Crowd Calendar Challenges

I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to try to use statistical analysis to accurately predict crowd levels at theme parks. You would probably have better luck trying to predict the weather. Add in all the changes and new attractions that are going on at Disney and combine them with the increasing economy, and you can probably throw any previous statistical models out the window.

That said - and this is no slight to Touring Plans - until these statistical models level back out, you need to add at least (3) levels to whatever the crowd calendar is predicting - and in some cases more. We just returned on Monday from a 9-day trip to Disney World. We attended Magic Kingdom on 12/12 (Wednesday) where the crowd calendar predicted a (5) for that day. They had record attendance - 98,000 people. Their occupancy limit is 100,000. The only park that was actually close was our first day at Animal Kingdom and we believe that was only because it rained most of the day. :confused:

So do yourself a favor - make sure you pack your patience. Prepare yourself for the crowds so that you will not be frustrated or disappointed when they actually show up. And remember - you are there to enjoy yourself. Roll with the punches and make the best of it.

One final note - if you go in the flu season, you will most likely get the Disney Flu. Be prepared. Have some Tami-flu on hand if you are able. If not, see if your insurance plan covers Virtual Visits. You have to catch the Flu within 48 hours for TamiFlu to be effective. You will recognize the flu because one minute you will be fine, and an hour later you will have about 10 symptoms all at once. We picked it up on our last day - it was a grueling 16-hour drive home with two school-age kids…

Hope this helps someone!

On my last trip (4 years ago) every day was off by 2 or 3, and the wait times were also way off - by as much as 100% in some cases; my TPs were semi-useless by lunch time. It was the consensus at the time that it was “just one of those weeks” and was an anomaly. Not so sure now. My next planned trip is in early Dec '19; this will be within a month of the rumored opening of SWGE, and no mathematical model known to man will be able to predict what that will do to CLs and wait times

Oh, hogwash. I got you covered. “It will be busy!”



Oh no, our days are already CL 9s! Though I’m a little confused as to why, when last year on the same dates (princess half marathon and the day after) they predicted 5-6 and actual crowds were lower, so I’m hoping to be pleasantly surprised. I really thought by Monday predicted crowds would be less since school break is over, but maybe people extend?

I, too, was blindsided by the crowd level on our last trip. We went last January. Predicted CLs were 4-6. I can’t remember what they actually ended up being but the parks felt like a complete zoo. I think that’s also when Disney was doing some experimenting with running rides at lowered capacity but I swear I remember the Barnstormer having a 60 min posted wait time on what was predicted to be a CL4 in MK.

We are going back at the end of next month and took a small trip in October also. I feel like reading as much as I could on here and other sites regarding crowd levels, traffic patterns, RD, etc. in between last January and October prepared me so much better than simply looking at CL numbers. It was crowded in October too but I knew better what to expect and had a better knowledge of the ebb and flow of traffic within the parks… things like knowing alot of the rides in Fantasyland clear out around/after fireworks, snagging FPs when its raining to get anytime ones, mobile ordering, etc.

There is always going to be a ton of people at WDW. When we went in October, we booked within a week of leaving and hotel space was SO limited. I think we had TWO options across ALL WDW resorts!! Think of how many people it takes to fill ALL of those resorts!!! And that’s not even considering folks who stay offsite.

Like you said, I think everyone should take crowd calendars with a grain of salt when planning their trips and just EXPECT the parks to be super crowded and then if they aren’t it ends up being better than you expected instead of going in expecting a relatively empty park and being met instead with pure chaos.

I’m wondering where you found this information. Disney is famous for not sharing these kinds of statistics.

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I too would like to know. Just so happens I too was at Magic Kingdom on 12/12. In my eyes it seemed like a 10. I knew we were in trouble when the wait for Journey of the Little Mermaid was 45 minutes.

The crowd calendar predicted a 5 that day but apparently based on recorded wait times, 12/12 was actually a CL 7 day at MK. If it seemed that bad, I fear days that are CL10s then!!!

That same day AK was a predicted CL1 and was actually a CL6. Wow.

Hopefully going through the process of making TPs and learning the tricks and tips shared here helps immensely even when CLs are off.

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It will be like Christmas Day at MK times about 10,000!

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I didn’t find it anywhere - wasn’t even looking actually. Happened to mention to one of the staff at the gift shop at Pop Century how crowded it was at MK the night before and she apparently had inside information that she shared quite confidently with me. It was the most uncomfortable I have ever been at a park. You couldn’t even take a full stride. Everyone was shuffling like Zombies as we moved down the thoroughfare.

Just as our personal opinion, regardless of what TP states actual attendance was, there was no way in our eyes it was just a ‘7’. We have been in July, August, October, November, and now December looking for lower attendances and we have never seen MK that crowded - ever.

I have been burned by the crowd calendar before and I really don’t pay any attention to them anymore. But I will say that it seems like they’re a tough concept for people to let go of.

I just went last month Thanksgiving week. The crowd calendars were only predicting a 4 or 5 the first couple days of that week, but I fully expected them to be 10s (and I was right - 10s across the board the entire week) but I had a sort-of argument with a woman in a Disney FB group about the crowd levels the week before we were to leave. She insisted that her child couldn’t do crowds and that they better not be what I said they’d be because she’d planned her whole trip around those crowd calendar numbers. I’m not sure what happened to her, but I can guarantee she was incredibly disappointed. I, on the other hand, was not because I was expecting crowds. It just seems to me that the crowd calendars and people’s reluctance to let them go add to a lot of “lost magic” complaints when they return from a trip, something that seems like it could be avoided if they had realistic expectations going in. But what are you going to do?

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Must have been some bad info. MK had nowhere near actual capacity of 100k despite what some threads on the internet say. There’s also a difference of how many people attend MK in a given day (which can approach 100k) and how many can be in the park at any given time. If the crowds were anywhere near that high, there would have been phased closings of the park like what happens on Christmas or New Years often times.

TPs actual crowd levels aren’t based on how the park feels (that’s subjective), but rather on the actual posted wait times at attractions, which is an objective measure. And it’s based on average wait time, not peak. So let’s look at Voyage of the Little Mermaid on the 12th. It peaked at a 70 min wait time, but it averaged a 32 min wait time. Now let’s contrast that to Christmas Day - Little Mermaid peaked at 90 minutes on Christmas, with an average wait time of 55 minutes. So given those two stats, a CL-7 day for the 12th seems about right.

If I had to guess, I would say that the huge number of Christmas parties this year threw off the plans for Nov/Dec. There were fewer night’s without parties, so people not attending the parties saved their MK day for the non-party day. If you look at many of the party days, they were pretty low CL.