe that cell connectivity should affect timing actual waits. You navigate to the attraction you want in Lines before entering the queue, when you still have a signal. You hit start on the timer when you hit resistance in the queue, and hit stop when you get to your seat — neither step needs connectivity. Then you wait until you exit and have a signal again to hit submit. Works every time for me.

  • In all honesty, it’s not exactly what I’d find useful. It seems to serve mostly as an illustration of how good your predictions are, and I think that those of us who read the blog already have a lot of faith in your system. I’d probably skip it and move onto the next post.

  • I think this information would be awesome to have in the historical data like how we can look up previous dates park recommendations and how they actually turned out. I don’t know that I’d read a daily blog about it but it would be helpful when trying to plan a trip. I often will check the previous years crowd calendar before booking a trip.

  • by Andrew Drummond on May 11, 2012, at 7:58 am EST

    Seriously Len,

    I had work to do today, and now I’m going to spend the day looking at this… you are going to be responsible for the next economic downturn.

  • I think the chart is extremely helpful!! I’ll admit it took me reading thru it a few times to figure out what everthing was supposed to represent…LOL. For my purposes, I’d like to see what the actual wait times were, rather than what Disney posted. We all know Disney posts longer than expected wait times, so that when guests think they will wait 40 minutes to ride Space Mountain, and they only wait 30 minutes, they are happier. What I want to see, is what you PREDICT the wait time to be, and what the ACTUAL wait time is. What you think Disney will post, and what they do post, really isn’t a big factor, becasue we know Disney will over post.

    • Thanks Jennifer! Our stats guy Steve has volunteered to add the actual wait times, and the reported outages, to the graphs.

      We’re encouraging our Lines users to submit actual wait times more often, too.

  • The finance guy in me loves the graphs. I’d love to see them all the time, but I can see how folks would not want to them show up on the blog all the time (especially if you’re using an RSS feed). Would it be possible to have them as a page on the site that updates each day? That way, those of that want to see them could do so, while others wouldn’t have to.

  • by Andrew Drummond on May 11, 2012, at 8:29 am EST

    One of the best features of this is that it is a place that you can see all the graphs in one place, rather than separated by park. Correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t think there is a way on the site right now to compare Space Mountain to TSMM without switching back and forth between web pages.

    Also, I think that there is a glitch in the charts with respect to expected waits at Tower of Terror and Rock n’ Roller Coaster. It doesn’t line up with what’s on the crowd calendar (Tower of Terror shouldn’t have a longer wait that RnRC)

    (Also, if I get a vote on the colour of actual wait time dots, I’d pick black and make them slightly larger.)

    I’d also like to agree about meet and greets. They can be the hardest things to try and gauge how long it will take. Along the same lines, is there any data that you have on Jedi Training Academy and when the available slots get taken?

    • Thanks Andrew! I’ll check the charts for ToT and RnRC.

    • I think I will go a little further, and propose this:
      Blue line: your ESTIMATE of what Disney’s POSTED wait will be
      Blue dots: Disney’s ACTUAL (user submitted) POSTED wait
      Green line: your estimate of ACTUAL wait times
      Green dots: ACTUAL (user submitted) waits
      It might be easier to know what is being compared to what.
      (Lines are estimates, dots are actual; blue is Disney, green is you guys)
      PS I think of you guys as red due to your logo, so getting even more picky, I might even change the greens to reds 🙂

  • Thanks for the excellent info Len. This was a fascinating read, however, I suspect that posts like this may skew your user demographic a bit toward the “male users who speak a bit of Klingon” end of the spectrum!

    Anyway, I have a question. I’ve used the lines app to submit actual wait times in the past, but I sometimes forget to hit the start button on the timer just when I enter the line. Since there is no way ( as far as I can tell) to enter extra time manually I am not able to enter the actual time spent waiting. I’m wondering two things 1) would it be possible to add a manual override 2) do you think times may sometimes be under-reported because users forget to start the timer on time, thus leading to shorter timer readings than the actual wait?

    I’m going to the World solo (for the first time ever!) next week, and without wife and kid in tow plan to geek out and play Lines über-researcher for a day. And since I’m solo, there won’t be a soul to make fun of me 😉

    • Thanks Eric. I’ll ask the developers if there’s a way to do a manual override.

      Good luck with your trip! And thanks for using Lines. Look for people with red shirts in the parks!

  • I found this information helpful and fascinating and would enjoy seeing it on a regular basis. I would agree that seeing the distributon of actual wait times around the predicted wait times would be another piece of great information.

  • Fascinating the see the inner workings of what you guys do to refine your predictions. Would probably hit the point of diminishing returns pretty fast for you to post this every day, but I’d love to see something like this periodically. Keep up the great work!

    • Thanks James. I have another blog post for yesterday, coming up shortly. After that it may be a couple times per week. Perhaps we post enough to show the difference between each park when it’s rated ‘best’ and ‘worst’.

  • I love the transparency Len, but like Sharon, I also feel like these graphs don’t really prove anything about the value of Lines. These graphs show that Lines usually predicts a shorter wait time than Disney. That doesn’t tell me anything about the accuracy of Lines predictions. Plotting the user reported ACTUAL WAIT TIMES against the Lines prediction is going to tell me how accurate Lines is. If you’re plotting Reported Posted Times with red circles, I suggest plotting Actual Wait Times with hollow red circles, or asterisks. I’m not color blind, but best to keep in mind those users that might be.

  • by Marisa Richardson on May 11, 2012, at 12:54 pm EST

    Oh, how I love a good graph. These in particular give me warm fuzzies and give further evidence that I can trust Touring Plans to tell me exactly what I need to know for our next trip to The World. Thanks for all the work you do!
    Now, let’s see a graph of the correlation between Disney Geek and Stats Geek.

  • How do you submit actual wait times on lines? I only see a place for posted times.

    • I’m with Gutz. Clearly for the future graphs to be more accurate we all will have to start submitting actual wait times. But how exactly is that done?

      • You have to enter 10 posted waits first, then Lines lets you enter actual times. Let me know if y’all think that’s too restrictive – we can change it.

        • Does that same 10 post rule apply to folks using the “non smart phone” browser app for lines? For whatever its worht, I think that rule is to restrictive. Thanks!!

        • by Marisa Richardson on May 12, 2012, at 9:57 am EST

          10 seems a little restrictive. Maybe 5? I agree that there’s a learning curve involved and you want to minimize erroneous data, but I think I could get the hang of entering times after a try or two. Could you lift the limit, but throw out a person’s first submitted actual wait times? That way there’s a more practical practice element.

          • by Marisa Richardson on May 12, 2012, at 9:59 am EST

            Since I haven’t posted any wait times yet, I don’t know what the app looks like for submitting actual times, so this might be a moot question: Is there a timer? Are there instructions for when to start and stop the timer for each attraction?

          • Yes, there’s a timer and there are instructions for when to start and stop the timer. I think we may be able to provide more clarification for certain attractions, such as those with pre-shows. Good idea. Let me see what we can do.

    • by kcaseybooks on May 11, 2012, at 2:42 pm EST

      I was wondering the same thing. And is the timer on the same screen?

  • Len says: “Let us know in the comments if this sort of thing is useful, and if there’s anything else you’d like to see.”

    Yes! Yes! A thousand times yes! The combination of hard data and quirky humor is why I subscribed to in the first place. More, please! (For example, in a blog post awhile back Fred posted graphs showing historical peak wait times over the years for a couple of attractions. I’d love to see that be accessible for every attraction.)

  • 1 more thing: Len commented on posted wait times for Toy Story Mania being higher than actual waits. That was my experience during out last WDW trip, too. We were there for morning EMH and the posted wait time at 45 minutes after park opening was 80 minutes. I looked inside and it looked nowhere close to that, so took a shot and got in line. Actual wait was only 22 minutes, and by the time I left they’d reduced the posted wait time to 35 minutes.

    I don’t know if it’s a strategy of theirs to post high standby wait times as a way to move crowds to other parts of the park, operator error or what, but just wanted to comment that our experience was consistent with what Len saw on the day in question.

    • OK, just 1 more thing and I’m done, I promise: I agree with the others that it would be even more helpful to add the reported *actual* wait time to the graph. Maybe reported posted wait times as a red dot, and reported actual wait times as a green dot.

    • Oh, that particular thing – where the wait drops by more than 1 minute for every minute that passes – drives me crazy. On an attraction such as TSMM, which is pretty much running at full capacity all day, it should never happen.

      • Technically, if the wait times were theoretically 100% accurate, the only ride for which that might be possible would have been the old “Back to the Future” ride at Universal — where you were presumably riding in a time machine! 😉

  • So, we had different results of actual line times that is being posted in your analysis of lines on Wed and Thurs. We spent Wed afternoon at Animal Kingdom and don’t have a smart phone (I know we are one of the few) so don’t post lines data. However, We walked right on to Kilamanjaro safaris at 3:15pm -no wait whatsoever, then used our fast passes later for Kali River Rapids. We did a rider swap and the second time I went on with the person who had been back with the baby, people were getting off the ride and jumping back in line with less than a five minute wait. This was between 5-5:15 (not sure of actual time as it was over a day ago!). This doesn’t match up with what you have posted.
    Wish I had exact times for you on other attractions we saw that didn’t seem to match any of the data listed, however I can’t remember all times and don’t want to give you inaccurate data.

    Also-used the optimized touring plan for EMH on Thurs morning in magic kingdom and it worked great! Even threw in an extra ride on Dumbo, Buzz lightyear, and three rides on the carousel for my kids and still stayed on trakc with the plan until the Buzz Lightyear meet and greet que threw us off. However did 14 attractions with three children under 6, two seniors, and 2 parents before noon!