In April we took at look at How FastPass+ Is Affecting Your Wait In Line At Disney World. We saw a small increase in standby wait times for secondary attractions like Spaceship Earth and Pirates of the Caribbean, and a small drop in standby wait times for super-headliners like Space Mountain and Expedition Everest.
Here’s an update, using 278,000 wait times from Walt Disney World between February 1 and June 19, 2014:
Attractions shown in green have seen their average standby wait time decrease with the introduction of FastPass+. Attractions in orange have seen an increase. For the attractions in white, we don’t have a 95% confidence level on the change in standby waits, so we can’t yet conclude anything about them (the confidence level is 89.25% for Kilimanjaro Safaris and 73.82% for Kali River Rapids).
Our analysis takes into account the approximately 8% increase in Disney World attendance since the beginning of 2012. We also took into account that some holidays, such as Easter, fall on different days each year. Our analysis compares holidays to each other, instead of simply comparing calendar dates across years. See below for more details on both topics.
FastPass+ Is Distributing Guests More Evenly Around the Park
Take a look at the attractions whose waits have dropped with FastPass+, and you’ll see mostly headliner attractions. Most of the attractions whose waits have increased slightly are secondary rides, like Living with the Land, Jungle Cruise, and Maelstrom. We think that more people are aware of these attractions now, because they’re being offered in My Disney Experience, and that’s helping Disney move crowds around the park.
Another interesting observation is that 3 of the 4 attractions with the biggest increase in wait times are high-capacity ride: Spaceship Earth and Haunted Mansion have continuous-loading ride systems that handle more than 2,000 guests per hour, while Pirates of the Caribbean can serve more than 2,500/hour when it’s running at top speed. It makes sense for Disney to dedicate a big chunk of these rides’ capacities to FastPass+, simply because they’ll be able to handle so many people per hour.
Adjusting for Increased Attendance
Walt Disney World attendance increased about 2.2% in 2012, another 3.3% in 2013, and we estimate it’s up about 3% in 2014 – or a bit above 8% since the beginning of 2012. To put that in perspective, if the average wait at Soarin’ was 60 minutes at the beginning of 2012, it’d be about 65 minutes adjusted for 2014’s higher crowds. When we’re looking at the impact of FastPass+ on standby wait times, the first thing we have to do is factor out the higher attendance.
For this analysis we’re comparing standby wait times from February 1 through June 7, 2014, with data from the same months in 2012 and 2013. To factor out the 8% increase in attendance from 2012 to 2014, we’ve increased 2012’s wait times by 8%. To factor out the 3.3% increase in attendance from 2013 to 2014, we’ve increased 2013’s wait times by 3.3%. (Disney doesn’t release official attendance figures, but even if our estimate of attendance increases is off by 1-2%, the results don’t change significantly.)
Adjusting for Movable Holidays
For each attraction, we’re comparing the average wait on each day between 10 am and 5 pm. And to make things as equal as possible, we try to match the wait times from 2014’s holidays with the same holidays in 2012 and 2013. So while Presidents’ Day was on February 20 in 2012, February 18 in 2013, and February 17 this year, we compare all of the wait times from all Presidents’ Days together. We do the same for other holidays, the Disney World Marathon days, other events, and then everything left over.
The t-test: How To Compare Before and After FastPass+
Suppose we flip a coin 10 times. You’d expect it to land on heads about 5 times and tails about 5 times. But we wouldn’t be surprised if it came up heads 6 times and tails 4 because of simple random chance. And if we flipped the same coin 1,000 times, we’d expect it to turn up heads about 500 times and tails 500 times, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it was 501 heads and 499 tails, or 499 heads and 501 tails, or anything around there.
But what if the coin came up heads 600 times and tails 400? If it’s a fair coin, what are the chances that we’d see that kind of difference from the 500 heads/500 tails average we expect?
A common way that statisticians answer these questions is with a t-test. A t-test measures two groups and tells you how likely it is that that the groups are really different. In our case, the two groups are these:
- Posted standby wait times before FastPass+
- Posted standby wait times after FastPass+
In the example above, there’s less than a 1% chance that 1,000 flips of a fair coin will result in 600 or more heads. So if that happens, you can be pretty confident that you’re not dealing with a fair coin.
In the chart above, the column labeled “Pr > |t|” is the probability that the result we’re seeing is due to random chance. So for Space Mountain, the odds of you seeing a 13.2-minute drop in wait times due to random chance is less than 0.01%. In other words, we’re more than 99.99% confident the result isn’t due to random chance.
For more information on FastPass+ and how to optimize your use of FastPass+ check out our FastPass+ Tips Page.