Updates to the Disney World Crowd Calendar are now live on Touringplans.com. Check the calendar for changes to the crowd levels during your trip. Changes to the wait time estimates used to create your touring plans are still pending. We will let you know once they go live as you may need to re-optimize your touring plans.
Some crowd levels have gone down, many have gone up in reaction to the spikes in wait times we have seen this fall. This version does not include changes to the ‘1’ to ’10’ scale so you may notice there are fewer crowd level ‘1’s and more crowd level ’10’s. However, this version of the calendar does include some changes to how we predict wait times. Here is a list:
- Higher weight given to recent wait times, lesser weight to older wait times.
- Changes to the variables that measure the available capacity to process guests at a particular park. This helps account for the extensive loss of attractions at Disney Hollywood Studios, for example.
- We have expanded the variables that measure capacity in one park to account for changes at other parks. This helps explain increases in wait time that are due to reduced capacity in other parks.
- Changes to the variables that measure the lifespan of an attraction. This helps identify increased wait times during an attraction’s honeymoon phase and measures changes in an attraction’s popularity over time. We have seen significant reductions in wait times at Magic Kingdom’s New Fantasyland attractions, for example.
- Updates to the relationship between Magic Kingdom party schedules and wait times. In 2015 Mickey’s Halloween Parties and Christmas Parties are bunched together a little more closely than in years passed such that we see periods of three or four days with only one day of regular park hours in between.
- Inclusion of a variable that measures the short-term trend in wait times. Like no other time period since we began tracking Disney World crowds in 2002, fall 2015 was different from the same period in years passed. Including a short-term trend variable will help account for sudden changes like these in the future.
Here is a synopsis of the results:
Epcot – Flat in November, Up Less Than a Full Point (0.7) December through May
- Soarin’ is scheduled for a major refurbishment beginning January 4, 2016. When Test Track was refurbished for its current incarnation the effect on wait times around Epcot was less significant than we thought it would be and when Soarin’ operated with only one theatre we saw a similarly small effect. Still, wait times have been slightly up at Epcot this fall, we expect that to continue.
- When Soarin’ opens in June an influx of guests will come to check out the results but the rush will be partly mitigated by the additional third theatre. However, Norway’s new Frozen themed pavilion may open around the same time although we do not yet have a firm date.
- The Epcot crowd calendar projections for Summer 2016 do not yet include the effects of the new Norway and Soarin’. Once we have firm dates for the reopening we will revisit the projections.
Disney Hollywood Studios – Up a Point in November, After That Depends on Construction
- Wait times have been up at Disney Hollywood Studios this fall as a result of reduced capacity, smoother Fastpass Plus processing and increased attendance. The big mystery at The Studios is what will happen with construction in the new year. When will it begin? What attractions will be affected? To what extent will it affect wait times? How long will it last?
- Star Wars Weekends won’t happen in 2016 but January through March will see Season of the Force activities take over the park. The crowd calendar shows some higher crowds than normal starting in January to account for the Star Wars Season.
- Our projections for wait times at Disney Hollywood Studios will be revisited once construction at the park begins and we see the affect and when we have firm dates for closures.
Magic Kingdom – Up One to Two Points November Through March
- Crowds at Magic Kingdom during the day when the park hosted Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties in the evening were up two to three points in 2015. We expect the same for this year’s Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas parties. When no party was scheduled the crowds were also higher this year, especially when the day was surrounded by other consecutive days with an evening party. This effect pushed many days higher on the crowd calendar in December.
- January is expected to be more crowded this year than we have seen in years passed, unless the weather is unseasonable cold. Magic Kingdom is the only park without major construction or attraction closures, making it even more popular than usual. The new Fantasyland attractions will be less crowded than last year but the classic attractions will continue to draw more people, more Fastpass Plus users and longer lines.
Animal Kingdom – Unchanged, For Now
Animal Kingdom is expected to remain stable for the near future but we know that a lot will change in 2016. It is too soon to change Animal Kingdom projections until we know more about closure schedules there and at The Studios.