Walt Disney World (FL)

Disney’s Hollywood Studios And The Fantasmic! Affect

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Anecdotal reports of large crowds at Disney’s Hollywood Studios during days with a Fantasmic show have been flooding in since January. In typical Unofficial Guide fashion we set out to not only confirm these reports but also to measure its impact.

Measuring the impact is not as simple as just observing a set of days at the Studios. We have to control for other normal variations in the crowd levels not specifically due to the Fantasmic shows. Things like park hours, Extra Magic Hour schedules, weather, hotel occupancy and seasonal affects have to be taken into consideration. Think of it as an apples to oranges problem, except in this case we are trying to compare apples without a Fantasmic show to apples with a Fantasmic show.

Some interesting results:

Again, in typical Unofficial Guide fashion we discovered the answer is: it depends. There is no doubt that a day at the Studios with a Fantasmic show is going to be more crowded than a day without a Fantasmic show. We can expect crowds to be about 10-20% larger when a Fantasmic show is scheduled. What is interesting is that the size of that increase depends on how long it has been since the last day that a Fantasmic show was performed. The longer it has been, the more crowded it is. Once again, statistics are used to prove something that seems like common sense.

What does an increase of 10-20% really mean in terms of touring

The increased crowds at Disney’s Hollywood Studios affect the touring of the park in a couple of different ways. Peak wait times at headliner attractions like Toy Story Midway Mania and Rock ‘n Roller Coaster will be higher and Fastpasses will sell out sooner than normal. Also, the peak times will happen later in the day as the start time of Fantasmic approaches. Wait times at the less popular attractions like Star Tours and the Great Movie Ride will be higher as well but not to the same extent. Expect to see increased waits of 5-15%.

The challenge for us at TouringPlans.com and the Unofficial Guide is that Fantasmic is an important aspect of the guest experience when touring Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Take the Animal Kingdom for example; recommending the Animal Kingdom on a less crowded day is simple because the only difference in a guest’s experience is the lesser crowds. For the Studios it is not that simple. If our only basis for recommending the Studios is crowd level then our data tells us to always avoid the Studios on a day when there is a Fantasmic performance. But for many guests, seeing Fantasmic is not just a part of their plan but an important part. For this reason our recommended parks model does allow for an occasional recommendation of the Studios when a Fantasmic Show is scheduled.

So if you would like to see Fantasmic, pick a day when the Studios is either recommended or not mentioned as a park to avoid. If you do not plan to see Fantasmic, by all means, avoid the Studios.

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Fred Hazelton

Fred Hazelton maintains the crowd calendar, theme park wait time models and does hotel rate analysis for the Unofficial Guides. He's also done the models for the new mobile wait times product Lines. Fred Hazelton is a professional statistician living in Ontario, Canada. His email address is fred@touringplans.com. You can also follow him on Twitter: @DisneyStatsWhiz.

3 thoughts on “Disney’s Hollywood Studios And The Fantasmic! Affect

  • First of all, I appreciate your site.

    I’d like to make what I hope is a constructive suggestion. I’ve seen several instances now (one being the Hazelton post above; another from Len on EMH) which provide useful detail.

    However, the problem is that the useful detail is not in the book! What I mean is that you guys, with good intentions, seem to dummy-down alot of suggestions. That would be fine if you had a 100-page book and no detailed website. But folks use your service precisely for this level of detail.

    I’ve found detailed info (i.e. like the post above) due to dumb luck & persistence; it shouldn’t have to be that way. Please spell it out in the book; another few lines of print won’t hurt you at this point.


    • Hi Dadd0, thanks for using the site and thanks for your feedback.

      The number of pages we have to work with in the Unofficial Guide is limited and we spend a lot of time each year deciding if any information should be deleted and what information should be added. This particular post is a significant finding and I’m certain it will make it into the 2010 addition. We appreciate your point about including the most detail possible, it’s always our goal to go the the highest level detail while still remaining applicable to the highest proportion of our readers.

      Thanks again for the comments!

  • Hi, I always plan to see Fantasmic only when touring Hollywood Studios in the evening. I save all other rides and attractions on days that we will not see Fantasmic. We book an early dinner at 50’s Prime Time cafe. Then we get in line 90+ minutes before the show. Each time we have been rewarded with middle, close seats for the show. Well worth the sacrifice of the other rides & attractions. Last year at Christmas, we even had time to do the Great Movie Ride before we got in the Fantasmic Line. I do wish all the people with stoller age children would skip this. Its past the kids bedtimes anyways!! thanks


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