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Disney Data Dump December 14 2022

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Happy mid-December! Does anyone else feel like it was just yesterday that I posted the last data dump? No? Just me. Cool then. We’re in the middle of a pleasant, predictable, medium-crowd season at Walt Disney World. Holiday entertainment, overlays, and other offerings are in full swing. But the large crowds that will descend at the end of the year haven’t quite arrived. This is really a perfect time of year to visit Orlando if you want all of the festivities with approximately something like half of the humans that will be there after Christmas. Need more convincing? Let’s look at the data.

By the way – this week’s cover photo comes from the always-wonderful Julia Mascardo, who may love the Living with the Land overlay just as much as I do. The only difference is that she’s actually seen it in person.

Observed Crowd Levels 12/6 – 12/12

Observed crowd levels from December6th through 12th, 2022

Ummmm …. boring? Last week we saw pretty steadily increasing crowds, with some green bars early in the week, and ending with a crowd level 7. I predicted that there would be no more green bars. Hooray for being right, boo for sustained higher crowds. But all 5s and 6s really isn’t terrible for early and mid December. Consistent and easily tour-able days in the parks.

Observed crowd levels at Magic Kingdom from December 6th through 12th, 2022

No boring straight-line charts for Magic Kingdom, of course. And the only place where we find some of those elusive green days that make Disney World so much more fun. We don’t see a repeat of the glorious crowd level 1 and 2 days from last week, but a crowd level 3 in mid December is not too shabby. I’m actually more surprised at the crowd level 6 on December 10th, which was surrounded by three party days. Someone who attended that day – first you have to tell me why you ignored by “avoid Magic Kingdom on non-party day” advice, and then you have to tell me why Magic Kingdom wasn’t as crowded as it rightly should have been.

How our predictions performed from December 6th through 12th, 2022

Each week, I’m giving you a very transparent look into how our crowd level predictions performed. Each day at each park is one data point, so we have 28 different crowd level predictions to evaluate each week. Any time a prediction is within one or two crowd levels, things won’t really “feel” much different than what we predicted. Being off by 3 or more crowd levels is where we’d like to be more accurate because you might feel that difference in wait times throughout the day.

In the past week, our predictions were either spot-on or within 1 crowd level 71% of the time. This is the exact same as last week, so yay us for correctly predicting moderate early-December crowds. 96% of the time we were within 2 crowd levels, and that means we earn an A for our predictions these past two weeks. Matched our all-time high from last week! In fact, the only park-day where we were off by more than 2 crowd levels in the past week was on December 7th at Magic Kingdom. We were predicting a crowd level 4 on a non-party day. Nonsense. No surprise that it ended up being an 8.

Attraction Downtime 12/6 – 12/12

If we average out all of the capacity lost due to unexpected downtime over the past two weeks, it comes out to 3.4% of attractions unexpectedly being down. This is almost identical to last week, and it feels like downtime is back under some sort of control after that wild November. The park with the biggest issues was Hollywood Studios, with 5.7% of capacity its lost due to unexpected downtime. Unfortunately, this is the one downtime data point that is trending in the wrong direction, since the Studios only experienced 5% downtime last week.

The worst day for attraction downtime in the past week was on December 6th. On that day, 4.75% of all capacity at WDW was lost due to unexpected downtime. The single worst park-day of the week was actually on December 10th, at Hollywood Studios. On that day, 9% of the the capacity at that park was lost due to unexpected downtime. Hollywood Studios was open for 12.5 hours on that day, so 15% downtime is the equivalent of the whole park being down for just over 1 hour out of those 12.5 hours.

Attraction Downtime

The worst offender was Splash Mountain, which was unexpectedly down for approximately 14% of the week. Its worst day was easily December 12th, when it was unavailable for 57% of the entire park day. The good news is that this means Tower of Terror was slightly more reliable this week. The bad news is that those folks trying to get one last drop on Splash Mountain are having a more difficult time working it into their schedules. This is probably at least partially due to routine maintenance apparently having stopped on Splash Mountain quite a few weeks or months ago. The attraction is noticeably run-down, as Disney doesn’t want to invest in upkeep of a ride that is imminently getting a total refresh. But the systems that drive the attraction are just as run-down as the show elements that you can see at this point, and that means breakdowns will be more frequent.

Spoiler alert: If you stop taking care of attractions, they break down more frequently.

Rope Drop Downtime

Here are this week’s problematic offenders:

  • Magic KingdomPirates of the Caribbean (unavailable for 23% of its first hour of the day), Splash Mountain (unavailable for 23% of its first hour of the day)
  • EPCOTTest Track (unavailable for 29% of its first hour of the day)
  • Hollywood Studios: Rise of the Resistance (unavailable for 40% of its first hour of the day), Runaway Railway (unavailable for 22% of its first hour of the day), Tower of Terror (unavailable for 15% of its first hour of the day)
  • Animal Kingdom: No first-hour problems!

If you’re not eligible for early entry at Magic Kingdom, it looks like Jungle Cruise and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad are your best bets. The big problem here, though, is Rise of the Resistance at Hollywood Studios. Rise of the Resistance is undoubtedly the best early entry rope-drop choice, since it still opens before the rest of the park when it can. Unfortunately, if you wait around to see if it opens up, you’ve already lost your chance to beat a lot of the lines at Slinky or Tower of Terror.

A dad holding his daughter, who is pointing to one of the "maps" in the Rise of the Resistance queue
Planning out a rope drop strategy for Hollywood Studios looks something like this.

Wait Times 12/6 – 12/12

Attractions with the Highest Average Wait at each park

  • Hollywood Studios: Tower of Terror, average posted wait of 96 minutes (86 minutes last week)
  • Animal KingdomFlight of Passage, average posted wait time of 94 minutes (92 last week)
  • EPCOTRemy’s Ratatouille Adventure, average posted wait time of 78 minutes (69 last week)
  • Magic KingdomSeven Dwarfs Mine Train, average posted wait time of 68 minutes (61 last week)

It’s amazing that once again, Tower of Terror had the highest average posted wait time of any attraction in all of Walt Disney World. This is due to the reduced capacity from one elevator shaft being down, and it should very much impact your touring strategy and Genie+ priorities at Hollywood Studios until it changes. At the very least, if you are purchasing Genie+ for your Hollywood Studios day, make Tower of Terror your first or second reservation for now.

Wait times are up at every other highest-wait attraction compared to last week, pointing to those steady but increased crowds compared to last week.

A rare sight indeed – an empty Flight of Passage queue. (photo by Michael Carelli) Stay tuned to this week’s Saturday Six for more AMAZING Pandora photos.

Parks with the Highest and Lowest Average Wait

These parks likely won’t change week-to-week unless something ridiculous happens, but these data points will give us a high-level view of how wait times are trending from week to week.

  • Highest: Hollywood Studios, average park-wide posted wait of 47 minutes (last week 43 minutes)
  • Lowest: Magic Kingdom, average park-wide posted wait of 24.5 minutes (last week 22.5 minutes)

Thanks to those lower-crowd party days, Magic Kingdom continues to have the lowest average wait times. But things are trending up in all parks. We’re not back to Thanksgiving-week levels of crazy … yet. But we’ll get there. Unless we get a crazy December hurricane – never say never 😉

Most Inflated Posted Wait Times

We all know that Disney inflates their posted wait times on purpose. They have many reasons for doing this. Some are totally understandable, and some are potentially more problematic. We can figure out how much posted wait times are being inflated by comparing submitted actual wait times from the Lines App and the posted wait time when the person timing their wait entered the line.

From December 6th through 12th, actual wait times in the Lines App averaged 65% of what was posted. So if the posted wait time was 20 minutes, you could’ve expected to wait just 13 minutes instead.

But the worst offender for the week was Slinky Dog Dash. At this one attraction, submitted actual wait times were 51% of posted wait times. Pretty remarkable that an attraction with one of the highest wait times in any park also has the most inflation this week. It means that if Slinky Dog Dash had a 90 minute posted wait, you probably would’ve waited just about 46 minutes. Just over half of what was posted. Remember to always check the Lines app for predicted actual waits instead of believing what is posted.

These Slinky fans know to never trust the posted wait time

Looking Ahead: December 13th through December 19th

Since it takes time to pull data and write a post, you’ll be reading this on the 14th when the 13th is already in the past. But we’re staying as close to real-time as possible.

Between now and the 19th, we’ll see some really cool-kid types of school districts wrapping things up for the year and freeing up families to head to Disney before the “real” crowds arrive. But that doesn’t represent any sort of majority. So expect to see crowds that are overall slightly higher than this past week, but still pretty steady.

Parties are happening at the Magic Kingdom on the 13th, 15th, 16th and 18th. This should lead to some larger crowds at Magic Kingdom on the 14th, 17th and 19th.

After the 19th is when things are going to start really kicking into high gear, with the 26th through the 31st being peak crowds for the year.

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Becky Gandillon

Becky Gandillon was trained in biomedical engineering, but is now a full-time data and analytics nerd. She loves problem solving and travelling. She and her husband, Jeff, live in St. Louis with their two daughters and they have Disney family movie night every Saturday. You can follow her on LinkedIn: or instagram @raisingminniemes

13 thoughts on “Disney Data Dump December 14 2022

  • We were at MK on 12/7 and it was nuts. (We were also there on 12/9 so did take your party day advice, too.) Main Street closed for Enchantment viewing around 7 I think, and it was an 8:30 show that night. They also cWe got a lot done because we had early entry, Genie +, and a touring plan.

  • Yea. We were the family that was at Magic Kingdom on the 7th. Why? Despite my insistence to follow the TP advice (with data to back up) they didn’t want to park hop with a little. SO we suffered and slogged through the day. We never got Jungle Cruise or Splash Mountain. We only got Space Mountain because of Deluxe Magic Hours. Still did just about everything in the park with Genie+.

    Sometimes I wish family vacations were with a little less family.

    • Ha! That last line … I’ve felt that before.

    • We were there on 12/7 too. I got Jungle Cruise LL first for 9:15am, luckily. We had Splash Mountain but didn’t end up having time to do it between dinner and fireworks. If we wouldn’t of had to wait on a 2nd boat from WL, we probably could have fit it in. Evryone was tired so we didn’t stay for deluxe hours. We did it on 12/9 though and waited on Space for MVMCP with the overlay.

      • We were at MK on 12/7 and it was nuts. (We were also there on 12/9 so did take your party day advice, too.) Main Street closed for Enchantment viewing around 7 I think, and it was an 8:30 show that night. We got a lot done because we had early entry, Genie +, and a touring plan. also, I was suprised at how many familes had taken their kids out of school that week like us.

  • Thank you Becky, these data dumps are amazing and I’ve been studying them religiously in advance of our trip starting on December 19th. Regarding downtime at rope drop, do you have an overall “worst offender” per park since you started monitoring the data? Some seem to be appear with regularity, but others seem to vary from week to week. Thanks so much for pulling these together, super useful!

    • Ooh, I don’t have it immediately, but I’ll pull the worst for each park and get back to you!

      • Awesome, thank you!

    • Since the beginning of October, % offline in the first hour of operations:
      At Magic Kingdom – Splash Mountain (36%), Pirates (34%)
      At Hollywood Studios – Tower of Terror (19%), Rise (19%), Runaway Railway (16%)
      At EPCOT – Test Track (16%), Frozen Ever After (14%)
      At Animal Kingdom – no real issues. Top one is Expedition Everest (8%)

      • Thanks so much Becky! Rope drop Plan Bs are ready, especially for MK. I would have guessed correctly for MK and and HS, but am pleasantly surprised that Remy is not up there for Epcot (will still have Plan B ready, but hopefully not need to use it).

      • Have such a great trip, and please let me know how it goes!

      • Reporting back as promised! It seems the data doesn’t lie – we were 2/3 for predictions of rides down at park opening:
        – At MK on 12/20, after the EE rope drop in Fantasyland (PPF followed by WtP), we had planned to “second” rope drop BTMR followed by Splash, and both of those were down (though Pirates was not, so we pivoted to that and JC instead). The good news is that we had booked a G+ LL for Splash at park open (and managed to jump into the standby line shortly after it finally opened). Our LL from park open then converted into an anytime experience, which was very useful for our MK day.
        – At HS on 12/22, both ToT and MMRR were down during EE (Rise was not), so we pivoted from our RD plans for MMRR to knock out TSM (only one side running, so also a slow start) and then use our LL for Slinky at park open.
        – Epcot was the exception on 12/21 – neither TT nor FEA were down, so we rope dropped FEA (walk on during EE) and then used a LL for Remy and our VQ for GotG. Not keen on TT, so skipped that one entirely.

        We had a fantastic trip, and our planning benefited enormously from your data dumps, TP teaches videos and other tips – including the mantra to do MK on a party day (so relaxed!) Thanks so much!

      • Thanks so much for reporting back!

        You bring up an interesting though with attractions that are almost always down at rope drop, and also have early Genie+ availability. That conversion to an anytime/anywhere is really valuable. It’s definitely a gamble to try to aim for something being down, and could lead to something of a “wasted” Genie+ reservation. But in cases like yours, where the attraction is one that has long waits anyway – if you use it, great. If it converts to anytime/anywhere, even better. Love it!

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