Crowd levels gone up feb 19

Hello all

Just had an email update on our park tracker. Feb 26th - March 12th 2019. The crowd levels have gone up like crazy.

Does anyone know why???


Our trip later this month went up a lot too. I refreshed about half of my touring plans and there were pretty minimal changes though. I was really worried when my Saturday at AK went to a 9!

Mine shot up from 5/6 to 9/10 for March 1-5. That doesn’t make me feel real confident in their Crowd Tracking software, especially when I use it to plan my annual visit around light/moderate crowds. I went through my plans and it only added at most an hour of waiting to my day, but still it’s frustrating to be less than 60 days out when I get charged fees to change my plans that my trip may be as busy as the Christmas season (without any of the extra Disney cheer!).

Mardi Gras is March 5 (which is apparently when everyone who lives in New Orleans vacates the city).

That said, it is ALWAYS a guess and NOT a guarantee.

Mine went up a whole lot too for two weeks from now. Like a lot. I’m bummed, but it’s not like we’re not going to go! Here’s to keeping our fingers crossed and having a good plan.

It’s really odd. We’re not going at peak times. It’s not like Star Wars Land is opening. We’re after Presidents’ Day too. Kids should be at school.

I don’t get it!? Luckily all fast passes are booked so I won’t be waiting 4 hours for flight of passage. :roll_eyes:

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It’s possible there’s a software glitch. This happened just before our trip in November when an email went out overnight shipping enormous increases in crowd levels and the email was quickly rescinded the following day.

If this isn’t a glitch, you won’t get a straight answer on this board that explains how the CC can be off by, in this case, 60-80%. People will explain “it’s just a guide” or “what used to be a 7 is now a 4” or something similar. Believe me, I tried to get a straight answer as to why a historical, statistics-based model has any value if, at 60-days out, it can be off this significantly and it was like banging my head against a wall.

So for early March, I think Mardi Gras comes into play. Some other factors:

  • Disney has been changing the way they do things over the past few months - date based ticketing, Early Morning Magic/Disney After Hours, staffing adjustments, etc. When stuff like that happens, it throws the models off and they have to recalibrate. The recalibration had to happen after an unusually heavy November/December which followed a highly accurate summer period.,
  • TP did announce that they were having difficulty with crowd levels seeming too low in some places, so they were adjusting. This may be the adjustment, and it’s unfortunate but if they found a problem in their model, better to be prepared than not.
  • It’s also possible that in trying to fix their model, they overcompensated and now CLs are a bit higher than expected.

Overall, it is just a guide and they do the best they can - it’s all going to go out the window anyways one Galaxy’s Edge opens because I don’t think any model can predict what’s going to happen there. My experience is that a good touring plan and good use of FastPass+ grab and adjust will give you an enjoyable day, regardless of crowd level. The only exceptions to this are weeks like Easter, Christmas, and Thanksgiving, where the crowds get thick enough to make it difficult to move in some spots…


One thing worth mentioning - typically when they do a big CL update, there is an accompanying blog post. So I’d either expect one today or expect more adjustments in the next few days…

I’m sure this isn’t impacting it a lot, but it’s New Hampshire’s school vacation week. They are always the week after us and we’re President’s Day week.

I’ve got 3 trips on the books right now - February, May and June. All went up quite a bit.

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Here’s the blog post -

The gist for Jan-Feb dates is that Disney might cut back staffing/run fewer ride vehicles like they did last year.

That being said, if Disney decides not to do that this year because of negative guest feedback (which I’ve heard was quite substantial) thesenlevels may go down.

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Yes, exactly. When we first booked our trip, our CL were in the 5-8 range, and then they went down to the 2-5 range. Now they’re back up and a little higher. It’s a bit of an emotional rollercoaster, but there are a ton of variables and Disney obviously isn’t telling TP what they’re up to.

I understand why people are reacting the way they are - but reality is that this is a prediction. What Touring Plans says is not going to change what the crowds actually are. In past years crowds in the first 2.5 months were low enough to justify the older predictions. Sounds like the unexpected increased in the fall (which led to higher CL levels than in the past) were the primary driver of this. Does that mean that this will actually happen? Not necessarily. I personally think the fall increases were driven by the increase in parties, which are pretty popular. They used to sell out, now with more of them they don’t, meaning more people can attend them. There aren’t any parties in Jan/Feb. Plus, I don’t think Disney will cut back staffing as severely as last year. So personally I think that TP may have been a bit too aggressive in raising the levels, but I’d rather have that and then adjust downward later when making my plans.

It won’t be Christmas level busy. That I am sure of.

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Ultimately, I decided to move our trip, and fortunately, the only cost to do it was an additional $98 to rebook the flight. So, for what it’s worth, there will be 2 fewer people at WDW from March 7-11 and 2 more people there from April 25-29. I realize there’s some risk in this approach. At the 60-day out mark, there’s nothing to suggest TP won’t revise their projections DRASTICALLY again and, having used the current projections to select the dates in April, I will effectively have jumped out of the frying pan in March into the fire.

As for this constant refrain that the CL’s are only a prediction, I gotta be honest: that is a tremendous cop out. This entire website is based on the premise that, with enough historical data and some present-day insight, its users can more effectively negotiate CROWD LEVELS to improve its experience while in the parks. The name of the website is, after all, One presumes those touring plans are built on the same data used to project crowd levels if their entire reason for existence is to help navigate those same crowd levels!

I understand fully that CL predictions are exactly that. I don’t think any of us expect a software model to be able to actually predict – to the person – how many people will actually be in a park on a given day. For those of us who have complained, the essence of our complaint isn’t that the predictions move up or down by 1-2 points. But real talk here, if we’re talking about a 10-point scale, then a 1-2 point movement represents 10-20% of acceptable inaccuracy. That’s acceptable. But, when we start talking about 4-5 point movement, then, we’re now talking about 40-50% inaccuracy. And that’s not acceptable because it begs the question:

How useful is a predictive model that needs to be adjusted by 50%?

But really, at this point we’re still talking about this in the abstract. In reality, moving from a 1-5 is a large swing, yes, but the net outcome of that move is an experience where the park traffic, line waits, etc. are moderate instead of relatively light. All in all, probably still a good experience in store for those using these predictions to plan for their trip.

But the same point-based adjustment – let’s say from a 6-10 – suggests a significantly different actual experience. If I make plans on the expectation of a moderate crowd only to have those numbers adjusted to suggest the parks will now be at capacity, then that suggests a MASSIVE SHIFT in my likely experience.

And that’s exactly the type of prediction update we just saw. We saw 5s move to 8s and 9s. 6s move to 10s. Animal Kingdom, for instance, showed back-to-back-to-back projections of 10s that had been 5s and 6s, seemingly out of nowhere.

Look, I’m not suggesting the CL projections must be right and should never need adjustment. What I’m suggesting is that, if the projections need to be adjusted this significantly and this often, maybe it’s time to just acknowledge that the CL projections just aren’t very useful.

Just one quibble - where have you seen it adjusted this significantly often? I’ve only seen this type of adjustment once or twice before, in 9 years following TP - both times prior to this were the result of significant changes by Disney (one was after a big round of layoffs, the other was when Disney decided to cut ride capacity during the winter months for the first time).

And you are right - it should not see these types of swings generally. But a model is only as good as the inputs, and if one of those inputs changes (tourism to Orlando way up in the fall for example, compared with every previous year), should TP just ignore it? They got new data and adjusted accordingly. Now that I have this knowledge, I can adjust my touring plans accordingly. The new data is helping me plan my trip better, and is much preferable than seeing a 6 and showing up to a 9.

BTW, these won’t be capacity crowds. Heavy, yes. But not capacity. Glad you were able to reschedule your trip. April after Easter is a wonderful time to visit.

Could be recency bias on my part, but I feel like I saw pretty significant projection adjustments ahead of my trip in November, which I believe turned out to be a software glitch, and then again ahead of my trip in December. Not nearly to the degree I mention above, but I believe – and I’d need to go back to confirm – there was an update of 2-3 points in December. Again, could be recency bias on my part.