Posts Tagged ‘Crowd Calendar’

Disney World Crowd Calendar Report – November 29 to December 5, 2015

by on December 8, 2015

How did the Disney World Crowd Calendar do last week?

How did the Disney World Crowd Calendar do last week?

Last week the Disney World Crowd Calendar predicted crowd levels to bounce up and down each day in a flattened “w” shape. As it turns out, that is exactly what we observed but the “w” wasn’t so flat. The resort wide numbers were within one crowd level of what we observed each day with the only exception being Friday when all four parks were one or two levels higher than predicted.

Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week on the Disney World Crowd Calendar Report:

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My Top 10 Disney World Time Savers

by on October 26, 2015

Whenever I’m at Walt Disney World, I’m all about taking advantage of every valuable minute so I can squeeze as much magic and memories as possible. Unfortunately, there are number of factors and obstacles that tend to zap some of my valuable vacation time, ranging from long wait times for my favorite attraction to having to wait for buses. I’ve learned a few tricks over the years for how to better maximize my time in the magic, and today I’m letting you in on a few of the best in My Top 10 Disney World Time Savers.

TyphoonLagoon ClockTower10. Strategize Your FastPass+ Reservations – FastPass+ is all about saving guests time in line, but to truly maximize the service some strategy is necessary. For starters, do NOT book a FastPass+ for a show. Typically — although there are exceptions on especially busy days — FastPass+ does not get you into a show any quicker as you have to wait for the show ahead of you to end. By that time, the standby crowd has already caught up to those who used the service. In addition, the theaters for the shows at the parks are huge and almost everyone can secure themselves a great seat even without a FastPass+. What I’ve learned is to save those FastPass+ reservation slots for attractions. Secondly, don’t book a FastPass+ reservation for a time within the first two hours of park opening. Even on busy days, most attractions are walk-ons within that first hour and lengthy lines don’t really form until about two hours into the day. One of the best time saving strategies of all is to arrive at the park for rope-drop and then ride the most popular attractions first, saving FastPass+ reservation slots for the attractions you want to ride or re-ride in the afternoon or evening or for another park you plan to visit later in the day.

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MyMagic+ and Last-Minute Trips: Planned Spontaneity Advanced Course

by on July 24, 2015

Spaceship Earth MyMagic+

Sometimes you just need a last-minute trip to Disney World.

If you caught my previous article on planned spontaneity and MyMagic+, there is one flaw you might have noticed – it requires that you know far in advance that you are taking a trip to Walt Disney World. So the question is, “How do you plan for spontaneity when you decide to take a trip in the next 30 days?”

Before I launch into my method for planned spontaneity for last-minute trips, I first want to make one tiny thing clear: you don’t have to plan for spontaneity to be spontaneous on a trip to Disney World. (Don’t be alarmed, you read that right.) If you want to go sans FastPass+ and wing it with restaurants, you will still be able to have an awesome time. I prefer to use MyMagic+ to its fullest, and for me that means planning in such a way that I can go off-book about 50% of the time and have a plan the other 50%.  If you’re a planner like I am, then this should be right up your alley.

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How Do Crowd Levels Relate to Total Wait Times?

by on May 21, 2015

TouringPlans logoSo maybe you noticed that TouringPlans released some Crowd Calendar updates this week. And maybe you have a trip planned and are worried that your dates included some crowd level changes. Wouldn’t you like to know how the crowd levels relate to overall Disney wait times? Of course you would. And we’re here to help.


We took two of our most popular touring plans (the One Day Plan for Adults, and the One Day Plan for Parents with Small Children) at the most popular theme park in the world (Magic Kingdom), and optimized them for days at each crowd level – 1 to 10.

With the exception of the “10” day, the Magic Kingdom opens at 9AM. The 10 day, it opens at 8AM.

We start the plan with arrival at park open.

No days have Extra Magic Hours.

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Photo Gallery: 2015 Universal Orlando Spring Break Crowds

by on April 7, 2015

The Easter eggs have all been hunted, and the Passover seder plates are put away, but the 2015 spring break crowds have not yet departed from Orlando’s attractions. While wait times over the weekend weren’t quite as bad as initially predicted, it’s still been a very busy holiday week at Universal Orlando, as Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure both experienced their heaviest attendance since New Year’s Day. In case you weren’t brave or foolish enough to experience Easter Week in person, here is a photo gallery of Universal Orlando spring break crowds to give you a virtual taste of last week’s madness.

Universal Studios Florida Spring Break Crowds

You know its going to be a busy day at USF when the temporary turnstiles in between the entry gates are in use.

Universal Orlando spring break crowds 2015

Spring break crowds descended on Universal Orlando last week. (Photos by Seth Kubersky)

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The Disney World Crowd Calendar for February 2015

by on January 27, 2015

If you want to avoid crowds at Disney World in February 2015 you need only to look at the dates surrounding Presidents Day (February 16), Mardi Gras (February 17) and the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend (February 19-22). That’s right – all three events happen in the same week, which is a recipe for crowded parks and long lines. The last time Mardi Gras and Presidents Day were in the same week was 2012. Posted wait times at Soarin’ hit a high of 200 minutes and regularly hovered around 140.

Having these events into a single week has a silver lining of course, since it leaves the rest of February untouched by holidays and special events. The long term trend has been to see wait times higher than in the past over the same season and we expect that to continue in February. Here’s a detailed breakdown of how Disney crowds will ebb and flow this February.

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An Hour-by-Hour Look at Disney Park Crowd Levels

by on March 27, 2014

When touring a Disney theme park, two good ideas are to arrive early and take a mid-day break outside of the theme parks. Even on crowded days, arriving early means that you’ll have relatively low waits for a couple of hours, because most people sleep in on vacation. And a mid-day break means you’ll miss the hottest, most crowded part of the day.

To make this point visually, we’ve created a set of sample charts showing how the crowds build during the day, for sample days at Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Magic Kingdom.

If you move your mouse over each box, you will see the hourly crowd value. For reference, the daily park crowd level is listed on the right of the charts.

The April chart for Animal Kingdom show the expected crowd for Easter week:

Animal Kingdom April 2014

AK 4-2014

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Walt Disney World Crowd Report – December 29, 2013, to January 4, 2014

by on January 6, 2014

Happy New Year!

Crowd level predictions this week did very well at the resort level, with only one day missing by more than one, but at the park level we had two predictions that missed by three. Low crowds at Magic Kingdom on Sunday and Animal Kingdom on New Year’s Day were the two surprises of the week, where we over predicted by three index levels. Everything else was accurate within one or two.

We saw extreme crowds again this year during Christmas and New Year’s, but not to the extent that we have seen in years past. When we missed the mark we tended to overpredict, which tells us that this year’s crowds, although extreme, may not have been as bad as history might suggest. That being said, long wait times were observed all over the resort, sometimes reaching three or four hours long!

Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up day-to-day.

The Crowd Report

The Crowd Report

The Walt Disney World Crowd Report
December 29, 2013 to January 4, 2014

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sunday was the biggest surprise of the week, with wait times lower than normal at Magic Kingdom. It seems strange to say that when Big Thunder Mountain hit an average posted wait time of 78 minutes, but most attractions did not reach their historical extremes. Pirates of the Caribbean stayed below a 20 minute average, and Space Mountain was 63, both about average for a normal time of year. These wait times put Magic Kingdom as a ‘6’ on our scale, much lower than the predicted ‘9’. This is the first time since 2009 that Magic Kingdom was below a ‘9’ on December 29, mostly due to the wet weather on Sunday. Other parks were as crowded as predicted.

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Islands of Insanity: Christmas Week Crowd Photos from Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure

by on December 30, 2013

I’ve never participated in the running of the bulls in Spain, nor rung in the New Year in New York’s Times Square, because I don’t need to: I’ve been engulfed by the Christmas week crowd in Orlando’s theme parks. In the spirit of “taking one for the team,” I took on the challenge of visiting Universal Orlando Resort’s Islands of Adventure on two of the busiest days of the year — Christmas Eve (December 24, 2013) and the Friday after Christmas (December 27, 2013) — to give you idea of what guests face during 8 to 10 days on our crowd index.

We maintain our Crowd Calendar to help you avoid days like these, and Tourimg Plans to help you navigate should you be meshuggenah enough to ignore the following photos. These Islands of Adventure Christmas week crowd photos should also serve as great advertisement for the unlimited Universal Express access included with an on-site hotel room. And remember, these mob scenes are just a hint of hordes certain to swarm when The Wizarding World of Harry Potter — Diagon Alley opens at Universal Studios Florida next summer.

Christmas Eve (12/24/2013)

We’ll start with my mid-afternoon stroll around Islands of Adventure on Christmas Eve:

Wait times are substantial with Forbidden Journey posted at 100 minutes.

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Announcing Disney World Crowd Calendar 4

by on November 7, 2013

Disney World Crowd Calendar, Crowd Levels and Crowd PredictionsToday we’re launching a new version of our Disney World Crowd Calendar.

The new Crowd Calendar is still based on attraction wait times and still uses a 1 to 10 scale, where 1 means small crowds and 10 means large crowds.

Most of the changes are behind the scenes to improve the accuracy of our analysis of past crowds and of future crowd level predictions.

The changes you’ll see will make the calendar easier to use and understand:

  • Each park’s crowd level on the same page. You’ll see the crowd levels for all of Walt Disney World, Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom all on the same page, along with each park’s schedule and Extra Magic Hours. We’ve reduced the number of clicks needed to find information.
  • Explanations of how holidays and special events affect crowds. We’ve always listed important special events and holidays on the crowd calendar and now we’ve added descriptions of how they affect the parks. You can see those descriptions on our Crowd Levels page.
  • More 4’s, 5’s, and 6’s; Fewer 1’s and 10’s. The previous crowd calendar took all the days in our database and assigned a crowd level of 1 to the least-busy 10%, a crowd level of 2 to the next-slowest 10%, 3 to the next-slowest 10%, and so on. The busiest 10% got a crowd level of 10. This relative ranking idea is great for comparing days, but it means that minor bumps in waits sometimes meant big jumps in crowd levels. For example, the difference between a crowd level of 2 and a 9 at The Barnstormer was about 10 minutes in line. Instead, with the new calendar, a minor bump in wait times will mean a minor bump in the crowd level too.
  • No decimal points. Based on reader feedback, the calendar now uses only whole numbers. Thus, you’ll see Magic Kingdom crowd level predictions of 1, 5, or 7, but not 1.4, 5.3 or 7.8. It’s simpler and easier to read.
  • No “7-Day Rule.” Since the very first crowd calendar, we’ve always tried to recommend each park at least one day per week, so that families visiting during that week would know the best day to visit each park. Unfortunately, there were times where special events and holidays forced us to recommend a park when it wasn’t the best day for everyone. Feedback from readers showed that some folks found the 7-day rule more confusing than helpful, so we designed a new calendar that doesn’t require it.
  • An attraction’s average posted wait between 10 am and 5 pm now corresponds to its crowd level. The old crowd calendar used the attraction’s highest wait time at any point in the day. Using the average wait time during the busiest hours of the day will tend to smooth out the ups and downs to give a fairer look at crowds at that attraction throughout the day.
  • “Best Park” and “Park to Avoid” labels are not needed. It’s easy to see which park to pick, so the labels aren’t needed. The best park to visit on any one day is the park with lowest crowd level number. Avoid the park with the highest crowd level number. Our Park Recommendations page has been updated to help you decide which park to visit using the new calendar.

One happy side effect of these new changes is that the new Crowd Calendar’s predicted crowd levels don’t change as often as the old calendar’s. Thus, if you’re using our popular Crowd Tracker tool to keep an eye on crowds for your vacation dates, you’ll receive far fewer emails.

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