We’re still working on analyzing wait times at the Magic Kingdom, to finish the What’s Up with Wait Times series we started last week. We’re waiting to hear back from a few folks on a couple of questions related to those. We’re also waiting to hear if Disney says anything on their earnings call on Thursday. Once all that’s done, we should have the post up – probably Friday.
In the meantime, here are a couple of interesting charts. The first one is wait times and people in line at the Magic Kingdom from January through August, 2015:
Orange lines are for attractions that either opened or had major refurbishments in 2014 or 2015.
Green boxes indicate attractions that became less popular in 2015. Excluding Pirates (which was refurb’d), what do those attractions have in common?
For what it’s worth, I think Magic Kingdom attendance was probably up more than 0.7% in January through August 2015 – probably closer to 1.5 to 2.0%. As we’ve said in previous posts, there are side effects to how Disney posts its wait times in 5-minute increments, and that’s probably causing most of the difference.
Now compare those wait times and people in line to September and October 2015:
That’s an almost 12% increase in people in line, in what are normally two of the slowest months of the year. We’ve not seen anything like that in a long time – we’re off the edge of the map here . As far as we can tell, crowds are up on days with and without Halloween parties; with morning EMH and without; and with evening EMH and without.
I don’t think this is related to more FastPass+ use, or better understanding of the system. In both of those cases, you’d expect to see a gradual increase over the course of many months: first a small group of early adopters figures it out, then a few more, then a few more after that, and so on, until most people understand how it works. What we’re seeing here is more like an on/off switch being flipped.
It’s possible that Disney’s Decision Science group – the people who do hotel revenue optimization – just knocked it out of the park this fall . The earnings call might shed some light on that. The people we’ve spoken to inside Disney do seem to think it’s more people, not an operational change. If so, that’s a huge gain. Like I said, we’re asking around. If we need to go back and look at the other parks for September and October, we’ll do that too.
Also notice that a certain set of attractions is still losing riders year-over-year, even when others are way up. We thought Seven Dwarfs would have carried those attractions a little longer – most of them are within spitting distance of 7DMT.
A few folks have asked to see our FastPass and wait-time charts with different statistics.
- Here are the charts using median standby wait time and median FastPass availability. You’d use median instead of average if you want to ignore the possible influence of outliers. (We had already filtered for outliers in the original charts, too.)
- Here are the charts without considering day-of FastPass availability. This is good if you want to filter out the possibility of families dropping FastPasses at the last minute for something else, as that may change the “last available FastPass” statistic.
 I’m paraphrasing Captain Hector Barbossa in Curse of the Black Pearl, as I do often.
 Check out Google Scholar for some of the technical papers that Disney’s Decision Science team puts out. Some interesting stuff on hotel room inventory management.