Disney Data Dump March 29 2023
We made it! Well, I don’t know if you made it. My family survived our cross-country road trip that culminated in a visit to Rocky Mountain National Park and three days of skiing in Colorado. With two young kids. The good news is, heading to the cold and snow for Spring Break isn’t really a popular choice, and so we avoided all of the crowds. Folks who headed to Orlando weren’t quite as fortunate, since Walt Disney World is still a premier Spring Break destination. Still, the wait times and crowd levels definitely weren’t as bad as we would have expected. Keep reading to find out more!
Observed Crowd Levels 3/14 – 3/27
Oh hey Spring Break, what’s up? We see that the tail-end of really high crowds quickly plays itself out by St. Patrick’s Day, and instead the rest of the normal Spring Break season has more moderate crowds. Really, these crowd levels and wait times are nothing compared to the weekend and week of Presidents Day, which might as well be the “new Spring Break”. Looks like late March is now a perfectly decent time to visit the parks.
Spring Break crowds had the worst impact at – shocker – Hollywood Studios. The closure of Rock’n’Roller Coaster doesn’t help things at this already wait-heavy park. And while overall WDW crowds died down by March 17th, things didn’t really calm down at Hollywood Studios until the 25th-ish. There’s a good reason that when I try to plan a “sample day” at any other park, I use a crowd level 5 – but at Hollywood Studios I use a crowd level 7. Waits are just going to be high.
On the opposite end of that spectrum, we have EPCOT. Look at that beautiful day after St. Patrick’s Day. I guess everyone partied too hard the day before and wasn’t interested in drinking around the world. Or something. So remember that even in the midst of crazy crowds, you can always optimize your day by choosing appropriate parks!
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 on this bonus double-week we have 56 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.
Our good news/bad news situation from this spring persists! In the past two weeks, Touring Plans predictions were either spot-on or within 1 crowd level 46% of the time. This is back down near our historical low. Boo. 67% of the time Touring Plans predictions were within 2 crowd levels, and that means we earn a D+ for our predictions this past week. This, too, is below average, but slightly better than the all-time low of a D- from a month ago. That’s the bad news. The “good” news is that almost all of the misses were the “happy” type – overpredictions. Just like the past several weeks, TouringPlans predicted a lot higher crowds and they just didn’t happen. The biggest misses of the week were on March 26th at Hollywood Studios and March 18th at EPCOT. On those days, crowds were 5 levels lower than expected. Those are very large misses where crowds just mysteriously disappeared.
Attraction Downtime 3/14 – 3/27
If we average out all of the capacity lost due to unexpected downtime over the past two weeks, it comes out to 3% of attractions unexpectedly being down. This is pretty typical downtime for really crowded times in the park. And welcome to totally crazy upside-down world, where the park with the biggest issues was … Animal Kingdom – for the first time ever, with 3.4% of its capacity lost due to unexpected downtime. This is one of the smallest “biggest” downtime numbers we’ve ever seen.
The worst day for attraction downtime in the past week was on March 20th. On that day, 6% of all capacity at WDW was lost due to unexpected downtime. The worst park-day of the week was at Animal Kingdom, on the 20th. On that one day, 10% of the the capacity at that park was lost due to unexpected downtime. Animal Kingdom was open for 12 hours on that day, so 10% downtime is the equivalent of the whole park being down for for 72 minutes – over an hour of downtime for the whole park. Thankfully, this didn’t seem to have an impact on wait times and crowd levels, since Animal Kingdom was predicted to be an 8 and ended up being a 6.
The worst offender of the past two weeks is a shared podium, with Expedition Everest and … Mickey’s Philharmagic, which were unexpectedly down for approximately 11% of the past two weeks. Another weird combo of winners! And we can all be grateful that the winners are only at 11%, unlike the string of downtimes up over 20% that we’ve been seeing.
Rope Drop Downtime
Here are this week’s problematic offenders:
- Magic Kingdom: TTA PeopleMover (unavailable for 29% of its first hour of the day), Haunted Mansion (unavailable for 25% of its first hour of the day), Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (unavailable for 25% of its first hour of the day), Space Mountain (unavailable for 13% of its first hour of the day)
- EPCOT: No rope drop downtime issues!
- Hollywood Studios: Rise of the Resistance (unavailable for 23% of its first hour of the day)
- Animal Kingdom: Expedition Everest (unavailable for 14% of its first hour of the day)
It’s been a while since we’ve seen EPCOT not have any rope drop downtime issues, so that’s pretty exciting. Less exciting is the slew of down attractions at Magic Kingdom, and the continued problems at Rise of the Resistance. The good news there is that Chrissy, our brave and incredible in-parks report, has figured out that “hack” to avoid wasting time walking over the Rise of the Resistance if it’s not open first-thing. If you arrive early for early entry, and the main gates open 15 or more minutes before early entry begins, chances are Rise of the Resistance will open early. If the main gates don’t open until 5 or 10 minutes before early entry begins, Rise of the Resistance is almost certainly down, and you should go straight to Slinky instead. Thanks Chrissy!
Wait Times 3/14 – 3/27
Attractions with the Highest Average Posted Wait at each park
- Hollywood Studios: Slinky Dog Dash, average posted wait of 106 minutes (91 minutes two weeks ago)
- Animal Kingdom: Flight of Passage, average posted wait time of 107 minutes (90 minutes two weeks ago)
- EPCOT: Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, average posted wait time of 84 minutes (75 minutes two weeks ago)
- Magic Kingdom: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, average posted wait time of 90 minutes (84 minutes two weeks ago)
Wait times are definitely higher in this Spring Break season than they have been previously, but not the crazy times we saw in late February. Once again, Magic Kingdom holds its crowds the best out of any park, and it has the smallest increase in that highest posted wait time. Animal Kingdom suffered the most, with Flight of Passage and its 17 minute increase at Flight of Passage.
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 45 minutes (41 minutes two weeks ago)
- Lowest: EPCOT, average park-wide posted wait of 28 minutes (26 minutes two weeks ago)
When we look at these park-wide averages we see the high-level impact of the Spring Break crowds. Even EPCOT, with its more mild crowds, has an average wait time of almost 28 minutes throughout the day. And Hollywood Studios goes back into major yikes territory with an average posted wait of 45 minutes.
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.
Over the past week, actual wait times in the Lines App averaged 61% of what was posted. This is below our historical average by a couple of percentage points. If the posted wait time was 60 minutes, you could’ve expected to wait just under 37 minutes instead.
But the worst offender for the past two weeks is Peter Pan’s Flight! It reclaims its throne from Buzz Lightyear. At this one attraction, submitted actual wait times were only 43% of posted wait times in the past week, which means that if Peter Pan had a 60 minute posted wait, you probably would’ve waited just under 26 minutes. Quite a bit less than half of what was posted. Remember to always check the Lines app for predicted actual waits instead of believing what is posted.
Actual Wait Time Rock Star
The Actual Wait Time Rock Star for the past two weeks was … gmcc, who submitted 63 actual wait times through the Lines App over the last 14 days! This includes 38 Lightning Lane waits, 15 Standby waits, 2 Single Rider waits, and 8 Virtual Queue waits. Thank you for all of that timing, gmcc! But you didn’t claim the all-time record, which is still held by shop.kgb, with 50 recorded wait times in a single week.
In the next week, if you’re able to grab TRON virtual queue or lightning lane waits for us, that would be incredibly helpful!
Looking Ahead: March 28th through April 3rd
Goodbye March, hello April!
My pre-Spring Break predictions were totally wrong two weeks ago. I thought the crowds were going to get elevated and stay elevated. And instead they petered out pretty quickly. So I don’t know why you’re listening to me anyway!
Over the next week, there is absolutely nothing special happening, other than the lead-up to Easter. Most years, quite a few school districts line up their spring breaks with Easter. Things have been more spread out this year, so I’m hoping things don’t get crazy. That being said, there’s already one weird day (April 4th), where park reservations are already sold out at Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. I’m going to go ahead and say this is for TRON opening, and people are making whatever park reservations they can, hoping to get over to Magic Kingdom when park hopping opens up. It’s also an oddly cheap day for ticket prices, so there might be a couple of anomalies leading to those booked-up reservations. Still, Magic Kingdom reservations are totally booked up from now until April 9th. A lot of that should be TRON demand, but it could lead to elevated wait times throughout the park.
The continued good news is that there isn’t much rain in the forecast for the Orlando area over the next week. The bad part of that news is that it’s going to be pretty hot. Not mid-summer hot, but pretty hot for early spring. Be prepared for the heat and potential crowds!
2 thoughts on “Disney Data Dump March 29 2023”
Great hack on DHS rope drop. Thanks! Making a note of it for our August trip.
We also spent our SB in Colorado… such an easy flight from STL to DEN, and no crowds! Now, the weather was about 40 degrees colder than Orlando, but still.