Well, the first few Annual Passholder previews of the new Fantasyland have passed, and the effect on crowds at the Magic Kingdom has been underwhelming–significantly less than our crowd level predictions had suggested.

That’s good news for theme park visitors but bad news for us stats guys. We don’t like estimates that miss the mark, but we stand by our choice to be conservative with our estimates. Predicting crowd levels during new events that have no history can be very difficult. Without historical data to comb through, estimation starts to enter into the realm of guess-timation.

As we do every day, we will still be watching crowds at the Magic Kingdom very closely to see if the crowds remain manageable during the Passholder previews. In the meantime, watch for reductions in our estimates for Magic Kingdom crowds on November 13 and 14.


  1. It was quite a relief that the predictions were over the actual crowds. I was a bit worried when the crowd predictions kept increasing. We visited the New Fantasyland Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday nights after Wishes and last night was the most crowded but still a very small crowd. Last night was also the first night that our annual pass was requested. The new area is beautiful. Thanks for all you do in helping me plans my vacations. Now if you can just be wrong about your predictions for Easter week ; )

  2. I think you guys can make things predictable again… I think that Disney extended the hours because they expected more passholders to stick around before and after their preview. They didn’t. In fact, they didn’t have as many passholders show up as they expected… because we aren’t passholders, and we got in!

    Basically, you probably could predict based on the type and frequency of event. In the case of “One More Disney Day,” the scarcity of availability should elevate your prediction… the promotion is available for everyone for exactly one day. In the case of these previews, there is little scarcity… eleven days with multiple timeslots per day, theoretically for a subset of the general population.

  3. We were in MK on Tues and Wed and crowds were not bad. At least one point on Tues they opened up the preview to all visitors. We enjoyed it and had lunch at Be Our Guest!

  4. I’m curious about the historical crowd level of 8.6 that you show for Tuesday, 11/6. Photos and reports from people who were there indicate that the crowds were very light, with virtually no wait times. Is the 8.6 (down only .1 from your predicted 8.7) correct?

    • In short, no, it is not correct. We know that the level was much lower than that. It has to do with our detection process for days that are unusually different from what was observed in the past. Certainly, the culmination of the cancellation of Jersey Week, the increased park hours and the under-attended Annual Passholder previews constituted an unusual situation.

      We are working on a solution and expect to update those historical figures soon.

  5. Thanks, Fred. I am feeling relieved that I may not be stuck in crowdss. I was really getting anxious about of this.

    • Glad for you Debbie. Although we regret having been off with the estimates we still feel it was justifiable to err on the conservative side. Better to be prepared for large crowds that don’t show up than to be unprepared for a surprise influx of guests.

  6. I agree with Patrick. Stats are great, but only when combined with real-world common sense. If you consider things like event scarcity/availability, it would be easy to come up with more accurate predictions. Most people knew that the crowds were not going to be as high as you predicted (as was evident with comments all over various Disney boards). I understand that you wanted to be “conservative” in your predictions, but you were wildly off this time. As a subscriber, I rely on your company for accurate predictions. When you only use stats (and ignore real-world intricacies), you run the risk of letting down your clientele. This obviously is not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things, but as a customer, I was disappointed in your decision to ignore the special circumstances of these Passholder Previews and rely solely on your stats.

    • I agree with most of what you wrote Meredith, other than the comment that this “is not a huge deal”. We take it hard when we are off by more than a 3 index levels. Luckily, it doesn’t happen very often but we do share your disappointment in this case.

      We certainly didn’t ignore the circumstances of the Passholder Previews. We always try to incorporate common sense into our predictions but we are also committed to data-driven estimates. We have seen enough examples where our wait time data disproves something that was commonly accepted as truth.

      Thanks for your comments, we always welcome the feedback.

  7. Since my teen dughter got hooked on the Sorcerers’ game last Friday, we have been going to MK for a few hours each day, and will be there again today. Great for MK guests, that crowds levels have been lower than anticipated, and more of us have been able to enjoy the new Belle and Ariel attractions, without prior reservations.
    I appreciate your amazing resource for our months-in-advance pre-planning and the updated numbers that reflect crowd changes. “Conservative” works for me, as I would rather be happily surprised, than stuck in non-moving crowds.

  8. Prediction of 2+ was good for MK last night. We went for our preview lottery night and the crowds were low. Good job!

    However, as a passholder who went through all the drama of getting a preview date, I was somewhat let down to see that they were letting anyone preview last night. We had a great time, but it was in no way an “exclusive” preview. We went, checked in, etc, but saw more people without wristbands than with them in the area. I’m wondering if they just didn’t get the numbers they thought they would for the lottery and decided to go with a soft open in that time, instead.

  9. What are your thoughts for future crowd predictions, specifically January? I know that they are higher than last year due in part to the Fantasyland expansion. Do you think that these will also be not as high as predicted since the preview attendance was not as high as anticipated?

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