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Results: What Does “Wait Time” Mean to You?

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Earlier in May, I asked the question: What does “wait time” mean to you? Results show that the there is not a simple answer.

Waiting Flow Chart

  • C. Attraction entrance to the ride vehicle. (30%, 409 Votes)
  • D. Once you meet resistance in the queue to the ride vehicle. (30%, 408 Votes)
  • B. Once you meet resistance in the queue to the start of the pre-show. (22%, 299 Votes)
  • A. Attraction entrance to start of the pre-show. (18%, 239 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,355

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There is no clear consensus on how people perceive their wait time for attractions. 48% of people (A+C) believe that their wait starts when they enter an attraction. 52% of people (B+D) believe their wait does not start until they reach the end of the queue. Statistically, this is a tie. 40% of the people (A+B) believe their wait ends at the preshow. In the comments, we had the answer: “it depends”

Walking to the End of the Queue

In most cases the time between entering an attraction and reaching the end of the queue is small. This time decreases as the overall wait time increases. Queuing theory says that the wait time does not start until you reach the end of the queue. People who had listened to Len Testa on WDW Today would have heard him say that “wait time starts once you reach resistance in the line.” Since there is not a clear consensus is defining the start of the wait time to be at where you reach resistance in the line.

Preshow: Attraction or Waiting?

The “it depends” people have a very good argument. For some attractions, the preshow is an integral part of the attraction. I assume most people would agree the stretching room at Haunted Mansion or the design station at Test Track or the library at Tower of Terror is part of the overall attraction. It gets fuzzier for safety videos at Soarin, Star Tours, and Mission Space. For consistency sake, is defining any activity that is required to be experienced is part of the attraction and not waiting time.

Impacts on Touring Plans

The changes to Touring Plans is just an accounting issue. Walking time will go up slightly for attractions with long queues. Arrival time on a plan will mean the time you should arrive at the end of the queue, not specifically the attraction entrance. Attractions with a preshow will have some of the wait time shifted to the attraction duration.

Timing Your Wait

The process of timing your wait is the same as it has been. Start the timer as soon as you reach resistance in the line. Stop the timer once you are about to get on the attraction.
“Reach Resistance” for attractions with a preshow would be once you get to the preshow if there is no wait to get into the preshow. The timer will include the time spent in the preshow. The software will know how to adjust the timer’s time to the correct wait time.

In Summary

For us more visual people, here is a summary of what I wrote.

Have any questions? Suggestions for improvements? Let us know in the comments.

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Steve Bloom

By helping continue to reach the most accurate crowd level predictions, Steve finally found a way to meld his training in statistical analysis with a lifelong passion for Disney. He first visited the Magic Kingdom in 1972, just a few months after it opened. Now he enjoys frequent trips with his two kids. At age four his son insisted on wearing cowboy boots to reach the height requirement for Test Track, and his daughter believes that a smoked turkey leg and Dole Whip make a perfectly balanced meal. Even though she doesn't quite get it, Steve's wife is supportive of his Disney activities.

11 thoughts on “Results: What Does “Wait Time” Mean to You?

  • Aahhh… I had no idea that was included. Thanks!

  • Duration includes the time to exit the attraction building.

  • Hi – I know this is like 18 months late… but I am having trouble understanding how Space Mountain’s attraction duration (as shown in the screenshot within the article) is 10 minutes. There is no pre-show, and I have never been on the attraction (entering the ride vehicle to disembarking) for longer than 6 minutes. Can you help me understand? Thanks so much!

    Scott W

  • Again, these are my favorite posts. Thanks Steve & Team!!!

  • For clarity, can you add the “final” graph similar to the one in the initial post?

  • This seems fishy. I think there’s a distinction to be made between attractions where the pre-show leads *directly* into the main ride experience (Soarin, Star Tours Mission Space, Flight of Passage, Stitch’s Escape), and those where there is an additional queue of variable and non-trivial length after the pre-show (Tower of Terror, Haunted Mansion, Test Track, etc).

    Instead of considering “activity that is required to be experienced” to be part of the attraction, why not “activity after which there is no additional queuing?”

    If the Lines algorithm considers the Tower of Terror’s library and Test Track’s design lab to be parts of their attractions, then what does it consider the attraction durations to be? 10 minutes? 30 minutes? How will this be determined?

    • I agree on all accounts! I can say right now I will never stop the timer on my app when I reach the design room on Test Track. Sometimes you can wait a long time between exiting there and reaching the ride vehicles. Same thing goes for Haunted Mansion.

      • Tim & Andy – We agree with you. The time in the queue before and after the preshow is waiting time. We are considering the few minutes in Tower of Terror’s library or Test Track’s design lab as attraction time.

  • If I’m in Soarin’ I now stop the timer when the safety video starts. Is that correct?

    • No, stop the timer once you are at or sitting in the ride vehicle.

      I added another chart to show where to start and stop the timer.


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