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Dealing With Traffic Jams In Cars Land

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Predicting wait times at theme parks is s delicate science but we can get good results by applying the basic principle of statistical forecasting which is: if you collect enough good information about what happened you may be able to predict what will happen. When it comes to brand new attractions like those at the new Cars Land in Disney California Adventure, however, it becomes less about the science and more about experience. Cars Land has no history, no pre-existing wait time information to collect. So, we use our own experience and the experience of others to brainstorm ideas about what we think will happen.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not the first time we have had to deal with new attractions coming online. We have seen attractions like Expedition Everest, Mission: SPACE, Toy Story Mania, Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage and Star Tours 2: The Adventure Continues open their gates for the first time and greatly affect the touring conditions in their respective parks. Typically, we have seen that within 6 to 12 months a new super headliner will settle into its inherent level of popularity. Perhaps the only exception may be Star Tours 2, particularly in Disneyland where we still see wait times that are significantly higher than its predecessor.

Early reports of the new attractions in Cars Land are positive. It seems that these attractions are fresh, exciting and appeal to a wide range of guests. We are expecting that for the first 6 months of operation guests will flock to DCA in order to experience these new attractions for the first time. Some even think that their initial rush of popularity may even extend past the next 12 months. Will these attractions have significant appeal to lure guests to line up for a second and third ride? That is the ultimate question.

Our question for you is:

What do YOU think?

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Fred Hazelton

Fred Hazelton maintains the crowd calendar, theme park wait time models and does hotel rate analysis for the Unofficial Guides. He's also done the models for the new mobile wait times product Lines. Fred Hazelton is a professional statistician living in Ontario, Canada. His email address is You can also follow him on Twitter: @DisneyStatsWhiz.

11 thoughts on “Dealing With Traffic Jams In Cars Land

  • Hit Radiator Springs on Saturday night right during the first World of Color performance. Wife and I hopped into the singles line and got on the ride in 42 minutes. I think they made the race portion too short and the storyline beginning way too long. Cars Land will not be the saving grace of California Adventure IMO, it may just settle into something similar ala Toon Town where it doesn’t draw many non-kids but is still “full” from simple observation.

    Take the time now if you’re going to DL or DCA and ride EVERYTHING ELSE, lines on Saturday were no more than 30 minutes for any ride (including Star Tours). Then once World of Color starts up, head over to Radiator Springs if you want to (and go in the singles line).

    • That would be a good plan, except for the past couple nights Racers has had 200+ standby waits during WoC, and singles has been cut off for over-capacity. The only sure way to ride is to line up at least 30min before rope drop and get a Fastpass first thing.

  • After having experienced Radiator Springs Racers dozens of times, my take is that its popularity will not wane. Well, I shouldn’t say that–it won’t have 300 minute waits forever, but it will be like Indiana Jones Adventure or Space Mountain in that it always has long waits. The attraction is simply that good, offers some thrills, and has an incredible amount of detail. I think those three things are the recipe for a popular attraction.

    I suspect that RSR will see peak wait times consistently above an hour (or 90 minutes) after the initial surge of opening popularity wears off.

  • Maybe the Blogs should have seperate lines. One for WDW and one for DinsleyLand.

  • I’m guessing that Radiator Springs Racers will be similar to Toy Story Mania in Hollywood Studios at WDW: Walk as fast as you can for a FastPass and get ready to wait a long time in the standby line. All the photos of the ride look beautiful, so I can see myself riding it more than once during a park day.

  • We are going in October. I am hoping for fast passes to RSR and that the crowds are as low at as the calendar predicts right now. We are going during the week during school. The last time I went to Disneyland was the summer that Splash Mountain opened and we waited 3 hours to go on that ride (at the end of the day right before the park closed). I don’t want to have to do that on our trip. My kids don’t have that kind of patience.

  • It will be really interesting to see how the crowds and lines go over the next three or four weeks. I’m certainly glad we weren’t there today, but I do want to visit sooner, rather than later. I’m looking forward to the new Touring Plan. If it’s not ready, when we go our touring plan will be something like: Go to DCA—>get Fast Pass for Radiator Springs Racers. And we’ll probably do that three out of three mornings, because there’s no way riding one time will be enough!

  • What are the wait times for STII today? Is DCA pulling people from DL today?

  • Well, considering the line is supposedly 5.5 hours right now and the Fast Passes were gone as of 10am, I’m guessing RSR will forever be one of the long-line rides – just like Space Mountain.

    Also, having been in the line before, I know it’s not the fastest line in the world, so I’m guessing once things die down (which probably won’t happen until at least January) the line will still run in the 45-60 minute range.

    I expect Tow Mater and Luigi’s lines to be more akin to Peter Pan or the Teacups. It will be a long wait with a relatively short line except during certain times of the day/week.

    Someone should really start a pool on these things! I can’t wait to see how the lines do turn out.

    • I think I’m sticking by what I thought last year when Star Tours II came out. Given a choice of being among the first to see it or among the first to see it without a huge crowd, I pick the second option.

  • I don’t see the attractions pulling in huge crowds after 12 months. With six months you’ll have a large number of people, but after that things will fade. While interesting, two are fairly low capacity rides that probably won’t merit a second ride.

    For all the things nice about the racers, there are only two things different in each; the “pit stop” and winning or losing.

    Star Tours II is in a class by itself (for now) – 54 different combinations. When I went in May for the first time in six years I was determined to catch all possibilities and went on it eight times in three days. I can’t see doing that to anything in Cars Land.

    I did look up the crowd projections. There is no way I’m going back before September.


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