Average Errors by Park
The Disney World Crowd Calendar is having a good year. Not perfect, but good. In 2017 our average year-to-date errors at the four parks were Magic Kingdom 1.29, EPCOT 1.36, Hollywood Studios 1.45 and Animal Kingdom 1.41. That was our best year. So far in 2022 our averages year-to-date are 1.39, 1.86, 1.63 and 1.34 respectively.
So Animal Kingdom is better than our best year, Magic Kingdom is slightly behind, Hollywood Studios is a little off, and EPCOT is bonkers. The error rate at EPCOT is relatively balanced with 105 days coming in higher than we predicted and 84 days coming in lower so it isn’t likely a systematic issue (like a bias or error in our models). We know that EPCOT only has a few major headliners so when one or two of those has an operational interruption the impact is significant. For the rest of 2022 you can expect EPCOT crowds to be the most unpredictable of the four parks. Sometimes it will be much more crowded than expected, sometimes much less. Not to sell ourselves short – about 40% of the time our predictions are within one index point too, which isn’t bad.
Increased Crowd Levels at Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom
Hollywood Studios is a very different park now than it was in 2017 so hitting that year’s target error is a little more difficult. We are consistently underpredicting crowd levels at Hollywood Studios so you can expect to see some increases on this update. Most notable attractions with longer than normal wait times are Tower of Terror, Alien Swirling Saucers and Toy Story Mania. Tower of Terror is particularly crowded these days with a staggering average posted wait time of 100 minutes since the beginning of April. Historically, that attraction averages a posted time of 50 minutes.
Changes at Animal Kingdom will be a little bit more subtle. So far in 2022 we have under predicted wait times at about half the rate that we saw at Hollywood Studios. There aren’t any standout attractions at Animal Kingdom in terms of underestimation but Flight of Passage and Kilimanjaro Safaris do show a trend in that direction. So, if you have plans to visit Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom this fall, our crowd level estimates are going up as a result of this update.
Why Update Now?
These decent results are why we haven’t updated the calendar in a while. We hesitate to tinker with the numbers when the accuracy is doing well. Still, it is important to refresh things now and then to make sure we are using the most up-to-date data in our predictions. Our indicators suggest that some fall dates are currently underpredicted so you will see some levels increase. However, September is still a great time to visit with most dates under a ‘5’.
This update includes changes to the calendar between August 15, 2022 and December 31, 2023 (even though only one year of forecasts are visible at a time). If you see a crowd level increase on one of your dates, don’t panic. If you follow a touring plan you can beat any crowd by minimizing your wait in line.