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What Does “Wait Time” Mean to You?

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As scientists, we continue to question our processes. If possible, we want to simplify and make our process as clear as possible. When it comes to waiting for an attraction, what portion of an attraction experience do you consider your wait time?

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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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.

20 thoughts on “What Does “Wait Time” Mean to You?

  • We always try to register real queue times in order to “feed” the lines app with accurate data but many times we are so excited to get into the vehicle that we forget to click the stop button and we remember after exciting the ride. Since the ride length is a known variable I would suggest that when finishing timing the app would ask: a) “are you about to start the ride?” b) “are you done with ride?”. I guess that would help to collect more accurate times recording.

  • I voted for “A” but now wish I could change my vote.
    What I want in a “wait time” figure is to know how long in addition to the ride duration will I be involved in this experience. As another reader mentioned, for me it’s about how long it takes to get back to people waiting or back out to some other plans. I do however consider the walk from the entrance to the waiting part of that requirement because it is part of the variable.
    I guess if the “ride duration” includes the preshow and second wait (which would be tough because it can vary quite a bit, eg Haunted Mansion and Guardians/HTH) then A meets my needs but that seems unlikely.
    If the survey team is taking this comment into consideration (and believes that I’m telling the truth instead of just stacking the votes my way) I would have changed my A to C.
    I should be able to add the wait time and the ride duration together to figure out how long it takes me from departing the thoroughfare to getting to the gift shop or back to the thoroughfare.

  • My definition of “wait time” would be attraction entrance to beginning of pre show, and then the wait from the end of the pre show to the ride vehicle boarding, if applicable (some rides go directly from pre show to ride vehicle, others have a wait in between). So basically, all the time it takes from attraction entrance to boarding the ride vehicle except for the time spent actually watching the pre show. If a pre show is happening while you’re moving through the line (as in Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey), I don’t consider it a pre show, but rather part of the queue. This definition would be useful on rides such as Test Track, where the pre show of designing cars is actually fun and wouldn’t be considered waiting in line but there is still a 2nd part of the line after the pre show.

  • I love that you are asking us for our feedback as you review your approach to calculating wait time. This is one of the many reasons why I love Touring Plans! I agree with the other comments – pre shows can vary based on the ride and some have longer post pre show queues then others. I think D is the best way to measure fairly (considering the red cards).

  • I *LOVE* this question! To answer it I first had to ask myself why I want to know the wait time. In my case I’m touring with my too-little-to-ride children. When my husband and I split up to ride we like to have an accurate idea of when the rider will be done with the attraction so that we can meet up again. Therefore the information I want from a wait time is from the start of resistance to ride vehicle. That being said, I would also want to know how long the whole experience is from entrance to gift shop when the ride is a walk on. That way I could combine the information to plan my touring 🙂

  • I consider the wait time to include the post-preshow waits, because they vary widely and can sometimes take longer than the pre-preshow wait. After you design your simcar or visit Aerosmith in the studio or see Rod Serling in the library, it can take 20 more minutes to actually get into the car/coaster/elevator.

    I also assume that Disney’s posted wait times reflect the time to reach your vehicle, as they always tell you to hand the red timer cards to the grouper (i.e. CM who assigns you to your seating row), not the person at the preshow or fastpass merge.

    As others have said, the difference between A vs B and C vs D is pretty trivial. If it takes you more than 3 minutes to get from the entrance to the back of the line, the line’s really short anyway.

    • To your last point: that’s especially true now that Dragon Challenge is no more. It was the outlier in sheer queue distance.

  • The difference between C and D is probably not more than 2-3 minutes in even the most disparate situations. From that standpoint they are extremely close (though I answered C). The same could be said for A and B. As of the time I’m writing this comment that would mean 58% are choosing wait time to include pre-show 42% are saying once they reach the preshow they feel the wait time is over.

  • D. My favorite is when I see a sign stating the wait time at a certain spot (I know the line configuration changes constantly) and I can just walk past it until meeting “resistance” and chop off 5-10 minutes. We max out our time at the parks – probably a hallmark of everyone uses touringplans – and accurate total wait time is really important in our calculations!

  • For me the wait time has always started when I get to the back of the line. However, the back of the line is not in a stable location. Then sometimes the queue configuration is so long and winding that maybe for scientific purposes it should be considered part of the wait time. Otherwise, your travel time between attractions would vary based on line length.

    As for when the wait is over, I agree with others that it depends on the pre-show. Maybe there needs to be a poll for each attraction to determine whether or not the specific pre-show is to be calculated as part of the wait time or not.

    Love this detail!

  • I find it interesting that most people (at this point) consider walking through the queue to the end of the line part of the wait time. Maybe it’s just because I enjoy walking/being in motion, but I consider my wait time to be from the moment I have to stop walking freely and start standing.

    • Same here. I think it’s because walking through empty switchbacks feels like winning.

      • Totally winning!

  • It kind of depends on the pre-show, I don’t consider the pre-show for Muppets 3-D as part of the queue, but do think the pre-show scenes from rides like Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey are part of the queue and would rather walk right past. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that you are still lined up between guard rails?

    • My thoughts exactly – it depends on the pre-show and how it is integrated into the attraction! I considered the pre-show for Stitch as part of the show. However, I consider myself still waiting for the attraction during preshow for Soaring. Once I go into the ride area for Mission to Mars, I consider the orientation as part of the attraction.

    • Agree with Lauren.

      Most of the time I consider D to be the wait time. Preshows good enough to be part of the ride are more of the exception than a rule. Designing the car for test track is part of the fun, especially for my kids.

      I don’t consider walking to be part of the wait time. Except for space mountain. That one goes on forever. I was there in 2014 with my 80 year old father and he was slowing down at the end.

    • Even for the same ride, it can depend. For example for the Haunted Mansion (I’m going with Disneyland here, since I know it better, but I think Magic Kingdom is similar). You could consider getting on the elevator to be the end of the wait time, since the elevator is part of the ride, but when you get downstairs, sometimes it is so crowded that you still have to wait for quite a while in the queue to get on the cars, and sometimes you just walk right up to them.
      So for me, the difference really is how long is the wait between the pre-show and getting on the actual ride. If it’s short, then I wouldn’t really count it as part of the wait time, but if its maybe 5 minutes or more, than I would.

      • That’s a great point; I wonder how Disney calculates the wait time for Haunted Mansion, since I’ve never seen maids and butlers holding the red tags. I guess for other rides we could go by where the red tag is given out and then where it’s dropped off to indicate what they consider the queue to be?

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