Some things can never be predicted with a statistical model. If Mon and Tues are wash-out days, the times for most of the week may be off in response. If a ride opens late or has an extended closing, wait time for the rest of the day will be off.
When Disney added FPPs, they changed the entire game. And when they made additional ones past the first 3 available they changed the game again.
About 6 months ago TP changed it’s entire statistical model and redefined what a “3” or a “7” or a “9” was; it moved from a linear model to a standard distribution model - this seems to be when the complaints about inaccurate crowds and wait times started showing up. We all thought that “it will all even out” after we get used to the new system. But it doesn’t seem to have.
There is one very valid point that Josh makes that we all tend to forget (myself included). The numbers are all relative and do not reflect an absolute number of people in the parks. WDW has many more visitors this year than it did a few years ago. There are going to be more people in the parks on a “3” day in 2014 than there were on a “3” day in 2007. Likewise, the wait times are going to be longer than they used to be on the same crowd level day. It seems that for some reason, the TP statistical model is not picking up on this.
I’ll admit, I was never a serious TP person; I used the concepts, kind of toured “on the fly” and for the most part had excellent trips. For my last trip (2 weeks ago) I made detailed TPs for each day and decided to be “a good Liner” and follow them as precisely as possible, largely to be able to defend TP to the nay-sayers. On Monday, at DHS, I gave up by 11:30 AM because the predicted numbers had so little to do with what I found. “Live” reoptimization produced equally “off” recommendations. I hung with Tuesday’s EP TP until lunch (basically the FW part of the plan), but had to drop 2 attractions because the wait times were innacurrate. Thursday was the MK and I felt like the TP was for some other day entirely. I had to drop at least one attraction every two hours to keep even close to the plan (SM, TTA, and CoP, with no FPPs, in an hour at 1:30 PM ???). The plan also clearly did not take into account the suffocating crowds that came pouring in at 4PM for a sold-out party that night… On Friday for AK, I completely scrapped any TP, made the list of attractions I wanted to see/do, had my FPPs, and had a great time.
Up until my last trip I would have been affronted and pissed off at the comments that people were making at the end of that post. But after my last trip, I have to (ruefully) agree with some of them.
Like cgulls, I am an avid TP loyalist, and I cannot imaging anyone with a more comprehensive statistical model than Len and Co. have created. But I’m beginning to wonder if there are just getting to be too many uncontrollable independent variables for ANY statistical model to analyze and make accurate predictions…
But I guess the “good news” is that for me TP is SO MUCH more about the Lines Chat and Forums than TPs, that a lot of this just doesn’t really matter to me. The comeraderie of this website is something I enjoy EVERY day; TPs are something that effect 10 or so days a year (if that). I’m sure I’ll go ahead and make TPs for upcoming trips -but I’ll take crowd level predictions with a grain of salt and I’ll also expect a bit less of them, until they prove themselves otherwise.
And Josh - if you are a lurker hear to see what the “competition” is doing, I think you’re pretty much an asshole for posting a blog that does nothing to assist your current readers and takes cheap, mostly dated shots at a different group of WDW fans - some of whom are also your readers…