One of the cornerstone products of TouringPlans.com is our Crowd Calendar. We invest a lot of time and money to keep the Crowd Calendar as accurate as possible. The Crowd Calendar is based on wait time predictions for a core set of attractions between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. This includes the attractions with the highest ranges in wait times and includes the portion of the day when wait times are typically at their peaks.
An optimized Personalized Touring Plan is going to help you avoid the longest wait times that are driving the crowd levels. However, a mother of two from Maryland noticed an interesting quirk when optimizing the same plan on different days.
I am confused by the results of my optimized touring plans. I ran the same attractions through your software on different days with different crowd levels, and I can’t see a big difference in the total time. In fact, I noticed one plan that says it will take longer even though the crowd level is lower. This must be a mistake?
As it turns out, it may not be a mistake. There are a lot of variables that determine how long it takes to complete a touring plan. Steve, our data scientist, takes a deep dive into the relationship between crowd level and touring plans.
Crowd Level vs. Optimized Touring Plans
To illustrate the impact of Crowd Level on touring, I optimized the Magic Kingdom One-Day Touring Plan for Tweens and Their Parents Touring Plan for each day between August 1 and December 31, 2019. Each plan starts at park opening and does not include morning or evening Extra Magic Hours. The plan includes 19 attractions, has breaks for lunch and dinner, and uses the same FastPass+ reservation times. The plan preferences are set at “Average” walking speed and a waiting vs. walking setting of “Balance.”
|1||A Pirate’s Adventure ~ Treasures of the Seven Seas|
|2||Big Thunder Mountain Railroad|
|3||Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin|
|4||Mad Tea Party|
|5||Meet Cinderella & Elena at Princess Fairytale Hall|
|6||Meet Daring Disney Pals as Circus Stars at Pete’s Silly Side Show|
|7||Meet Mickey Mouse & Minnie Mouse at Town Square Theater|
|8||Meet Rapunzel and Tiana at Princess Fairytale Hall|
|10||Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor|
|12||Peter Pan’s Flight|
|13||Pirates of the Caribbean|
|14||Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (11 am FastPass+)|
|15||Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom|
|16||Space Mountain (12 pm FastPass+)|
|17||Splash Mountain (3 pm FastPass+)|
|18||The Haunted Mansion|
|19||Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid|
An average guest only experiences 10 attractions in a day, so 19 attractions is an ambitious Touring Plan for the Magic Kingdom. For the five months analyzed, there are 7 days where our software predicts this set of attractions cannot be completed. Each of these days has short park hours due to a Christmas Party or other event.
|date||Crowd Level||Opening Time||Closing Time||Event|
|11/8/2019||4||9:00 AM||6:00 PM||Christmas Party|
|11/11/2019||5||9:00 AM||6:00 PM||Christmas Party|
|11/15/2019||3||9:00 AM||6:00 PM||Christmas Party|
|11/24/2019||8||9:00 AM||6:00 PM||Christmas Party|
|12/2/2019||3||9:00 AM||4:30 PM||Private Event|
|12/20/2019||5||9:00 AM||6:00 PM||Christmas Party|
|12/22/2019||4||9:00 AM||6:00 PM||Christmas Party|
For the 146 days where completing the plan is possible, the chart below shows the total time waiting in line and walking. The symbol shows the crowd level.
Even when each day’s plan has the same attractions, the optimized plan may be different. On the busiest days, an optimized plan is going to have higher walking times. To minimize the time in line, the plan will require guests to criss-cross the park.
The box plot chart below shows the distribution in walking and waiting time by crowd level.
For each change in crowd level, the average increase in walking and waiting time goes up 6%.
The variation within crowd level is high enough that a Touring Plan on a “1” day can take longer than a “6” day.
How is it possible to have a more efficient touring plan on a busier day?
- Typically the park hours are longer on days with a higher crowd level. With a longer day, the Touring Plan Optimizer has more options when to schedule the attractions. On very long days, the Optimizer will add a break at the busiest time of the day.
- Even on the busiest days, the first few hours and the last hours of the day will have low wait times. The Optimizer will schedule attractions with the longest wait times early or late. (Remember that the crowd level is based only on wait times between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.)
- Some attractions are less popular and/or have high capacities. These attractions’ wait times do not vary much based on crowd level or time of day.
- When you use FastPass+ (and you can do this 3 or more times each day), the impact of the crowd level is negated.
Compare your own plans
You can do the same thing with your plans. If you are trying to decide what day to do what park, optimize your plan for different days of your vacation. Comparing the same touring plan on different days will give you a meaningful value to compare days.
Have questions? Want to talk numbers with our data scientist? Share your thoughts in the comments.