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Disney Data Dump November 22 2023

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Last week I predicted a roller coaster of crowds through the end of the year based on several 2023 trends intersecting with typical historical end-of-year crowds. And boy oh boy, did this week deliver! The Jersey Week and Veterans Day crowds evaporated almost overnight, leading to 4 weekdays of below-average crowds (and one crowd level 5) before things started picking back up over the weekend heading into Thanksgiving Week. This will be one of the most crowded weeks of the year before the roller coaster heads back downhill when schools go back into session.

Observed Crowd Levels November 14- 20

Observed crowd levels from November 14th through 20th

I think we’d be hard-pressed to find another week with this big of a crowd variance in the recent past. That turnaround from the low on Thursday the 16th to Monday the 20th is remarkable, but not unexpected. It continues this overall trend we’ve been seeing this fall, where school breaks are more crowded and school-in-session times are less crowded than expected. We’ll see some more about this when we look at the prediction performance below.

Observed crowd levels by park from November 14th through 20th

If you like roller coasters, this is the week to be watching Magic Kingdom! It’s pretty easy to tell which days had Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party – the 14th, 16th, 17th, and 19th. Those party days are starting to make a big difference again. But the same isn’t true for Jollywood Nights. If you had to randomly pick out the two event nights at Hollywood Studios from the past week without knowing them, I’d bet you’d get it wrong. Or it’d be a lucky guess. Because on the 18th and 20th the crowds at Hollywood Studios didn’t really drop much at all. Maybe by a crowd level or two. That’s because the party at the Studios only shuts down the park an hour early (instead of 4-ish), and day guests get to watch the nighttime spectacular before they leave. So don’t expect to go to Hollywood Studios on a party day and have it be a ghost town like Magic Kingdom on its party days.

Performance of Crowd Level Predictions

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.

How our predictions performed from November 14th through 20th

In the past week, Touring Plans predictions were either spot-on or within 1 crowd level 54% of the time. This is a bit of a continuation of a downward trend for the past several weeks. 75% of the time Touring Plans predictions were within 2 crowd levels, and that means we only earn a C for our predictions the past week. You can also quickly tell that the estimates were very skewed this week. When crowds dropped after Jersey Week and Veterans Day, they dropped hard. More than what the crowd calendar expected. Almost all of the misses this week were overpredictions, and a lot of them were very significant.

For example, the biggest underprediction of the week was a predicted 8 for the Magic Kingdom on Monday the 20th, which ended up being a 10 (it was a Monday, and a non-party day, so that’s not shocking). On the other hand, there were four misses that were overestimates of 4 crowd levels or more. They all happened at Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. The biggest miss overall was off by a whopping SIX crowd levels – Hollywood Studios was predicted to be a crowd level 8 on Tuesday the 16th, and instead was a very pleasant crowd level 2.

Attraction Downtime November 14 – 20

If we average all of the capacity lost due to unexpected downtime over the past week, it comes out to 4.4% of attractions unexpectedly being down. That’s a significant uptime from the past month. Interestingly, Animal Kingdom was the big downtime loser this week – it had 6.1% of its capacity lost due to unexpected downtime.

The worst day for attraction downtime in the past week was on November 17th. 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 November 17th. On that park day, 15% of the capacity was lost at the park due to unexpected downtime. Animal Kingdom was open for 11 hours on the 17th, so 15% downtime is the equivalent of the whole park being down for 99 minutes. That’s a big deal for people in the park who are all about the attractions with queues. (Side note – how many of you got that wordle this week?) But the good news is that there are so many non-line things to do at Animal Kingdom that it can still be a fun park even with wild downtime.

Attraction Downtime Worst Offenders

The worst offender of the past week was Test Track, which was unexpectedly down for 19% of the past week. Test Track has always been a little bit unreliable, and wholly dependent on cooperative weather. And this was a bad weather week. The worst day for Test Track was November 16th, when the ride was down for 81% of the day. Other days had struggles too, but nothing nearly that bad.

Test Track
If any attraction is more of a rain-wimp than I am, it’s definitely Test Track. ©Disney

Rope Drop Downtime

Here are this week’s problematic offenders:

  • Magic Kingdom: Pirates of the Caribbean (unavailable for 17% of its first hour of the day)
  • EPCOT: Test Track (unavailable for 24% of its first hour of the day), Spaceship Earth (unavailable for 18% of its first hour of the day)
  • Hollywood Studios: Rock’n’Roller Coaster (unavailable for 16% of its first hour of the day)
  • Animal Kingdom: Expedition Everest (unavailable for 18% of its first hour of the day)

All in all, a really good week for rope-drop. Other than those entering EPCOT at the main gate, things were very smooth sailing – especially for headliners.

I recently rode Everest in the dark during Extended Evening hours, and that should totally be classified as a different attraction. Everest meets Space Mountain!

Wait Times November 14- 20

Attractions with the Highest Average Posted Wait at each park

Ready for this roller coaster ride? Wait times at the big headliners were down this week between 8 and 22 minutes compared to Jersey Week. And you can bet they’ll rocket right back up next week with the Thanksgiving crowds.

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 38 minutes (43 minutes last week)
  • Lowest: Magic Kingdom, average park-wide posted wait of 25.5 minutes (27 minutes last week)

We’re seeing the same trend at the overall park level too – these decreases are significant across the course of a full park day. And they’ll reverse next week.

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 63% 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 less than 38 minutes instead.

But the worst offender for the past week is Na’vi River Journey. At this one attraction, submitted actual wait times were 34% of posted wait times in the past week. That’s one of the lowest numbers we’ve seen in months. That means that if Na’vi River Journey had a 60 minute posted wait, you probably would’ve waited just over 20 minutes instead. About a third of what was posted. Remember to always check the Lines app for predicted actual waits instead of believing what is posted.

Let’s be honest, you probably shouldn’t even wait 20 minutes for this attraction. (photo by Michael Carelli)

Actual Wait Time Rock Star

The Actual Wait Time Rock Star for the past week was … mbcollins, who submitted 39 actual wait times through the Lines App over the last 7 days! This includes 16 Lightning Lane waits, 21 Standby waits, and 2 virtual queue waits. Thank you for all of that timing, mbcollins! It’s still not enough to beat the all-time record of 78 recorded wait times in a single week, still held by psymonds.

Looking Ahead: November 21 – December 4

No, your eyes don’t deceive you. That’s more than a week of looking ahead. That’s because next Monday and Tuesday when I’d normally be writing this post I’ll be at Walt Disney World instead. I’ll be heading to the Nomad Lounge with the Millennials on Main Street for my first-ever visit, and then going to Jollywood Nights … mostly to take advantage of all of the low low wait times, and hopefully to meet Mary Poppins. And on Tuesday you can catch me at Magic Kingdom on a party day before wrapping things up with dinner at Jiko and flying back to beautiful St. Louis.

The next two weeks should be a little bit of a rubber stamp of the past two weeks. First we have the week of Thanksgiving. Historically, crowds peak on the Monday of Thanksgiving week. They stay high on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then start backing off over the weekend.

The week after Thanksgiving is usually pretty blissfully uncrowded, and this year should be even better based on the trends of lower-than-expected crowds when all schools are in session.

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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

One thought on “Disney Data Dump November 22 2023

  • Becky, your articles are Gas (as the kids would say). Keep up the great work!


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