Higher than predicted crowds advice

Seems like people have been reporting that parks are busier than predicted lately with longer waits than expected. Does this seem to be the case for the past few weeks? As predictions are just that, you can’t really worry about it. My question is: if you build your TP when crowds are predicted to be a 5 for example and in real-time, the crowds turn out to be 8, what do you do to adjust? Do you optimize as you go? Stick to your plan, wait longer than predicted, and just drop the least desired as you get behind? I have set my FPP for the known long waits, have 2 days at each park planned, and will RD each park 1 of those 2 days so hoping we will get to do all our faves. Advice?

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A few years ago we were there in early April. The crowd level was supposed to be something low, like a 3 at Animal Kingdom. Well it rained buckets the day before, and that next day was beautiful and the crowds were out in droves. The day ended up being a 9. My pre-made plans (that I only evaluated before the trip, assuming a CL 3) worked exactly as planned. I am a big believer in making a great plan, printing it out before you go, and sticking with it. Having a great plan, plus morning EMH or rope drop if no EMH available is all you need for a great day regardless of crowd levels. Others will probably suggest re-optimizing in the parks, but I wanted to give you another perspective.


I print my tp and colour code it. I have Must Do regardless of wait and Willing to Drop if wait is too long or it affects other rides. This is agreed with the family in advance so everyone gets a say in the must do rides and the rides that may be dropped. I also build in extra 15 minute break every 2 hours and allow 60 mins for qs meals. This means we normally catch up if waits are too long


I do the same sort of things as @Wahoohokie and @mumcalsop. I have a clear idea of the must-do things and decide ahead of time which things in my plan can be dropped if necessary. I use my TPs to tell me how long things should take and pad them with breaks. On a slower than usual day, I’ll pull some extra stuff off my list of “if there’s time” things. On a super busy or pear-shaped day, I drop the non-essentials. It helps to think about it this way, because I’m more thankful than disappointed when I still get to the top must-do items.


Prior to the days of being able to make personalized plans for specific days, we just went with the pre-made plans in the Unofficial Guide, and they worked. Having a plan in the first place puts you well ahead of most of the people at the park. Go with your plan as it is, and then re-optimize only if things start to go significantly off-track.

Also, if you do plan on re-optimizing in the park, make sure to mark attractions as ‘done’ as you complete them - that way the software knows where you are when it recalculates your plan.


I didn’t know you could mark as “done”–just looked at that on the app. Thanks for the tip.

this is great advice, @Wahoohokie

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Because we’re a bit excited we’re checking the Lines app each morning for the park we’ll be in at the same time next week. Next Saturday we’ll be in AK. Our TP has DINOSAUR set for 10:12 or so with a 6 minute wait. At the same time earlier this morning Lines had the DINOSAUR wait at 30 min. Why can’t the TP software use this kind of live data to adjust TPs on the fly? Next week the CL is only going to be higher. I have an extra FPP to use, but hadn’t bothered as none of my rides had long lines predicted, but if it’s going to be a 30 min wait, I’d definitely use the FPP!

Further research has shown no available FPPs for Dinosaur before noon that day anyway, so I guess we’ll be in line! :unamused:

They do - on the day in question the wait time estimates are adjusted based on actual data for that day, so if you re-optimize in the park it will take the latest estimates into account.


a 30-minute posted wait time often will be 16 minutes in reality.

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“posted” is not what I was referring to. Lines app gives actual wait times.

That’s helpful to a point - but rather than making on-the-fly decisions about how to rearrange the plan in the parks, if the times could be updated now a week in advance I’d be able to make more considered decisions.

As far as I know the TP folks are constantly evaluating the predictions against the current dataset and they update the the Crowd Level and wait time predictions when merited. I’m not sure how much the previous week’s numbers weigh in on the models, so what you are seeing might not have too much if an effect on next week’s predictions.


To your point, it also depends on the real numbers in any given park on any given day. I think the way that they calculate now is impressive. Are they off at times? Okay. However, Disney has been working hard at spreading out crowds throughout the year and their business plan to that end is working as they designed. It means that now the predictions may be off a little based on previous years.


Some questions along these lines…

1). Doing HS Monday March 20 on a CL 7 day. TP currently has us arriving to a 7:05 VotLM show at 7:03. I’m assuming we’d probably not be admitted in this situation? Seems like ~20 min advance arrival is recommended for this show?

2). At Epcot on Fri 3-17 - post Biergarten and pre-Illuminations, so ballpark time between 7:30-8:30, we hope to do 2 rides - SSE and TTwC. Right now we have a FPP for TTwC for 7:10, but could easily switch to a 7:00 or 7:45 SSE FPP. Looking at the Lines app using today’s data, it looks like FPPs are gone for SSE but still available for TTwC. Is the smart play to switch to the 7:00 SSE FPP with the hope of more easily securing a 4th FPP for TTwC at the conclusion of SSE?

And while we’re on the topic, I’m sure I can search the site to find lots more posts giving this advice, but how early do we need to get to Illuminations to find a decent spot in Showcase Plaza, around the F&G outdoor kitchens like Urban Farm Eats and Pineapple Promenade? We’re seeing the show from SRT in Morocco a few days later too.

Agree with others: Make your TP and figure out the must-dos and the can-drop attractions so that you can adjust on the fly. We also make our TPs with “very relaxed” as our speed so that we don’t easily fall behind.
Our experience last week was that the parks felt packed and were hard to navigate because of wall-to-wall bodies, but the waits themselves weren’t vastly discrepant from predicted.

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That’s good to hear @mossmacl TPs worked great on our last two trips but we haven’t been since fall 2015 and with the re-adjustment of the crowd calendar values, I just have no idea what to expect compared to my previous trips. Here’s to spring break with

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We were at MK on Wednesday and our plan was just hosed. The first several attractions our TP on the list were estimated to have short wait times; they were in reality much longer. I ran my battery down with all the improvising; I wish I had done the printing/highlighting that others have mentioned! Around lunchtime the app just wouldn’t even optimize so we ended up winging it.

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We just got home today from our vacation and found the same thing. Walking was difficult but waits weren’t bad at all!

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