You know how some things are just better together? Wanda? Pretty cool. Vision? Adorable. WandaVision? I would watch that every day of the week. Chocolate? Yes, please. Bacon? Absolutely. Chocolate-covered bacon? Well, now I’m just making myself hungry. The point is, combinations are better. And the same holds true with data. We’ve been going through some data silos in the past few weeks. We looked at attraction satisfaction data and compared it pre-closure and post re-opening. And TouringPlans is all about using attraction wait data to optimize your visit. But we don’t do much combination of those two data sets. Doing just that, by looking at satisfaction vs wait time, can unlock even more insight and increase your ability to make better decisions. Sure, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is awesome. But is it technically worth the wait? Or can you get just as satisfying of an attraction experience for lower wait at some other ride? Let’s find out!
Explain the Math!
To inform our analysis, we need to know two things: Attraction Satisfaction and Attraction Wait Time.
- We collect satisfaction on a scale from 1 to 5 for every attraction at WDW in post-visit surveys. This satisfaction is split out by age groups. But I can combine it all together and weight it to come up with an overall average satisfaction score. For example, we might get the following satisfaction results from folks that rode Alien Swirling Saucers. And the overall satisfaction score would be 2.68 = (1*10+2*27+3*19+4*15+5*4)/(10+10+10+20+20+5):
- Preschoolers: two 3s, six 4s, two 5s
- Grade schoolers: one 2, three 3s, four 4s, two 5s
- Teens: two 1s, four 2s, two 3s, two 4s
- Young adults: two 1s, ten 2s, six 3s, two 4s
- Adults over 30: four 1s, ten 2s, five 3s, one 4
- Seniors: two 1s, two 2s, one 3
- For average wait, I’m going to make things easy and pull the predicted mid-day wait for each ride on a crowd level 5 day. For Alien Swirling Saucers, that’s an easy 16 minutes.
Visualizing Satisfaction vs Wait
Woohoo! Plotting the two numbers for every attraction across the property gives us … confetti! The vertical red line represents the overall average wait time – about 22.5 minutes. The horizontal red line represents the overall average satisfaction at all attractions – 4.21. The two red lines divide the graph into 4 segments, or quadrants. And each one means something different.
- The top left quadrant are the “Winners”! Below-average wait, and above-average satisfaction. It’s easy to recommend experiencing those attractions.
- The top right quadrant are “Worth the Wait”. Above-average wait, but also above-average satisfaction. You probably won’t be sorry that you spent the extra time in line. (But you should also use a touring plan, especially for these attractions, to avoid as much wait as possible).
- The bottom left quadrant are “Meh”. Below-average wait, and below-average satisfaction. You might not be wowed, but at least you won’t wait a long time in line to be under-whelmed.
- The bottom right quadrants are “Don’t Waste Your Time”. Above-average wait and below-average satisfaction. This doesn’t mean you absolutely shouldn’t go on these attractions. But especially if you’re pressed for time, it’s probably best to explore other options. At least on a crowd level 5 day. Remember, in these static views, we are limited by the one crowd level I chose to pull wait times for.
Animal Kingdom Satisfaction vs Wait
Not many attractions at Animal Kingdom record regular wait times. But of those that do, at least one falls into each of our quadrants.
- The winners here are easily Expedition Everest and Kilimanjaro Safaris. Waits are pretty low and satisfaction is really high. Put these at that top of your Animal Kingdom list!
- Flight of Passage, Adventurers Outpost (character meet), and Kali River Rapids all have longer waits, but their satisfaction scores make them worth your wait.
- On the other end of the spectrum, DINOSAUR draws above-average waits but relatively low satisfaction scores. If you are pressed for time, this is easily the one to skip at Animal Kingdom.
Hollywood Studios Satisfaction vs Wait
- Biggest news at the Studios is that no attractions with regularly tracked wait times fall into the “Don’t Waste Your Time” category.
- But … it’s also the park with the highest overall average wait. There are tons of above-average satisfaction attractions that have above-average (and very above-average) waits. It makes Hollywood Studios days a little harder to plan, and therefore really good candidates for using optimized touring plans.
- The obvious biggest loser in this park is Alien Swirling Saucers. The wait is low compared to the rest of the park, but the satisfaction scores are pretty awful. If you wait for it, don’t expect to be blown away by a spectacular experience.
- Interestingly, Meet Chewbacca, Rock’n’Roller Coaster, and Slinky Dog Dash have remarkably similar satisfaction scores, but increasing wait time commitments. If the wait looks too long at Slinky Dog Dash, it may be worth your time to try listening to some Aerosmith while strapped into a limo instead.
EPCOT Satisfaction vs Wait
- EPCOT has the lowest overall average wait time of any park. But it also has the lowest overall satisfaction scores. This means a lots of attractions end up the “Meh” category. Waits are short, but those attractions might not be your favorite.
- Only one attraction that’s a short wait for above-average satisfaction in this park – meeting Anna and Elsa, of course! Ha.
- And only one attraction comes in as not worth the longer wait – Mission: SPACE Orange. So I guess if you want to go to space, try out the shorter wait at Green first with less time commitment.
Magic Kingdom Satisfaction vs Wait
- Now things start getting really busy. There are more attraction options at Magic Kingdom than any other park, and so there are more decisions to be made about what to spend your time on.
- Several interesting tradeoffs exist in this graph – for example, Astro Orbiter and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin have almost identical wait times, but very different satisfaction scores.
- Many Fantasyland staples appear in the “Don’t Waste Your Time” quadrant. But don’t tell that to my kids. They’d be devastated. Instead, maybe make your kids happy by working around the higher wait times. For Fantasyland especially, this likely means hitting it early in the morning if you can, instead of dealing with those nastier mid-day waits.
What Does This Mean For You?
- Getting in line for any attraction is always a trade-off. You’re spending time waiting in order to hopefully experience something awesome. But you can be more sure of what you plan for your day if you know a little bit about the trade-offs you’re making.
- At Animal Kingdom and EPCOT, DINOSAUR and Mission: SPACE Orange are the riskiest trade-offs. Maybe it’s something to do with capitalization? Just know that these rides in particular are, on average, not worth their wait.
- At Hollywood Studios, almost everything garners a lengthy wait. But at least you can know that most of the attractions are worth that wait.
- And at Magic Kingdom, there are many more attraction options than any other park. A lot of the Fantasyland attractions don’t have high satisfaction given their high mid-day waits. Some easier bets include Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, The Haunted Mansion, and most of the character meets.
Did any attractions surprise you with which quadrant they appeared in? Does having the combined data help you in decision-making? Would you replace either of the axes with different metrics? Or would you use an interactive, filterable version of these graphs, like with crowd level or age group selection? Let us know in the comments!