The Times They Are a-Changin’

Share This!

TouringPlans logoHere at TouringPlans we make our predictions based on empirical data. We spend a crazy amount of effort and time gathering as much information to make the best predictions as possible. We track schedules of the 100 largest school systems in the country. We have a database with millions of wait times. We know what the weather has been in Anaheim and Orlando for the past 10 years. We check the Disney website daily for any changes in events, shows, attractions, and park hours. Out of all the information that we track, school schedules and park hours are some of the best predictors of crowd levels.

Park hours are much more variable than you might think. Walt Disney World’s initial park hours are released to travel agents 6-7 months ahead of time.  Unfortunately, the initial park hours are rarely the final park hours. Besides Epcot’s 9am-9pm schedule, the other parks’ hours may change several times. There are even days where the park hours change within 24 hours. To minimize the changes in our crowd calendar models, we make a prediction of the final park hours.

The calendar below shows the changes in park hours. The list of numbers are the number of hours the park is scheduled to be open. The number in parentheses is the number of days the final park hours were available. For example, on March 1, 2015, the Magic Kingdom was initially scheduled to be open for 13 hours. Two times the park hours increased by one hour. The final change was made only 3 days prior on February 26. Only parks that had a change are displayed on the calendar.

March 2015

For the planners out there, the big takeaway is not to be wedded to the initial park hours you see. Once you are in the 30 day window there will be minimal changes. On the TouringPlans website we will always show the latest published park hours.

Steve Bloom

By helping TouringPlans.com continue to reach the most accurate crowd level predictions, Steve finally found a way to meld his training in statistical analysis with a lifelong passion for Disney. He first visited the Magic Kingdom in 1972, just a few months after it opened. Now he enjoys frequent trips with his two kids. At age four his son insisted on wearing cowboy boots to reach the height requirement for Test Track, and his daughter believes that a smoked turkey leg and Dole Whip make a perfectly balanced meal. Even though she doesn't quite get it, Steve's wife is supportive of his Disney activities.

11 thoughts on “The Times They Are a-Changin’

  • April 21, 2015 at 11:41 am
    Permalink

    Thank you for informing me thusly. You guys are the best and I check with you the day before going to a park. Appreciate all the time you put into this!

    Reply
  • April 21, 2015 at 12:36 pm
    Permalink

    You used a bad calendar form – May 1 is a Friday.
    Thanks!

    Reply
    • April 21, 2015 at 12:43 pm
      Permalink

      The calendar is for March, not May.

      Reply
    • April 21, 2015 at 1:50 pm
      Permalink

      I used March 2015 calendar to illustrate how often Disney changes park hours. You can assume that the park hours of you trip will change from Disney 1st published park hours. The Crowd Calendar show the current park hours for the next 365 days. For days that Disney has not yet released park hours we show our estimated park hours.

      Reply
      • April 21, 2015 at 3:13 pm
        Permalink

        Do you indicate whether the times listed are official vs. estimated?

        Reply
        • April 21, 2015 at 3:28 pm
          Permalink

          Yes. In the note section we have “Park hours are estimates.” Currently Disney has park hours published through November 2015.

          Reply
  • April 21, 2015 at 3:28 pm
    Permalink

    I just wanted to let you know I used touringplans in class today as an example of queue modeling and the students thought it was really cool:) Thanks for your hard work.

    Reply
    • April 22, 2015 at 1:03 pm
      Permalink

      HA! Always good when a teacher can make a subject truly interesting and easier to understand.

      I had an econ teacher who illustrated diminishing returns through the example of whisky shots. Although I wonder if he would be/is allowed to use it now due to fear of encouraging drinking among college students. ::eyeroll::

      But it did perfectly illustrate this fundamental principle. Better than “widgets”.

      Reply
  • April 21, 2015 at 7:05 pm
    Permalink

    Great stuff, Steve. Really. Thanks for this.

    Reply
  • April 22, 2015 at 12:14 pm
    Permalink

    Steve, do you account for “day of” changes in park hours? Pretty regularly I find myself at DLP during off peak days and they change the hours of the park that day based on crowd levels and never end up posting changes to the park hours on the official site. Having accurate park hours data in these instances would require physical presence at the parks. Providing that real-time info would be pretty valuable for locals.

    Reply
    • April 22, 2015 at 12:27 pm
      Permalink

      Guy Selga is in the parks most days and will update our database if there is a change. If Disney does not update their online park hours it is possible we’ll miss the change. Users will also notify us if we have the wrong park hours.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *