Crowd Calendar Updated – March 11, 2010

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After an incorrect upload yesterday, the Crowd Calendar has been updated. Changes you may notice are some slight differences in March due to Disney’s anouncement of new park hours. Also, some dates in September have new park recommendations that fall in line with the changes to Extra Magic Hours.

If you are planning a trip in Fall 2010, be aware that Disney may, as in previous years, announce a promotional program such as free Dining. When that occurs, it may have an impact on park hours, park schedules and our predictions for crowd level. Stay tuned…

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.

19 thoughts on “Crowd Calendar Updated – March 11, 2010

  • March 13, 2010 at 9:42 am

    Wehn I saw the numbers for my dates (3/18-4/2) go from mostly 7s to 9s and 10s – the day AFTER I made my reservations – I almost fell off my chair. I’ve been there at busy times before, but never on 10 days! For my sake, I hope your predictions are off. How can they be so high during a week when kids are in school? And why isn’t the week after Easter as high as the week before? I’m glad I’ve got Lines on my Droid. I’ll be relying on it to make real-time decisions about where we go. I’m looking forward to try out Lines for the first time. It looks like a great app!

    • March 13, 2010 at 6:48 pm

      Yes, it is very interesting actually. Disney’s park hours for the end of March were recently increased. This means their hotel bookings have been higher than expected. The question is, will they also increase the park hours during Easter? If you look at the park hours for the Magic Kingdom at the end of March you will see that it closes at 1:00am on several days. The week of Easter the park closes at 11:00pm.

      Last year, Easter crowds were very large and the parks reached capacity very early in the day. I would not be surprised if Disney increases the park hours for Easter week.

      What does this mean for touring?

      Park hoppers will be your friend. If you have park hoppers on your ticket media, take advantage. Use Extra Magic Hours and hop to a park other than the Magic Kingdom at around 11:00am. I know that we harp on the use of touring plans but during peak crowds they are essential. Using a touring plan will really reduce your experience of the crowds. Incidentally, parks other than the Magic Kingdom will have large crowds but will be much less severe.

      Happy touring.

      • March 13, 2010 at 7:30 pm

        So your numbers are based on crowds at the Magic Kingdom only? Well, that’s a relief. As an (ahem) OLDER couple, MK is the park we tend to spend the least time at. We like to see Spectro and Wishes once/trip, but otherwise, we wouldn’t be disappointed if we skipped MK altogether. So, this trip, maybe we will.

        Since MK will be open so late during our dates (3/28-4/02) would we be better off shooting for the later SpectroMagic time? If so, what would be the best time to arrive at the park. I remember once getting there just after the first SpectroMagic parade and going down Main St. was like swimming up-stream. It was almost impossible to move forward, in fact it was actually frighening to be in that kind of crowd.

        • March 15, 2010 at 11:06 am

          The later Spectromagic is usually the better choice. It may still be crowded but usually it less hectic than the earlier parade.

      • March 24, 2010 at 6:02 pm

        How do you park hop and use a touring plan? If you go to MK at get out of there at 11am would you start at #1 on the DHS plan or skip to #6 or later? Is there a way to set this with a start time of your touring plan?

        • March 27, 2010 at 2:41 pm

          Try using the late arrival touring plan or the afternoon section of a one day plan. Fastpasses will also help if you wish to experience the headliners.

    • March 13, 2010 at 7:24 pm

      Whoops – typo there! My dates are actually 3/28-4/2. I WISH I could stay that long, but this’ll just be a 6-day trip.

  • March 13, 2010 at 11:01 am

    Why did the numbers for march 22-28 go up so much from the last update of crowds.

  • March 13, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    I have checked the hotels and the week of march 14th have almost all hotels booked, and their numbers are 7s. the week of march 22nd have every hotel available with any choice of kind of room, and the numbers are mostly 8s. I also knew their hours of operation from the start until now, and they have not changed the week of the 22nd hours yet. I do not think these numbers are correct.

    • March 15, 2010 at 11:05 am

      It seems strange, I know, but the hotel occupancy of Disney hotels is not a good predictor of the wait times in the park. At any given time of year, Disney’s hotels will be at 95% capacity or higher. Our predictions may prove to be incorrect, they are subject to lots of variables that can change but historically, we’re within 8 minutes, 95% of the time.

  • March 14, 2010 at 6:43 am

    We will be going to Florida from 3/20-4/2 and plan on visiting Disney (specifically Magic Kingdom) for just 1 day while we are there. We have 3 small children ages 2, 3 and 5 and picked 3/23 as the date since originally the crowd factor was a 5 and MK was the recommended park for the day. Now the crowd factor has changed to a 7 on that date. On 3/24, the crowd factor is still a 5 but the recommended park isn’t MK. Would you stick with our plan to go on 3/23 or switch the date to 3/24?

    • March 15, 2010 at 11:03 am

      The difference between a 5 and 7 are not as extreme as you think. In the middle part of the day (noon to 4pm) the 7 will feel more crowded but if you’re using a touring plan, you won’t notice any difference. I would favor keeping your plans the same and avoiding the hassle, but its up to you. Crowds will be larger during a 7.

  • March 15, 2010 at 10:24 am

    Hi, I noticed that you have the entire week of Thanksgiving listed as 10’s? I’ve been there that week before and normally the “bad” days don’t start until late Wednesday, w/Thursday and Friday definately being 9’s or 10’s, but the rest of the week has never been “that bad” on the 2 visits we’ve had in the last 5 years for that week. I really want to go that week, but not if it’s really going to be 10’s every day, as we’ll spend 3 days or so in the MK….

    • March 15, 2010 at 10:59 am

      Its true, the earlier part of the week is not as crowded but based on our scale, all the days qualify as a 10. Wait times on the days leading up to Thanksgiving in 2009 peaked at 100 + minutes. This is a good example of one of the weeknesses of the crowd calendar index as it is presently defined. Really, the days of Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving need to be distinguished between each other since, although very large, there are differences between them.

      • March 15, 2010 at 7:17 pm

        This raises a question I’ve had in my mind for quite a while – I’ve never seen a crowd number lower than 4, so maybe you should revise your index and change 4 to 1, then you’d have more wiggle-room at the top to distinguish between those holiday-time differences.

        • March 15, 2010 at 9:39 pm

          Yes, another good idea. The new calendar will do that for sure.

  • March 15, 2010 at 11:41 am

    We have a vacation planned for late September, and I noticed that September 25th has a crowd level of 8!!! In the middle of a bunch of 4’s and 5’s. Anyone have any idea why? I have asked around at a bunch of places, and no one seems to know.

    • March 15, 2010 at 9:38 pm

      Honestly, I’m not sure either. If you look at Magic Kingdom’s September park hours, you’ll see that on September 25th park closing jumps to 11:00. This is historically a sign of larger crowds. It could be a popular day for school groups, an international holiday or just a coincidence.

  • March 16, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    We are planning a trip the week after Thanksgiving, I noticed Nov 28 changed from a 4 to a 10! Don’t most people head home the sunday after Thanksgiving? Also I noticed the Osborne Festival of Lights
    not starting until Dec 1? Have they changed that for 2010? I understood it opened in mid-Nov.

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