Today the Disney World Crowd Calendar received an update. The last time we updated the Disney World Crowd Calendar was December 2014, and a lot has changed since then.
Park Hours, Park Schedules and the Way They Get Updated
See Brian’s article about how often park hours change. We track park hours obsessively, so it is important to refresh our crowd levels every few months to take advantage of the latest trends.
Magic Kingdom crowds vary greatly depending on the party schedule. Now that we have confirmed dates for the parties, the crowd levels can be updated to reflect the schedule.
School Schedules for the 2015/2016 School Season
Orlando is the world’s most popular family vacation destination, so it makes sense that the crowds are highly driven by school schedules. Fewer schools in session mean more families on vacation. We publish our Crowd Calendar one year in advance, so there are times of the year when we must project the school schedules into the future before the schedules are officially published. Now that we have confirmed schedules for the 2015/2016 school year, it is time to update the calendar.
Attraction Model Enhancements
We have added indicators that we found have a small but significant influence on what happens at the attractions. Things like the “newness” of an attraction and the effect of refurbishments and closures on neighboring attractions are now part of our predictions.
Recalibration of the Crowd Index Levels
One important part of any calendar update is a recalibration of the thresholds that define the ‘1’ to ’10’ crowd levels. We convert the wait times we predict into ten categories to make it easier to judge the crowdedness. The long term trend is that wait times are increasing in off-season. Although the trend is only a slight increase, it does demand that we redistribute the wait times throughout the year into our ‘1’ to ’10’ levels. This is a significant reason for some of the changes that occurred during this update. To see the wait times for each crowd level see our Crowd Levels page.
Crowd trends are dynamic at Disney World as they are in travel generally, so these new projections may (and likely will) change. Use the calendar numbers as a guideline to plan your trip, and if you have a travel date in mind, click Track This Day to get notified of changes.
Below is a list of the major changes by month.
|Dates||Here’s What’s New|
|June||A few changes, mostly increases of one or two levels, and mostly at Epcot. Crowd levels for the end of the school year have increased due to fewer than expected school districts extending the school year to make up for lost days in winter.|
|July||Sundays after holidays have been busier than usual for some reason, so our models have bumped up crowd levels on July 5, especially at Epcot. In general, July crowd levels are higher based on our new wait time categories.|
|August||Similar to July, the new wait time categories have pushed August crowd levels higher by one or two levels most days.|
|September||No major increases except for the weekend before Labor Day. Some decreases in mid and late September.|
|October||Our school statistics are showing that as many as 12% of school districts have small breaks scheduled in October, which has pushed some days up slightly. Other days have decreased, however, and overall October is still a good month for low crowds. Magic Kingdom’s Halloween party schedule has an impact, as well.|
|November||Mostly small changes. Thanksgiving has not reached the extreme ’10’s on our scale in the past few years, and it looks like our models are adjusting to that trend. Don’t be fooled, however: it will still be extremely busy.|
|December||Mostly minor changes in reaction to the schedule for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. December 14 does not have a party on the schedule, so we saw some crowd levels increase significantly that day.|
|January – May 2016||Changes between January and May 2016 are related to the observations we’ve made during the same period in 2015.|
If you are planning to visit a park whose crowd level has changed, we encourage you to review your touring plan if you have not already done so. Also, make sure to re-optimize your plan every so often to ensure it uses the latest estimates of wait times.
For more information of what to do if the crowd level changes for your travel dates click here.