Crowd BlogDisney Data DumpWalt Disney World (FL)

Disney Data Dump October 11 2023

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Have you visited your local pumpkin patch yet? Tis the season, y’all. And that also means it’s fall break season. More families out of school always equals more families at Walt Disney World. That will certainly translate to increased wait times and crowd levels. But what do those crowd patterns look like? Let’s take a look!

Observed Crowd Levels October 3 – 9

Observed crowd levels from October 3rd through 9th

As expected, the long weekend that coincides with some fall breaks for schools across the country led to an uptick in crowd levels. But we saw a similar uptick just a couple of weekends ago that didn’t last. My hypothesis is that things should hover in the 4-7 range as an average for a while.

Observed crowd levels at each park from October 3rd through 9th

Magic Kingdom is not fun on non-party days. It’s not now, and it will not be at least through the end of the month. Probably through the end of the year. This is true even when crowd levels at the other parks are nice and low. Everyone loves Happily Ever After and longer evening hours just way too much. The other parks here tell a more interesting story of increased wait times leading up to and through the holiday weekend. That’s a steady trend at all three non-Magic Kingdom parks.

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 October 3rd through 9th

In the past week, Touring Plans predictions were either spot-on or within 1 crowd level only 43% of the time. This is even lower than last week’s post-crowd-calendar update low of 50%. 81% of the time Touring Plans predictions were within 2 crowd levels, and that means we earn a B- for our predictions the past week. There is not a lot of balance here either – 46% of predictions were overestimates, and only 11% were underestimates. That means crowds are generally lower than we expect. All of those “big” misses were on party days at Magic Kingdom – both the overestimates and the underestimates.

The party day/non-party day behavior is a lot more wild this year than in previous years. Last year we saw a average difference of 4 or 5 crowd levels between party days and non-party days. This year that difference has been more like 6 or 7 crowd levels instead. That’s an almost insane difference.

Attraction Downtime October 3 – 9

If we average all of the capacity lost due to unexpected downtime over the past week, it comes out to 4.1% of attractions unexpectedly being down. This is about the same as the past couple of weeks. The park with the biggest issues was Hollywood Studios, with 5.6% of its capacity lost due to unexpected downtime. The continued reign of Hollywood Studios. Boo.

The worst day for attraction downtime in the past week was on October 3rd. 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 (whoa, weird) on October 6th. On that park day, 13% of the capacity was lost at Animal Kingdom due to unexpected downtime. Animal Kingdom was open for 11 hours on the 6th, so 13% downtime is the equivalent of the whole park being down for almost 86 minutes. Almost an hour and a half out of the 11 hours.

Attraction Downtime Worst Offenders

The worst offender of the past week was Rise of the Resistance, which was unexpectedly down for 15% of the past week. On the one hand, this is a much lower “worst” position than we’ve seen in many many many weeks. Yay! On the other hand, Rise of the Resistance being the downtime winner is not great for anyone. Boo. The worst day for Rise was October 7th, when the ride was down for 31% of the day – including most of the afternoon. But it was also down for a quarter of the day on the 9th.

Sometimes Kylo just likes sleeping in (photo by Mike Sperduto)

Rope Drop Downtime

Here are this week’s problematic offenders:

  • Magic Kingdom: it’s a small world (unavailable for 21% of its first hour of the day), Pirates of the Caribbean (unavailable for 16% of its first hour of the day), TTA PeopleMover (unavailable for 15% of its first hour of the day)
  • EPCOT: Gran Fiesta Tour (unavailable for 28% of its first hour of the day), Test Track (unavailable for 26% of its first hour of the day)
  • Hollywood Studios: Rock’n’Roller Coaster (unavailable for 31% of its first hour of the day), Runaway Railway (unavailable for 22% of its first hour of the day), Slinky Dog Dash (unavailable for 22% of its first hour of the day), Rise of the Resistance (unavailable for 21% if its first hour of the day)
  • Animal Kingdom: No rope drop downtime issues!

That’s a lot of big percentages. A lot. I think it’s our biggest list ever of attractions with 20+% of rope drop downtime in a week. This is especially true at Hollywood Studios, which apparently had a really tough rope drop week. There were multiple days where Rise, Slinky, and either Rock’n’Roller Coaster or Runaway Railway were all down at the same time during rope drop. You increasingly need to come prepared with a Plan B and C … and D if you’re trying for an effective morning at Hollywood Studios.

it’s a small world is a rare entry on this rope drop downtime list!

Wait Times October 3 – 9

Attractions with the Highest Average Posted Wait at each park

  • Hollywood StudiosSlinky Dog Dash, average posted wait of 91 minutes (65 minutes last week)
  • Animal KingdomFlight of Passage, average posted wait time of 86 minutes (58 minutes last week)
  • Magic KingdomSeven Dwarfs Mine Train, average posted wait time of 66 minutes (58 minutes last week)
  • EPCOTFrozen Ever After, average posted wait time of 65 minutes (62 minutes last week)

Holy whiplash, Batman. We saw really large decreases in most of these posted wait times last week, and then they bounced right back up this week! Those are totally crazy wait time increases at Slinky and Flight of Passage in the course of just a week. But keep in mind – this is still lower than expected for the holiday weekend. So … it could’ve been worse?

Slinky Dog Dash should be your first attraction during Early Theme Park Entry
With a bunch of downtime in the park, including at this attraction, Slinky wait times were all over the place!

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 40 minutes (30.5 minutes last week)
  • Lowest: Magic Kingdom, average park-wide posted wait of 25 minutes (21 minutes last week)

Another couple of big increases. Crowds were 33% worse at Hollywood Studios this week compared to last week, and that would definitely be noticeable as you’re touring the parks. Magic Kingdom isn’t quite as bad, but I’d still rather have that week with just a 21 minute average instead.

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 68% of what was posted. This is actually quite a bit higher than our historical average. That means posted wait times weren’t quite as inflated as normal. But even still, if the posted wait time was 60 minutes, you could’ve expected to wait less than 41 minutes instead.

But the worst offender for the past week is, amazingly, for the third week in a row, Na’vi River Journey! At this one attraction, submitted actual wait times were 49% of posted wait times in the past week. That means that if Na’vi River Journey had a 60 minute posted wait, you probably would’ve waited just under 30 minutes instead. Half of what was posted. Remember to always check the Lines app for predicted actual waits instead of believing what is posted.

Na’vi River Journey. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Actual Wait Time Rock Star

The Actual Wait Time Rock Star for the past week was … Goldilockz22, who submitted 29 actual wait times through the Lines App over the last 7 days! This includes 2 Lightning Lane waits, 25 Standby waits, 1 single rider wait, and 1 virtual queue wait. Thank you for all of that timing, Goldilockz22! But this doesn’t come close to the all-time record of 78 recorded wait times in a single week, still held by psymonds.

In the upcoming week, we still need timed waits at headliners in the first 2 hours of park opening. Especially if it’s 30-60 minutes after official park opening.

Looking Ahead: October 10 – 16

Fall break season continues, with many schools off later this week or early next week. That’s going to means increased wait times and crowd levels. I still think overall crowd levels will stay in the 4-7 range instead of edging a little bit higher like we usually see at this time of year.

Normally, the early parts of the week have been the most crowded, with things calming down for the weekend. But with the holiday weekend, that trend reversed. I think we’re still going to see busy weekends for next week (and maybe the following week) and families take advantage of other fall break weekends. October 14th will definitely be very crowded at Magic Kingdom, with a bunch of party days surrounding that date.

Lots of rain should start clearing up over the weekend, but be prepared with your ponchos and umbrellas!

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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

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