Do I Really Need To Avoid A Park If The Crowd Level Is Low?

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[The] logic for DHS with Fantasmic! now every night seems to be a bit off. With the change of showing Fantasmic! every night through Sept, the recommendations for my trip changed (obviously). The problem, though, is that now no day is good for DHS.  If you look at the overall resort crowd compared to the DHS crowd, it just doesn’t fit.  The only think I could think of is that your code still has a restriction in place where nights with Fantasmic! are automatically weighted heavier than others and now that every night has the show, they’re all weighted too heavily.

Or do you really think that in the first full week of Sept, DHS will have a crowd level every day of ~4 and above?

Tricia, TouringPlans subscriber

We always assume that if something looks a bit off, we have probably made a mistake. That comes from years of experience, humility and a little self-doubt. However, we usually find all the “t”s crossed and the “i”s dotted which leads us to the real explanation.

Our park recommendations are based on several factors including the individual crowd rankings for each park. We force ourselves to label at least one park as “best” and one park as “avoid” every day on the calendar, even during slow times of the year such as September.

What Tricia is seeing from our recent update is that the slight crowd bump that the Studios is experiencing from the new Fantasmic! schedule and the new Star Tours attraction is enough to push its index to be the highest of the four parks a little more often than usual. It is important to note that although the Studios is listed as “avoid”, a crowd level of 4 is a fantastic day! Frankly, if we were touring in September, we would not hesitate to visit the Studios on a day with a crowd level 4. One could argue that with all four parks under a level 5, no park really needs to be avoided.

The best way to use the park recommendations is in conjunction with the other information about a particular day. Take a look at the park schedules, park hours and crowd levels then if needed, let the park recommendations help you decide what will work best for your group.

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.

7 thoughts on “Do I Really Need To Avoid A Park If The Crowd Level Is Low?

  • June 27, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    This is my first year using Touring Plans. I will be visiting WDW in mid october and seeing crowd levels of 4 or less. Wondering how that affects lines. We always go in summer and used to seeing lines of 45 min or longer.

    • June 28, 2011 at 7:52 am

      Kathy, one of the great innovations in the crowd calendar is a graphical representation of the projected wait times for major attractions in a particular park on a particular day.

      For example, if you go to the Crowd Calendar and click on October 15, then click on Magic Kingdom, it will give you a graph of the projected wait times throughout the day for the Mountains, Peter Pan, Pooh, etc.

      Enjoy your trip! We went in October last year and really enjoyed the nice weather and low crowds.

      • June 28, 2011 at 1:54 pm

        Brian, thanks for the reply! I found it, so cool! Never knew it was there, I would just get the crowd calender for my visit, and made my plans around that. I am now more excited for my trip seeing such low average wait times! Now this makes it easier for me to plan my days out. Between this, then I’ll download the Lines app on my iphone when it arrives, I’ll be all set to tackle the “magic Mountains” °O°

  • June 28, 2011 at 10:28 am

    Bottom line, if you use Touring Plans, it hardly does not matter what the crowd levels are – just got back from the World in which the Levels were 9s and the only problems we encountered was the decision of which line to stand in/get fast pass for between Soarin’ & Test Track at Epcot and how much of a priority is Peter Pan(the only attraction we missed on the entire visit) when fast passes were more valuable to us for Space & Splash Mountain(we preferred riding each of those twice and skipping PP)at MK- all the other parks plans went perfectly and we did everything we wanted and even more. Fantasmic was packed, but it presented no issues, the Star Wars que was never more than 30 minutes when we were there – follow the guide, and all will be magical.

  • June 29, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    You will enjoy the October crowds — we went in October 09 and frankly I thought that the crowds on were overstated. We rode the safari and a couple of other rides back to back without getting off. Fantasyland was longer waits because more little kid rides, but the rides aimed at school age kids like splash and thunder mountain had pretty short lines. I started with the plans but freelanced somewhat due to the low crowds.

  • June 29, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    I understand that want to rate at least one park for each day as “best” and one as “avoid” but that isn’t really helpful in planning over six days which parks to attend on which days. For example, for the week I am looking at, DHS was Avoid for four days, Neutral for one day, and Best only for the day with no Fantasmic. Sure, it’s the worst for Crowd Level of all the parks each day that week, but I think using the word “Avoid” should only be used to mean “stay away!”. Given the crowd levels that week (3.8 to 5.3 except for the 0.4 no Fantasmic day), I would think at least a “Neutral” setting i.e. acceptable even if other parks have lower crowds, would make more sense. Otherwise, someone might truly “Avoid” the park altogether. In the end, I chose the 3.8 crowd level day.

  • July 3, 2011 at 6:53 am

    This may be the main problem: “We force ourselves to label at least one park as “best” and one park as “avoid” every day”

    There’s no reason to label a park as “avoid” just for the sake of doing it. If all 4 parks look good, don’t force an “avoid” label. It makes no sense at all when a park has 0.9 and is marked “avoid”.

    Also I don’t think you should factor in closing times to your recommendations, what if we only planned to go in the morning anyway? We have access to the hours.

    Thanks for listening!


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