Anyone else ready for summer? If nothing else, we need something to shake up these Disney Data Dumps that have become an almost endless supply of confirmation that crowds are low! Hopefully a combination of excellent deals and school getting out will help boost numbers at least a little bit. Provide us all with some excitement and a little less jealousy of everyone in the parks. Ha! Without further ado, let’s take a look at mid-May.
Observed Crowd Levels 5/16 – 5/22
A continued string of nice, low crowd levels … and then one yellow day. Still, this is a much lower set of crowds than we would expect to see in mid-May, and probably points to a slow-down that is going to continue through the summer. But we can already tell that this isn’t as low as last week, so some early-off schools are letting out, and folks with flexible travel schedules are starting some of their summer vacations.
Like last week, there was another weird set of days where Animal Kingdom and EPCOT were both (relatively) more crowded than Hollywood Studios! In fact, on May 20th, Hollywood Studios had the lowest crowds of any park. Very odd for EPCOT to be at the top for 5 days in a row too.
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 this week 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.
This continues to be ugly. It’s ever-so-slightly, squint-and-you’ll-miss-it less ugly than last week, when 46% of park-days were overestimated by 3 or more crowd levels – and only 39% of park-days were overestimated by that much this week. In the past week, Touring Plans predictions were either spot-on or within 1 crowd level 21% of the time. That’s ties our new all-time low from last week. 60% of the time Touring Plans predictions were within 2 crowd levels, and that means we earn a D- for our predictions this past week. Juuuuuuuust better than the F from last week. Predictions were, once again (broken record), just about as skewed as possible this week. We had not a single-park day that was under-estimated. The biggest miss of the past week over-predicted crowds by 6 crowd levels. That happened on May 21st at Hollywood Studios, when Touring Plans predicted crowd level 9, and it ended up being a crowd level 3 day. There were also three park-days over-estimated by 5 crowd levels, and three park-days over-estimated by 4 crowd levels.
Attraction Downtime 5/16 – 5/22
If we average out all of the capacity lost due to unexpected downtime over the past week, it comes out to 4.4% of attractions unexpectedly being down. This is now a continued upward trend – we’ll see how this continues into the next couple of weeks. The park with the biggest issues was Magic Kingdom, with 6.1% of its capacity lost due to unexpected downtime. That’s two weeks in a row that Magic Kingdom has had the most downtime
The worst day for attraction downtime in the past week was on May 22nd. On that day, 7% of all capacity at WDW was lost due to unexpected downtime. The worst park-day of the week was at Animal Kingdom on May 22nd. On that park day, 12% of the capacity at the park was lost due to unexpected downtime. Animal Kingdom was open for 10 hours on the 22nd, so 12% downtime is the equivalent of the whole park being down for over 70 minutes. Ouch.
The worst offender of the past week is … prepare yourselves for a big shock … the Magic Carpets of Aladdin, which was unexpectedly down for approximately 68% of the past week. This is the fourth win in a row for the Carpets, after 58% downtime last week, and 38% downtime for the two weeks before that. The worst day for our the Carpets was on May 21st, when it was unexpectedly down for 88% of the day. And this was closely followed by the 19th, 20th, and 22nd, all of which had over 80% downtime. It’s been a rough month if you’re depending on magic carpet rides to fulfill your Disney dreams.
Rope Drop Downtime
Here are this week’s problematic offenders:
- Magic Kingdom: Magic Carpets of Aladdin (unavailable for 55% of its first hour of the day), Space Mountain (unavailable for 40% of its first hour of the day), Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (unavailable for 29% of its first hour of the day), Under the Sea (unavailable for 14% of its first hour of the day)
- EPCOT: Spaceship Earth (unavailable for 28% of its first hour of the day)
- Hollywood Studios: Runaway Railway (unavailable for 14% of its first hour of the day)
- Animal Kingdom: No rope drop downtime issues!
Hooray for Animal Kingdom getting back to early-morning reliability, and for fewer (and less problematic) issues at EPCOT and Hollywood Studios. The real problem-child this week is Magic Kingdom. Aside from the always-done Magic Carpets, having the two mountains down a lot in the morning can throw off a lot of plans. Especially since Fantasyland gets rushed early!
Wait Times 5/16 – 5/22
Attractions with the Highest Average Posted Wait at each park
- Hollywood Studios: Slinky Dog Dash, average posted wait of 63 minutes (60 minutes last week)
- Animal Kingdom: Flight of Passage, average posted wait time of 73 minutes (68 minutes last week)
- EPCOT: Frozen Ever After, average posted wait time of 57 minutes (56 minutes last week)
- Magic Kingdom: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, average posted wait time of 63 minutes (62 minutes last week)
We’re still in the land of low posted wait times for our super-headliners. Like last week, only one of them is below the 60 minute mark. The biggest increase we saw this week was for Flight of Passage at Animal Kingdom.
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 29.5 minutes (30 minutes last week)
- Lowest: EPCOT, average park-wide posted wait of 21.5 minutes (20.5 minutes last week)
Hollywood Studios is continuing to have amazingly low average waits, dipping under that 30 minute mark for the first time in a very long time. In fact, Hollywood Studios hasn’t been this uncrowded since 2021. EPCOT’s wait times went back up a little bit – putting it very close to Magic Kingdom, which had an average posted wait time that was 0.1 minutes higher for the past 7 days.
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 very in line with our historical average. If the posted wait time was 60 minutes, you could’ve expected to wait over 38 minutes instead.
But the worst offender for the past week is The Seas with Nemo and Friends. At this one attraction, submitted actual wait times were 33% of posted wait times in the past week. Holy moly! That means that if The Seas had a 30 minute posted wait, you probably would’ve waited just 10 minutes instead. A third 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 week was … hinson70, who submitted 37 actual wait times through the Lines App over the last 7 days! This includes 4 Lightning Lane waits, 25 Standby waits, 3 single rider waits, and 5 virtual queue waits. Thank you for all of that timing, hinson70! You came pretty close to the all-time record of 50 recorded waits times in a single week, currently held by shop.kgb and ccsademko.
In the upcoming week, character meet-and-greet timed waits would be incredibly helpful!
Looking Ahead: May 23rd through May 29th
We’ve got some school districts releasing for the summer, especially as we head into Memorial Day weekend. That may lead to a slight increase in crowd levels – with locals hitting the parks for the long weekend, and families with clearer schedules making the most of an early summer vacation. But don’t expect anything crazy. Maybe bumping up a crowd level or two. Not back up to 8s and 9s.
Otherwise, there is not much in the way of remarkable news or events in the upcoming week. We’ll see if this summer behaves like a “normal” WDW summer, with crowds peaking in early to mid July, or if the economic concerns keep driving crowd levels down. There are many great deals on rooms and tickets at Walt Disney World right now – so if you’re like me and all of the low crowd numbers and low prices are just too much to bear, you can reach out to the TouringPlans travel agents and book your next vacation!