Recommending Epcot During The Food and Wine Festival

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Our Crowd Calendar is recommending Epcot on Saturday, September 26th, the first weekend of Food and Wine Festival. Epcot will probably be busy (if not very busy) that day so some people might wonder “What kind of sick statistician would recommend such a thing?” We instruct our Crowd Calendar to make sure that each park is recommended at least once in a seven day stretch. So really, it comes down to a lesser of two evils scenario. With Friday, September 25th being the opening day of Food and Wine¬†our model is choosing Saturday as the second best option. Rest assured, all days that weekend will be busy as locals flock to the park to check out this year’s festival.

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 You can also follow him on Twitter: @DisneyStatsWhiz.

6 thoughts on “Recommending Epcot During The Food and Wine Festival

  • July 1, 2009 at 9:58 am

    Can some one tell me what’s going on this week? No Spectomagic during the week Only Sat 26th and Oct 3rd, no hardly any PM EHM Oct1 to 4th. Then you got 3 AM EHM at Studio, Sept 26th,29, Oct 3. Three within a week? I know Food and Wine starts that weekend and It’s first week that MNSSHP goes 3x a week,is it that out of whack?

  • July 22, 2009 at 11:51 am

    I find it very interesting that the Crowd Calendar has changed for the week my family will be there (9/20-9/25/09)! I had asked Fred to look at it over a month ago and now, less than 2 months out when I have already made ADRs, it changes. Why now? Why not a month ago? Interesting! I know what I’ll be working on today!

    • July 22, 2009 at 1:37 pm

      Hi Robin. “Interesting” is one word, “frustrating” would be another. Disney recently made changes to their schedule for July through October including changes to park hours, Extra Magic Hour schedules and in-park entertainment schedules. All of these things are important factors in our predictions for crowd levels and in our recommendations for parks to avoid.

      I would strongly suggest that you only make changes to ADRs if absolutely necessary. The crowds will be light the week you are there so if you have to live with the ADRs you already have you should be fine. The amount of time it takes to re-do all your ADRs might actually be more than the time you save by choosing the “best park”.

      Either way, let us know how it goes.

  • July 22, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    Hi, Fred! Thank you so much for taking the time to explain the changes to me! I really appreciate it! I had no idea that Disney could/would change the park hours, etc. after they had been published so seeing the crowd calendar change really threw me for a loop! I am sure you truly know the definition of frustrating!
    It’s just that your crowd calendar is like my Disney bible! My family has been to Disney the past 3 years the 3rd week of September when our kids are out of school for fall break and you have never steered us wrong! Our trips have been awesome because of the Unofficial Guidebook!
    Again, thank you so much for taking the time to “talk me down off the ledge”! Keep up the excellent work.
    By the way, I booked 2 new ADRs for HS today with no problem!

    • July 23, 2009 at 12:22 am

      Thanks for your support, Robin. We really appreciate it. We’ve been collecting data on crowd levels since 2003 and this year has been the most difficult to predict, by far. Any good travel writer will tell you that by the time your travel guide goes to press about 5% to 8% of the information within is out-of-date. Disney certainly keeps us on our feet. This year it seems like many of the changes are directly affecting crowd patterns and our ability to predict them. Here are a couple of examples.

      1. Disney historically published park hours 7 months in advance, which changed to 3 months.

      2. Advance Dining Reservations used to be available 90 to 360 days in advance depending on the restaurant. Disney changed that to 90 days which meant that in some cases ADRs had to be made before park schedules were announced. Incidentally, ADRs are now available 180 days in advance, well before park schedules are published.

      3. Several times this year Disney has tinkered with park hours after they were published. In many cases the changes have applied to the very next day!

      But, as good statisticians, we’re looking at this as a new challenge. Our goal is to find some predictability in Disney’s unpredictability.

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