Two of Walt Disney World’s most popular attractions recently went through significant changes to their capacity. Toy Story Midway Mania added a third track on May 25, 2016 and Soarin’ re-opened on June 17, 2016 after a long refurbishment to add a third hanger and present a new film. An increase in capacity should lower the average standby wait at these super headliners, now that we have at least a month of collected wait times for both, let’s take a look to see if the average wait times have changed.
First, let’s get a baseline for how wait times are doing in general compared to historical averages across all Walt Disney World Attractions. Here is the average daily wait time across all attractions since 2009. Since May 25th, 2016 the average daily wait time remains almost unchanged, down about 1%. Sure, the sample size is not large but we can be fairly certain that any change in the average daily wait time at Toy Story Midway Mania and Soarin’ would be due to the capacity changes, not to a significant drop in overall attendance. It is also helpful that we are comparing a time of year that is historically very similar year over year. Late Spring and early Summer have only two holidays, Memorial Day and July 4th, both of which have similar crowd patterns each year.
Except for an initial spike in wait times shortly after re-opening, Toy Story Midway Mania wait times are way down compared to years past. There we see a 38% percent reduction in the average daily wait time since May 25th, 2016 when the third track began entertaining guests. Toy Story Midway Mania is still the most popular attraction at Disney Hollywood Studios but the extra track helps relieve pressure on the standby queue for those guests unable to obtain a Fastpass+ reservation. Historically, it would not be unusual to see Toy Story Midway Mania hit a peak wait time of 100 minutes or more, even on an average day. Now, that peak is more likely to be 70 to 80 minutes or less.
At Soarin’ we see about a 19% dip in the average daily wait time. We can assume that the new film for Soarin’ is attracting more guests than that attraction would normally see and those additional guests will offset some of the gains in capacity. So, the 19% dip in the average daily wait time is quite significant, probably equivalent to what we see at Toy Story Midway Mania. That 19% average decline is also influenced by a significant spike in the average wait in late June when the attraction experienced some mechanical problems and the wait time was artificially high.