October 2019 Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar Update

Share This!

The October Crowd Calendar update is now live. We skipped September to give the models a chance to digest the data with Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opening.

 

September 2019 Crowd Levels

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opened August 29, 2019, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Crowds showed up on opening day but it did not last. Hurricane Dorian scared away many guests and Disney had historically low crowds for Labor Day weekend. Historically September has the lowest crowds of the year. This was true this year even with the highly anticipated land opening in Florida.

The Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios had Extra Magic Hours every day in September. This extends the number of hours the parks were open and helped spread out the crowds. When crowds are spread out across time and parks, the crowd levels are lower.

October 2019

The Extra, Extra Magic Hours continues through November 2, 2019. The extra park hours will keep crowd levels low. The increase factor that we added to the crowd level due to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opening has been removed. This update has the average crowd levels for Hollywood Studios decreasing by 3 points. The Animal Kingdom and the Magic Kingdom average crowd levels are reduced by 1 point.

November 2019

There are no signs that Disney is going to extend the Extra, Extra Magic Hours.  The shorter park hours will increase crowd levels compared to September and October. Crowds will be lower than we initially predicted. The new Star Wars land is not bring in the people that we or Disney expected. The busiest week of the month will be the week of Thanksgiving.

December 2019

The last two weeks of December are the busiest time at Walt Disney World. Early December is a bit of a wild card. There is typically a lull in crowds between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is scheduled to open December 5. We expect Rise of the Resistance will bring large crowds to Hollywood Studios on opening weekend. Beyond the super fans, most guests will not make a special trip to Florida. Kids are still in school and workers do not want to take extra time off before the holidays.

Rise of the Resistance is the headliner attraction for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. If this ride does not bring in the crowds, nothing will. There are rumors that the ride is behind schedule. Disney will do everything possible not to miss the opening on December 5.

2020

Disney has not announced any special park hours or other incentives to attract guests. With the current lagging attendance since the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Disney is going to do something to increase attendance. Expect to see some good deals for 2020. Crowds distribution will be like other years. President’s Day and Mardi Gras fall on different weeks in 2020. This will help spread out holiday crowds in February.

How Crowd Levels are Calculated

At Touring Plans we like to take a scientific approach to our work. When we predict a crowd level, we want to be able to validate the prediction with what actually accrued. We would love to have daily attendance at the parks, but Disney does not release the data. What data are available, or available to collect are wait times.

We use statistical and machine learning algorithms to estimate wait times for all attractions. These predictions are used when building personal Touring Plans and the Crowd Calendar. We do not use all the attractions in the calculations for the Crowd Calendar.   We exclude minor attractions because they are not good indicators of overall crowds. We also exclude new attractions for two reasons.  New attractions will have high wait times regardless of attendance. Also, the models don’t have enough data to make good predictions. When a new ride opens, we use opening data from other similar attractions to predict the wait times.

 

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.

35 thoughts on “October 2019 Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar Update

  • October 1, 2019 at 10:50 pm
    Permalink

    This was the link to an explanation for the drastic decreases in crowd prediction Dec 5 to Dec 10 I was just emailed (Crowd tracking) but it doesn’t mentions the change. Is this the wrong thread? Is it coming later?

    Reply
    • October 2, 2019 at 2:08 am
      Permalink

      I agree. All my November dates I am tracking have decreased (9th through 22nd) yet the explanations above would imply November would increase so I’m very confused.

      Reply
      • October 2, 2019 at 2:42 am
        Permalink

        Yeah, this sounds like a bug.

        Reply
      • October 2, 2019 at 9:29 am
        Permalink

        Agree, all of my November dates decreased too but I have no idea why. Above it states the crowd levels should increase without the EEMH. I’m confused

        Reply
    • October 2, 2019 at 9:39 am
      Permalink

      Hollywood Studios will have an increased attendance with the opening of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. The increase will mostly be locals. Only the super fans will pull their kids out of school or take time off in early December to visit Disney World. Many people will avoid the parks assuming large crowds.

      Reply
  • October 2, 2019 at 7:19 am
    Permalink

    Do you expect WDW to re-institute extra extra magic hours after Rise of the Resistance opens?

    Reply
    • October 2, 2019 at 9:56 am
      Permalink

      Disney has been silent on extending the Extra, Extra Magic Hours. For touring, the EEMH are great for guests. For Disney, it cost a lot of money, and they are not seeing a return on their investment. If they extend EEMH I would expect it to be less generous.

      Reply
      • October 2, 2019 at 10:30 am
        Permalink

        My FPP day is 10/20. Do you expect I will know if Disney has extended park hours by that date?

        Reply
  • October 2, 2019 at 7:46 am
    Permalink

    The Crowd Level numbers dropped for our mid-November trip, but when I look at the updated Heatmaps, they have “more color/orange” than they had had for higher crowd level predictions. I had taken screen captures so I could reference them without finding the page and scrolling to my dates, so now I can also compare the old and current side-by-side. They just don’t make sense. In conjunction with the November explanation above, I agree with others that this doesn’t explain the numbers.

    Reply
    • October 2, 2019 at 9:51 am
      Permalink

      We removed the inflation factor for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opening. This reduced crowd levels for most of the fall. November’s change is less dramatic than October, due to the “normal” park hours in November.

      Reply
      • October 2, 2019 at 10:01 am
        Permalink

        Thanks Steve, this makes sense…so the inflation factor removed when netted with the expected rise due to the return to normal park hours still results in a net drop for the crowd levels? Am I right in this understanding?

        Reply
      • October 2, 2019 at 10:40 am
        Permalink

        I understand that for the crowd levels, but that doesn’t explain why your heatmaps seem to increase crowds (specifically November 21st and 22nd). HS now includes dark oranges where it only had light orange to yellow before. The crowd levels went from 7/8 to 6 on both days.

        Reply
      • October 4, 2019 at 6:50 pm
        Permalink

        That makes sense. With both EEMHs and lower crowds in October, the decrease in attendance expectations is greater. November also looks to have lower attendance but the difference isn’t as great with EEMHs further spreading out crowds.

        Thanks!

        Reply
        • October 4, 2019 at 6:51 pm
          Permalink

          Oops, replace attendance with crowds. I misspoke.

          Reply
  • October 2, 2019 at 8:34 am
    Permalink

    Is there any hope that Thanksgiving levels will decrease overall based on people waiting a few more days until Rise of the Resistance opens?

    Reply
    • October 2, 2019 at 9:48 am
      Permalink

      I don’t think so. For the people waiting for Rise of the Resistance to open, there will be twice the number of people wanting to go before Rise of the Resistance to avoid the crowds.

      Reply
  • October 2, 2019 at 9:01 am
    Permalink

    I received updated crowd levels for Dec 3-10. Levels are decreasing which makes no sense to me as there is zero availability for those dates. No open resorts at all. Please explain the reasoning for the decreases, I would love to understand. Opening of Rise of the Resistance and Pop Warner weekend, I’ve been considering cancelling my reservation. Thank you!

    Reply
    • October 2, 2019 at 9:46 am
      Permalink

      The hotel occupancy rate at Walt Disney World is high year-round. The variation in park attendance is more attributed to off-site hotels. Early December is not a good time for families to travel. Kids are finishing school work for the semester and people at work are in between Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

      Reply
  • October 2, 2019 at 9:03 am
    Permalink

    Looking good for low crowds in January for our trip, even with Rise of the Resistance. I was real worried about it when we first booked, but it looks like it won’t be too bad. Thanks for the update!

    Reply
  • October 2, 2019 at 9:54 am
    Permalink

    I recently received increased crowd levels for August 15-22 2020 – is this due to speculation that Disney will put good deals out there to make up for lower attendance in general and because many people are waiting until 2021 to visit?

    Also is this time of year a good time to go in general since a lot of areas have started school already.

    Reply
    • October 2, 2019 at 10:28 am
      Permalink

      I had the same question for August 8-15 2020. The crowd levels jumped quite a bit.

      Reply
      • October 2, 2019 at 11:04 am
        Permalink

        I’m wondering the same thing – crowd levels jumped quite a bit for 3rd week of August. Labor Day is late next year, which is what is allowing us to travel so late in the month before school starts – I wonder If that has an effect?

        Reply
    • October 2, 2019 at 11:51 am
      Permalink

      Yes, most schools in the Southeast go back in early or mid-August. Schools in the north start later. Many schools will wait until after Labor Day. In 2020, Labor Day is September 7. When Labor Day is this late, more schools will start the week before Labor Day.

      We typically do not see a drop off in crowds until after Labor Day. Families that have a late start to school takes advantage of it and keeps the summer attendance in the 5-8 range.

      Reply
  • October 2, 2019 at 10:41 am
    Permalink

    I do understand how expanded hours would help spread crowds out and keep wait times lower overall, but it seems unrealistic to drop Columbus Day weekend crowds this low. Magic Kingdom with a crowd level of three and overall park crowds a six ON Columbus Day? I don’t think so!

    Reply
    • October 2, 2019 at 12:00 pm
      Permalink

      Are you look at the right dates? Columbus Day is October 14, 2019. The resort crowd level ar 7 or 8 on October 12-14. The Magic Kingdom is an 8 on Saturday and Sunday. On Monday the Magic Kingdom is a 5 because the park closes at 6 pm. The week of Columbus has the highest crowd levels in October.

      Reply
      • October 6, 2019 at 9:59 am
        Permalink

        I’m looking at the email update I received from Touring Plans, along with the crowd tracker on the website. 10/14 has an overall crowd level of 6 with a MK crowd level of 3. I know MK crowds are often lower on party days, but it’s hard to imagine them being that low on the holiday weekend. I guess I will keep my fingers crossed that it turns out to be true!

        Reply
  • October 2, 2019 at 1:47 pm
    Permalink

    Mid-March 2020 went down 🙂 Any idea the cause? Is it likely to adjust again? I notice a Saturday with a low rating of 6/10 – which would change all of my plans for which days and what parks. Just adjusting Dining Reservations, but wondering if I will have to change back? Thank you for the predictions!

    Reply
    • October 2, 2019 at 2:14 pm
      Permalink

      The biggest impact on spring crowds are school schedules. This is already factored into the crow level predictions. Disney will likely change park hours before your vacation, and that could cause changes to the crowd levels.

      Reply
  • October 2, 2019 at 2:28 pm
    Permalink

    Any chance you guys have an estimate on the Disney Skyline? I plan to be going in November 17th week. Thank you very much.

    Reply
  • October 2, 2019 at 3:21 pm
    Permalink

    Awesome job as usual. I always enjoy reading the crowd calendar update even if I don’t have a trip planned, and love the explanations Steve provides for any changes.

    Reply
  • October 3, 2019 at 9:26 am
    Permalink

    I completely understand the reasoning for not using hotel availability as a factor in predicting crowd levels. However, I will say I do believe it played a part in my trip last weekend. While planning my somewhat last-minute trip, I compared 9/21 and 9/28. I noticed that even though the crowd predictions were the same for both days, there were several Disney rooms available the weekend of 9/21 and none available 9/28. This was a red flag to me, but after reading that hotels are not factored into crowd levels, I ended up choosing a Disney Springs resort for the weekend of 9/28. Well, the predicted crowd levels of 4 ended up being 7, by far the busiest day of the whole month! My family and I still had a lot of fun, despite having to skip a few things on our touring plan. In the future, if I’m deciding between two dates that are similar on the crowd calendar, I’m going to go with the one with more hotel availability!

    Reply
  • October 4, 2019 at 4:19 pm
    Permalink

    Hey Steve – Thanks for the update and the post! I had a question on Feb 5, 2020, Hollywood Studios went from a 3 to a 1? It seems odd with Feb 4 being at a 4, and Feb 6 being a 3.

    Reply
    • October 4, 2019 at 5:15 pm
      Permalink

      Hi Jack- A 1 for Hollywood Studios on Wendesday, February 5, 2020, does look a bit wonky. Wednesday, February 6, 2019, and Wednesday, February 7, 2018, were both a 4. I don’t see anything in the data that would be driving the crowd level so low. I keep a watch on this date. Expect to see an increase in the crowd level with the next update.

      Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 9:08 am
    Permalink

    Hi there. Hoping you can answer something. We are going to be in the parks Fri 2/21- Sun 2/23. Do you know why Animal Kingdom crowd levels are so much higher than the other parks? Thanks!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

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