Calendar accuracy

I am planning a tripp to Disneyland with my grandkids towards the end of January.
I have used the TouringPlans calendar before but when I went to book this trip, I ended up on the Undercover Tourist site instead. They showed slow days on Sunday 1/26 through Tuesday 1/28

When I later realized that I had gone to a different site, I went back and checked the TP calendar. It shows those days as fairly busy. It also shows a few days earlier that there are low crowds on Thursday 1/23 through Saturday 1/25. (the UT calendar shows those as busy)

I still have the ability to change our plans and come on the earlier dates. I’m just wondering if anyone here has used the Undercover Tourist calendar and has any insight into which is generally more accurate. I also looked at the “Is it Packed” site and they show all those days as moderately crowded.

What’s a poor old Grandpa to do?

Any suggestion would be greatly appreciated

Marty

Hi Marty - Welcome to the Forum!

My advice is to relax and go with the dates you have chosen. As long as you have Touring Plans for the days you are going to be at the parks the impact of uncertainty in Crowd Level predictions will be greatly mitigated. You can go with the generic Touring Plans available on this site, but I would strongly recommend creating Personalized Touring Plans based on what attractions you want to do and optimizing them for the specific days you will be there.

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I did this to myself this past August, and unlesss you find a more specific reason than the croud calendar I would keep the trip where you have it.

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I agree to keep things the way you have them. A good touring plan (and MaxPass if it’s in the budget) will inoculate you against crowds.

Plus, among all the other reasons crowds might defy expectations, RotR opens January 17th so I would give that date a wide berth. MLK weekend will likely be very busy but the rest of the month is a question mark depending on how big a draw RotR continues to be. I think people will clog SWGE but the rest of the park / DCA shouldn’t be too bad. Days with AP blockouts will probably be quietest.

Wow. Thank you all.
There certainly seems to be a consensus here.
I have been to the park many times and I do understand that it’s possible to use the FastPass system to do all the rides you want even on a busy day.
My real problem is that at a certain point the sheer number of people makes it hard to enjoy just being there. When you literally can’t walk through Adventureland, the joy and magic of being at Disneyland starts to fade.

I think we will be fine. The boys, being 9 and 13 are really going to want to Galaxy’s Edge and I fear that with the opening of Rise of the Resistance we could spend a major amount of time in line. But I will leave that decision to them. If they’re willing to stand in a line for 90 minutes to do a ride, I’ll be happy to hang right there with them.

Thank you all again for all of your help. I’m so glad I discovered this group!

Marty

The days you’ve chosen seem good. They should be mid-level crowds - not too big, but big enough to assure a full entertainment schedule and park hours. Super low CLs tend to bring shorter operating hours and less entertainment, and often more refurbs or closures. I wouldn’t change for that.

As far as Galaxy’s Edge, it will be hard to say until after the 17th, but if the WDW pattern holds, my advice would be to get a boarding group as soon as possible in the morning for RotR, then do other things until late afternoon or evening before touring the rest of SWGE. Lines for MFSR have tended to be longest in the morning since the crowds rush there first thing. I wouldn’t expect to wait longer than 30-45 minutes.

FYI – A common misconception about Touring Plans Crowd Levels is that they are an indicator of the number of people in each park. However, they are an indicator of average queue waits at the rides in that park during 11am – 5pm.

A CL 1 can feel like a CL 4 in terms of park capacity, but the queues may be moving quickly. Conversely, you can be in a CL 9 park that feels like a CL 5 because the streets aren’t packed. However, all the queues are super long

I am in the exact same boat for the exact same dates — My heart sank when I saw the estimates for Monday, January 27 which looks more like a day during Spring Break than a non-Holiday Monday at the end of January. I realize RotR will make things hard to predict but I am definitely nervous.

We have a family of six Park Hopper passes with MAXPASS for both days. Here’s hoping it goes smooth!

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@dborgill Curious to know how it went.

Well, I have to say I am amazed how well the trip went.
I have done more research on crowd calendars and I now believe that they are not necessarily an accurate indicator of how crowded the park will actually be.

Having said that, I would certainly advise checking them out and maybe not planning a trip for days that are predicted to be packed. While a slow day may end up being busy, I doubt seriously that a day that’s predicted to be full will end up deserted.

I have been to Disneyland many times and I am familiar with how the MaxPass system works. GET IT! It’s more than worth the money.

While we had booked our trip for days that were predicted to be slow, the opening of Rise of the Resistance changed everything. If you want to see the attraction, you need to have the Disneyland App on your phone and you need to reserve a spot with a boarding group. That boarding group number will determine how long it will be before you get to ride. In order to join a boarding group you and anyone else in your group have to be in the park (you have to have had your ticket scanned at the turnstile) They start giving out boarding goops at the official opening time of the park. They always open the park (at least to the end of Main Street) some time before the official opening time. Once the park is officially open you can join a boarding group. I don’t know how large those groups are but they say that they will get through at least 72 groups by the end of the day. If you get into a boarding group with a higher number, you may still get on but the attraction is very big and very complex consisting of several different ride systems. If they have a problem, they have to stop the ride until they can reset. So if everything goes well, they can get to well over 100 boarding groups but don’t count on it. They say that anything over 90 is a “Standby Group” and you will only get on if there are no slowdowns.

Sorry I just got off on a tangent. What this means is that since everyone wants to ride, everyone (and I mean everyone) is in line trying to get through bag check and the turnstiles and into the park before opening time. That means the park is incredibly crowded right at opening. Everyone has their phone ready and at 8:00 (or whatever the opening time is) they all hit their phones at once. At 8:00 and 15 seconds there is a roar made up of people cheering that they got into a boarding group mixer with the moans of those who didn’t. Pretty much all of the boarding groups are filled within the first minute)

Okay enough about that. Leave it to say that the park was very crowded on the days we were there. But a lot of the people (probably annual pass holders) who didn’t get into a boarding group left at 8:05 so while the park was crowded, it never got to the point where you couldn’t walk through Adventure Land (that’s the point where I say it’s too crowded to enjoy)

We arrived on Sunday, Grandpa, Grandma, Ian (age 13) and Kyle (age 9) After our flight landed we dropped our bags at our hotel (on Harbor Way) we spent the first day at DCA. the first thing we did was to get a FastPass for Radiator Springs Racers. At that point the return time wasn’t until 9:15 PM, so we had to wait 90 minutes to get another FP but it worked out really well. The next thing we got a FP for was Soarin’ Then we waled over to Pixar Pier thinking that we would get in the single rider line for IncediCoaster. the single rider line was really long and one of the kids ran down and checked out the standby line which was only 25 minutes so we did that. Then we wandered around Pixar Pier and did standby on a number of rides that while they said 20 minutes were actually only about 10 or 12. By that time we had a FP to ride IncrediCoaster again so we did that. When we walked by Toy Story Mania, the standby line was only 20 minutes so we did that. Then the big wheel (which they’ve renamed it something too odd) and then we started back. By this time (8PM) they were starting to shut down rides in that area to get ready for the World of Color show. As we passed the IncrediCoster the standby line was closed. I asked if the line was closed for the night and the woman there said yes. Then she said “But you have FastPasses right?” of course we didn’t but she had a big smile on her face. Finally the 9 year old got it and said “Yeah we’ve got FastPasses” so we walked on with a very short line and when we came back out, we started walking back toward the FastPass entrance and as we did, the people “guarding” the line just turned around and looked the other way. We rode the coaster 4 times in a row and then the kids went back and rode it a 5th time. What a very cool thing for the folks working to do. After that we did our ride on RSR had some ice cream and went back to the hotel where we just fell down dead on out beds.

The next day was Monday and the park opening time was 9:00. We got to the bag check on Harbor Way just about 8 and by 8:30 we were sitting at the Jolly Holliday cafe having breakfast (that day they had the rope drops at the entrance to each land instead of the end of Main Street. When 9:00 came around I had my phone out and ready to try for ROTR. I hit the button right at 9 but there was a glitch and it didn’t go through. I tried again about 10 seconds later and we got boarding group 88. I wasn’t sure if they would get to us but right around 8PM we got a notification that our boarding group was loading.

Even before the 9AM opening, I was able to get a FP for Big Thunder at 9:20 so our fist stop was the Matterhorn with a 10 minute wait right after it opened and then off to Big Thunder. Once our BT FP time hit, we got another FP for Indiana Jones, then walked over and did standby (15 minutes) on Splash. Then we got a Space Mountain FP and it just went on from there. Smugglers Run does not have a FP option (although it is apparently coming soon) but that means that the standby line is continuous and predictable. We watched on the app and at one point saw that the wait time was down to 35 minutes. It actually ended up being just about 30 minutes but the theming of the cue is so good and the lines move quickly enough that standing in the cue just seems like part of the ride.

I’ll leave it to others to describe ROTR but I’ll just say it was definitely the coolest ride I’ve ever been on.

We did Big Thunder again at night and the kids did Matterhorn again on their own (also Autopia) and got in StarTours and Buzz Lightyear as well. The only things we didn’t get to that day were Roger Rabbit (which went down while we were in line) and Jungle Cruise.

We left the park about 8:30 and went over to Naples for a really good dinner (and a much needed glass of wine for Grandma and Grandpa :wink:

The last day we went early again but took things a bit slower. We got to do Roger Rabbit and Jungle Cruise, another run of Pirates and some really tasty kebobs at the Bengal Barbecue. Then another Autopia run for the kids, another Star Tours ride for everyone and ice cream and shopping on the way out (oh yeah and somewhere in there we got Roger Rabbit done too!)

So what did I learn from this trip.

  1. Get the MaxPass option! it adds cost but we saved more than that by getting 3 Day, 1 Park per Day passes. Considerably cheaper than 3 Day ParkHopper passes without MaxPass.

  2. Download the app and learn all the ins and outs of it. It can be confusing and a lot of the things you want to find are not intuitive but if you take the time to figure it all out in advance it’s well worth the effort. You do NOT want to be in the park, trying to figure out a plan and learn the app at the same time.

  3. Make sure everyone is on the same page. The kids picked up on how the app worked right away, they knew exactly when we could get our next FastPass and what the standby times were on attractions nearby and they understood that when you’ve just gotten off of Splash Mountain, you don’t want to run over to do Roger Rabbit…

This was an amazing trip for me. I have been to Disneyland many many times and I consider my self pretty good at working through everything but the kids getting into it and understanding how the systems work made me feel like we were a team of pros.

However having had such a great trip with the kids, I do look forward to going back without them and sitting on Main Street drinking coffee and watching the folks walk by.

Thanks to everyone for their advice

Marty

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What an awesome for you and the grands, @martymcgee! I will NEVER go to DL without MaxPass. I balked the first time because of the cost, but once I tried it, our trips are so much better. Loved hearing about the experience at Incredicoaster–kudos to some great cast members.

Thanks for the great report!

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Hey All,

Overall, we had a fantastic trip despite the park being WAY more crowded than I ever anticipated for a Monday and Tuesday in late January :slight_smile:

  • Got there at 8am on Monday morning, in the park at 8:25am, got on ROTR Group 6!! Amazing ride but too much to take in for just one time. Did MAXPASS and got on a ton of rides in Disneyland the first day and then did World of Color. Perfect weather, perfect day but the only ride we rode without FastPass was Pirates twice and M Falcon. All the other rides were 30-45+ min wait!

  • Second day. we blew it. I thought you could get another ROTR pass in DCA. Nope. Oh well, we rode Midway Mania twice, then Cars FastPass, then a few other FastPass rides through the day. The only complaint is after riding FastPasses, waiting in 45+ min lines is just painful (First World Problems) – Really surprised how crowded the park was all day on a Tuesday/Non Holiday in January.

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To confirm, you tried to apply for a BG for RotR in DCA and were unable to, even though you were in the park at the right time? This question has been asked in the RotR before so just want to add that information for future reference if confirmed. It would make sense.

Correct. I thought you get apply for a BG in Disneyland or DCA at opening time regardless, as long as you were checked into the park. Nope. You HAVE to be in Disneyland Park, not DCA to apply for the BG. When I tried, it said:

“Not so fast! You and all members of your group must be in the correct park to join a boarding group.”

I was pretty bummed out but luckily we got to ride it the day before. Makes for a good excuse to go back and ride ROTR again and also… Haunted Mansion Classic. The last three times I’ve been to Disney, Haunted Mansion has been closed or has the Nightmare Before Christmas theme (ugh)

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Thanks! I’ll post about this in the other thread.

Your trip was this week? I was in the parks Friday until Monday evening. Monday was one of the least crowded days ever for me (have seen more than my share of 8’s-10’s), I think DCA ended up being a CL 1 and DL a 2. The only crowd I experienced was the lines to get into the parks (we started at DL on Mon and actually hopped about 5 times back and forth). Maxpass was fabulous on Monday, they were available all day in both parks. We even could get Radiator Springs Racers at 7pm for a 7:45 return time. I am just surprised that it felt crowded to you, my friends and I thought it was amazingly low. There was so much free space to move and empty pavement to walk on. They said Tuesday was the same. Do you go to DL often? I always am interested in the how crowds feel to different people, as we all seem to have different thoughts on what is busy, probably based on how crowded previous visits were. Sunday wasn’t bad for us either, it looks like it was a CL 3 in DL. DCA was busier over the weekend, all the locals were out for ROTR boarding groups, and then they hopped to DCA for Lunar New Years celebration I think. The locals come out in droves for festivals it seems.
Sorry you didn’t know about having to be in DL, and not DCA, to get a BG. We started at DL 3 days in a row just to get BGs. Ended up with BG 38 Sat, 10 Sunday (and that was the first group, my friend has a lightning fast phone and fingers apparently), and 25 on Monday. Glad you got to ride, and hope you will get another chance soon!

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:scream::scream::scream::scream::scream::scream::scream::scream::scream::scream::scream::scream::scream:

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I don’t know if you can get a BG for ROTR from DCA. But I do know that your tickets have to be scanned through the DL turnstiles before you can even try.

I do know that if you go into DL and do get a BG, you can then go to DCA and they will still notify you when It’s time to board.

Maybe someone wants to try going through the DL turnstiles and then going back out and trying to get a BP from DCA or elsewhere. But if it’s me, and I’m in DL before opening, I’m definitely NOT going to be the one that does the experiment!

MM

On Jan 31, 2020, at 11:43 AM, Jeff_AZ via TouringPlans Discussion Forums <noreply@touringplans.com> wrote:

\ 45x45 Jeff_AZ
January 31

Thanks! I’ll post about this in the other thread.

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\ 45x45 dborgill
January 31

Correct. I thought you get apply for a BG in Disneyland or DCA at opening time regardless, as long as you were checked into the park. Nope. You HAVE to be in Disneyland Park, not DCA to apply for the BG. When I tried, it said: “Not so fast! You and all members of your group must be in the correct p…

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Crazy, right? World of Color was also available at 7pm for an 8pm maxpass. This was the RSR single rider line on Monday:

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I wonder if now that RotR has taken over as the big dog and maybe with Spider-man opening later this year RSR’s days as a 90+ min open-to-close draw are over? Crossing my fingers.

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