How useful is this?

So I’ve been using the crowd calendar for years to plan my trips, and up until very recently can say I have zero complaints about its utility and accuracy, however, the previous two trips I’ve taken have been another matter entirely.

As to current goings on, I’m about to embark on a trip that when I booked it a year ago the crowd calendar projected every day of it being a 1 or a 2- pretty nice! However a mere 6 weeks before our arrival time I’m notified of updates to all the days in my trip- now 3’s, 5’s and 6’s. This is now a trip I would have simply not booked had this information been available earlier.

Further I have a friend in animal kingdom today- supposedly a 3 overall, a 2 for that park. All wait times are 70+ plus minutes. I said “Well thats awful, a huge discrepancy in what the crowd calendar says” but then I go digging, trying to find what exactly those numbers are supposed to translate to these days (if memory serves a “2” used to mean about 20 minutes on wait times). After quite a bit of digging I finally find this chart that says a “2” is actually going to indicate waits between 27 and 71 minutes- How useful is a stat that projects a wait time 44 minute range?

I’m feeling like the utility of the crowd calendar is simply gone these days, if it’s going to be this inaccurate touring plans should simply discontinue it as a product.


There is supposed to be an update on August 29th.

I think many will say (and I have to agree) that it should be used as one resource to plan your trip, not as the one that determines everything. Crowd calendars are famously “off” right now because of revenge travel, data from Covid times, etc.


Welcome to the forum!

I will not attempt to explain how the crowd calendar works, there are better ppl for that: @bebe80 @Jeff_AZ @PrincipalTinker @ryan1


The Crowd Calendar update already happened.

The big change coming next week is the ability for your touring plan to suggest what LL to get at a specific time.


Unfortunately, this is no longer how it works (edited thanks to bebe80’s correction below). The Crowd Calendar rating is basically a percentile with 1 being the bottom 10% of wait times and the 10 being the top 10% of wait times.

Below is a Touring Plans Blog article where they explain the methodology of the Crowd Calendar:

Here’s how it works: TouringPlans predicts crowd levels for every day of the year based on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the lowest crowds and 10 the highest. For each day, there is a level for the overall resort, plus one for each park

These crowd levels are based on years of attraction wait time data, with each crowd level associated with specific wait times for each attraction.

There’s also this from the Crowd Level page:

We at Touring Plans define a ‘crowd’ as the average posted wait time for the key attractions between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm. We selected this definition for many reasons.

Here’s the table where the data you referred to is located on average wait times for Space Mountain:


It’s important to note that Touring Plans is not a god or an oracle. They can only create a prediction / forecast based on historical data for the same dates over many years. Human beings act in unpredictable ways and can all show up on a random day without any rhyme or reason. On average, the calendar will be fairly indicative of relative levels of crowds. But on any given day, they could be wrong. That is especially likely in volatile periods, like right now when we are emerging from a pandemic and have economic uncertainty.

So what you are observing is not necessarily an issue with the calendar itself. You are seeing variability in human behavior which is unpredictable. It’s just the nature of the beast.

Short of Disney releasing park reservation numbers, Touring Plans is the very best information that is publicly available (well, to subscribers at least). They use school calendars, holidays, parties, special events, historical crowds, etc. to come up with their prediction. You shouldn’t “rely” on it. But it can be helpful in your planning.


When I said “used to correlate to 20 minutes” I’m referring to about a decade ago, I’m fairly certain I read that and recall something in the intervening years about them changing it to a new system. Obviously I now cannot find anything about the old correlations since that information would naturally be unpublished.


I’m excited about that.

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Recently Len did say they were working on being more explicit regarding how long you would wait at targeted attractions in a park for a CL 5 day and how long for those same attractions on an 8. I think that update is months out?


Yep, @gtitian 's recollection was indeed correct you young whipper snapper. :wink:

Wow, great memory! The TP Crowd Calendar 2.0 started in 2010. From a past article:

Check this out :joy:

Look how far TP has come.


Oh that’s good, did you hear that on the Dish? Interested to hear it.


I stand corrected! :rofl:

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One thing to keep in mind is that in the last 10 years, Disney has gotten better at managing crowd and staffing levels, as well as other operational levers in order to have waits consistently at a “tolerable” level. This is especially true after the park reservation system was implemented.

In other words, if Disney has a day coming up with a low level of guests, they will not schedule as many CMs to be on site, will run certain rides at half capacity, reduce park hours, etc. On the contrary, if a park is completely sold out, they could extend operating hours, call in more CMs for longer shifts, and run rides at maximum capacity with more trains / vehicles / loading platforms, etc.

This is one reason why we are seeing less variability in wait times across all crowd levels. And why you can see a 64-minute wait on a CL 1 day but also on a CL 7 day.


Sit down sir!

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So you’re saying the crowd calendar is no longer a useful tool for gauging wait times.

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Not really, just that it’s not much different than it’s been for the last 10 years or so. It’s still a very good tool for planning out a general framework for your trip and having a basic plan for each day in advance, but you will need to use the app and optimize as you go if you want to get the most out of it. As the ability to predict precise wait times far in advance was lost, the ability to have more accurate in-the-moment predictions and advice was gained.

In addition, the advent of LL and Disney using G+ to drive crowds where they want them at that moment make that in-the-moment data even more useful.


This right here.

I consider the TP I make in advance a list of what I want to get done. Real time optimizing makes a huge difference in accuracy and a much better plan, especially with G+.


I think the days of wait times that used to be a 1 or 2 crowd level at Disney are over. I’m not saying that there will always be an obscene number of people at the parks. But with park reservations Disney knows how many people will go to the parks. They don’t have to staff for an unexpected influx since now they can turn those people away. They also have no interest in keeping the standby wait times low because Cheap-ek wants you to buy G+ and ILL$$$. So they will staff the rides at a level to keep the wait times too high for you.


So maybe I’m missing something here. In the lines app when you click on how we did yesterday there are references to being within a couple of minutes of predicted, wait time, and an overall score on how the performance was to the prediction. So if the range for a crowd level 2 can be as high as 70 minutes, how do they come within three minutes of of a wait and still show a pride toon of 2 and actual of 2?

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Because they give actual minute predictions:


and that bit at the bottom is the really relevant part