Crowd Calendar Update For December

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Our crowd calendar update for the month of December is on hold while we work out some internal issues with our wait time forecasts. Rest assured, our current calendar is valid and we expect our error rates to be within normal ranges. We want to take more time to find the hamster that has fallen off the wheel before updating the numbers.

If published, our latest refresh of wait time forecasts would have pushed many crowd levels downward on our scale. We can’t find a good reason to validate these dips so we are holding off for now. It wouldn’t be the first time if our models proved to be smarter than we are, but we want to make sure.

There is a lot that is new since our last update and any one of these factors could be impacting our forecasts.

  1. Disney After Hours Events. Although these events don’t impact regular park hours or Extra Magic Hour schedules, their existence makes 2019 look different than years past. Different park conditions can mean different crowds.
  2. Date-based ticket pricing. This is new as well and may be impacting the crowds.
  3. Shortened Park Hours. On some dates we have seen shorter park hours than similar dates in the past. Historically, the park hours are a good proxy for crowd level but when the pattern changes, it can lead to misleading forecasts. We are fairly certain this is a not a main cause however. We tested out new forecasts that used previous years park hours and did not see a significant difference.
  4. Some of the software we use was updated recently. Any debugger knows this can cause strange results in a production environment.

Watch for our update to 2019 Crowd Calendar numbers in early January. Next year will be an interesting one for Walt Disney World and Disneyland as the two resorts welcome the most anticipated new attractions since Avatar and Carsland, respectively.

Fred Hazelton

Fred Hazelton maintains the crowd calendar, theme park wait time models and does hotel rate analysis for the Unofficial Guides. He's also done the models for the new mobile wait times product Lines. Fred Hazelton is a professional statistician living in Ontario, Canada. His email address is fred@touringplans.com. You can also follow him on Twitter: @DisneyStatsWhiz.

2 thoughts on “Crowd Calendar Update For December

  • December 14, 2018 at 1:19 pm
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    Fred,
    Is there any indication from what you are seeing that the crowds will be higher than previously expected this week (Dec 15-23)? Thanks!
    Deb

  • December 14, 2018 at 4:25 pm
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    After Hours is an interesting variable. We skipped the parks for a day on our last trip because we were going to After Hours that night. I wonder how many other visitors opt-out similarly. I think After Hours will eventually be fairly common. And then they’ll gradually lift the “ceiling” on tickets available (a number which I STILL can’t find). Ultimately there will be a “Second Shift” when you can visit the parks. The crowds and hotel rooms are outpacing the park expansions. The only variable left will be to use the hours in the day when the parks aren’t currently open.

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