The problem with crowd calendars, as @ryan1 pointed out is that crowds can be unpredictable. That being said, I think Touring Plans is the most transparent with how they determine their crowd calendar numbers…
Not sure I would necessarily call any one a favorite, as they all have their flaws, but I do rely heavily on the one from Undercover Tourist. I like the simplicity of it.
I will reiterate that my judgment of TP is only based on my experience this year with Universal. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are much more accurate with Disney since there is a lot more data to work from.
That’s us as well, although we do sometimes look at using morning EMH at a few parks (definitely not every day!). Once we’ve settled on which days at each park we decide on ADRs and we seldom, if ever, change the days after that.
Going in September. HS 2 weeks ago was a 1 and now it’s a 3, so they do change. My strategy this trip was to 1. plan where I wanted ADRs and 2. The parks where I wanted to ensure I snagged a FP of my choosing (FoP, SDD) i put closer to end of trip
Touring Plans is my favorite calendar, obviously. That’s likely because of the scientific method they use to come up with their predictions, whereas other crowd calendars are much more generalized, saying heavy crowds in summer and Christmas time but light crowds in September, etc., using historical data alone.
These boards are amazing!! Thank you all for helping me sort through my planning insanity. While my hope is to get our group to the parks for rope drop most days I know the morning after we stay at MK for fireworks I probably need to let them have a slower start to the day. I’m thinking of doing HS the next day with a late arrival. Do you anticipate the toy story attractions having crazy long waits? I feel like HS is the least interesting park to us right now with the exception of the fact that my husband loved Toy Story Mania and it was really hard to get him back to Disney so am hoping he can ride that at least twice.
My ADR date is this weekend and there was just a calendar update so I have decided to probably change one day of my plans in a way that I hope better accommodates the change. Once I have my ADR’s I will probably not change again for future updates. Definitely not once I get FP+, I would find it stressful to change at that point.
Basically, I approach planning with a crowd calendar the same way I read a golf scorecard. I want to be able to add up the crowd levels for each day and come up with the lowest possible combined total.
It doesn’t always work out perfectly, especially with things like what you are facing scheduling around MVMCP. But that approach tends to help educate the planning a little bit for me. Especially since my family has been there enough times now that the order we hit the parks no longer matters as much.
For example, if I have 4 days and am trying to get 1 at each park, I would try to find the lowest possible combination:
(4 + 3 + 6 + 5 = 18) to me that is probably better than (4 + 2 + 8 + 5 = 19)
If the trade off to get the level 2 crowd day at one park means I have to deal with a level 8 day at another, then I’m going to take the level 3 day.
Now for my next trip, over Christmas, it doesn’t matter because 10 + 10 + 10 is the same no matter what park you visit, but that’s my problem to deal with haha!
The crowd calendars don’t decide when we want to go, but once we’ve picked the dates for our trip I try to plan out which days to go to each park based somewhat on the crowd calendar. That being said we almost always go the first and last days to the MK with a resort/Disney Springs day about half way through. The other days are loosely based on the calendars. I do try to avoid the days with EMH.
Yeah, I’m kind of afraid that all of us that planned a trip in November when the crowd levels should be at least moderate are kind of screwed. Not all of them shot up but I’m kind of a pessimist and it seems like a sign for more to come to me.
I guess all there is left to do is make sure you have a bullet-proof TP in place so it doesn’t matter as much how crowded it will be or not. Personally, I’m not somebody with a lot of touring experience since it’ll be my first trip in 10 or 11 years but I’ve heard that a good TP can trump about any CL one can think of except for maybe Christmas time.
Is this because of the use of Express Passes by you (and your party) or just in general? We’ll be visiting both parks our trip later this year and I’m curious as to why this would be and try to be as prepared as I possibly can be.
Universal isn’t as busy as WDW, so a 10 there is not as busy as a 10 at WDW, and the same for other crowd levels.
No Express Passes for this cheapskate.
When looking at the wait times for a Disney park like MK for the superheadliners at each crowd level listed at this link:
…and compared to the wait times at the same crowd level for the superheadliners at a Universal park like IoA at this link:
…you can see how the same crowd level results in much less waiting in line at Universal rather than Disney.