January 2019 WDW Crowd and Hours Update - are you sure?!


Ok ! Now I have to change my FP!

How can I look for FP in another park without losing my current FPs in case I don’t find anything good ?

For example on Monday I have 3 FP at MK. I want to see if there are good FPs at AK instead.



Nevermind… no more FP for FOP or Slinky…

Wow. Now my AK and HS days are 10 and they we’re 5… and some other days have changed from 9 to 7 but those have no FP left anymore…

Thanks for updating the crowds levels after the FP booking window. Really great of you.


We are also booked for the first week in March. I am new to touring plans, and did not use this info to book our trip. I did use the info to plan our days and fast pass selections. Based on past years, crowd sizes of 4-5 seemed a little low, but 9-10 crowd sizes sure seem to be awful high.

As others have noted, it is what it is, and we will plan for the worst and hope for the best. However, I would not be willing to recommend the use of this site’s crowd calculator, for anyone planning a future trip, based on the extreme changes being seen for dates only 1-2 months out.


It definitely is disappointing and a little annoying to see the huge swings in their predictions just weeks away. Is there a country we don’t know about that’s getting a free trip to Disney World?


@ErinMN This is more my concern as well. We also have a trip with numbers that increased significantly - from 5/6 to 9/10 for most days - and I’m now much more worried about navigating the parks than I was before. Our trip is in April, so I expect it’ll change again (although you can’t go up from a 10…). We aren’t big ride people, so I’m more concerned about how hard it will be to get from Place A to Place B, how long the bathroom lines are, whether we will be able to find a table at QS, how many times my kid will get stepped on, how difficult will it be to get on a bus, etc. I realize that’s much more subjective to analyze, and probably not reasonable to ask someone else to judge, it’s just an alarming jump that I hadn’t anticipated.

I guess we just need to have a really good plan, and prepare to bail back to the resort by lunchtime every day!


@StephanieV @ErinMN In the comments of the Blog Post, Fred (who is the big stats guy at TouringPlans) said this:

The crowd levels only indicate the relative wait times at the core attractions, not to the attendance in the park. So, it is unlikely that you will see a similar jump in the density of people on the paths and trails. It will be more crowded for sure, but the change won’t be as drastic as the crowd level change makes it seem.

So I think you’ll be fine. :slight_smile:


We’re going at the end of this month and when we first booked, the CLs were all in the 5-8 range. Then they went down after a few months. If they hadn’t gone down (when Len said above was an algorithm error), then it would have only been a slight bump.


The adjustment may have been partly due to how fast the FPs went. I’ve been watching FP bookings leading up to our trip and they went faster than I expected, so I think they may have made fewer available.


That was my impression as well. I picked my parks and ADRs 190 days ago with levels of 5-8. Then I ignored TP for several months. Last night I was building my touring plans and deciding FPs and was pleasantly surprised to see levels 3-6 in all the parks. That excitement only lasted until I read my e-mail this morning. lol! So if I’d never seen the 3-6 levels, I wouldn’t have been as shocked at the 6-10s I’m now seeing for my trip.


Thanks for the support everyone! A few thoughts - (1) Yes Mardi Gras is a big holiday for New Orleans schools and we see an impact annually. (2) Remember that these are estimates of wait time averages. The relationship between wait times and crowd density (how it feels) is strong but not perfect. (3) Be careful not to draw any causal relationships between this update and the attendance we will see on a particular date. Think of these estimates like a political poll. They are estimates based on the information at the time. What happens on election day is yet to be seen (I can’t believe I brought politics into this).


That’s good to hear. Ideally, it would be nice to have ratings for both wait times and attendance available, but I’m sure attendance is a lot harder to track and predict.

I’ll just trust in my TPs, be glad I got good FPP, and hope for the best when it comes to waiting for my Dole Whip.


@ErinMN Regarding the Dole Whip, do mobile ordering. It saves a ton of time.


What doesn’t make sense is that Spring break for Florida schools (specifically Orange county) is March 18-22nd?? But that week CL went down (8/9 to 5/6), and week prior increased significantly???


I was there last January/February and from that experience I can say that I think these new crowd predictions will be spot on. And don’t think that it won’t feel crowded in the parks because everyone is in line - it’s going to be crowded and feel that way. Personally, I’d rather go in expecting large crowds and then be pleasantly surprised if it’s not as bad as I feared it would be.


What date are you looking at? I have an annual pass so I can at least look and give you an idea of fp availability. Not sure how you can look at another park when already booked.


I would never , ever change parks based on a change in crowd level predictions. You will be fine!


After my last trip, when actuals were 3-4 numbers higher than the projected CLs, I pretty much lost faith in the value of the CL number. The wait times were also way off - to the point that I thought it was for some other WDW in a parallel universe.

I plan my trips based on other things than CL - weather being the primary (I refuse to go June-October), and other offerings being secondary (my next trip will be in early December, not because of CLs, but because I’ve always wanted to see the Holiday offerings, specifically in EP).

I’ll still make TPs, but I won’t really expect them to be very accurate; at least they will be a starting point.


I am going mid February, before presidents day and I just got an update too. some of my days doubled as well. so discouraging, this is our second trip, I pushed it way back to avoid crowds and once again it looks like it will be crowded after all. I know we will make the best of it and enjoy either way but I was looking forward to it.


So, I thought I’d give some perspective to make everyone feel better about crowds. Or at least make people see it will all be fine. So I wrote this novella for you all to read when you see fit.

DH, DD(5 at the time), and I went to the World on Jersey week in 2017. The crowd calendar never had a day higher than 6 at any park until the final Saturday of the week. We went in with bright eyes, loose plans, dining reservations (1 TS a day reserved), and Fast Passes. We put on our ears and DD’s princess dress and walked happily to the entrances.

And then all hell broke loose.

See, no one really told us that they’d be filming the Christmas stage shows that week, 2 of the 3 days we planned to be at MK. And no one really let us know that the crowds would skyrocket because of that. The crowd calendar never mentioned that we would be so wall to wall with people in the area behind the castle that I swear I could have lifted my feet up and crowd surfed from ride entrance to ride entrance. That my child and I would be physically shoved off of the curb into Main street after waiting an hour to see a parade by angry guests with double wide strollers and lose our spots. No one mentioned that because of the combination of Jersey Week, F&W festival, and the filming, that part of EPCOT would be basically impassable at dinner time the whole week. And guess what? Ignorance was bliss.

Because our brains said “nope. Crowd calendars said 6 then I guess this is a 6.” We mused about what a 10 would be. We stuck to our fast passes and made new ones in line as we waited for scheduled ones. We rode less fun rides mid-day (waiting 35 minutes for Magic Carpets, 40 min for IASW, and 30 minutes for the Little Mermaid ride at the worst point). We had to stalk tables at Pecos Bill’s and our resort food court to have somewhere to sit and eat. We ate ice cream and popcorn for lunch one day. And we sucked it up.

Now, looking back at the “actual” crowd numbers, they are listed as 8, 9, 10 across the board. And we survived. We had fun. We were miserable during transportation (God, AoA has horrible busing. Really, truly terrible), but were otherwise fine. So being prepared will be so much better for you! Over-preparing, practicing your FPP refresh skills, scheduling lunches for before or after the 1130-130 crowd window, and preparing to have patience. I wish we had known and been more prepared, but we still had a nice time.

Because it’s Disney. And Disney, despite the crowds and the craziness, still gave me goosebumps when I saw my DD’s eyes widen when she came under the train station and saw the castle for the first time. And Disney let us eat in a castle and hug a giant Piglet and have cinnamon rolls in a rotating restaurant. And most of all Disney had magic, where even though we didn’t see HEA or that darn parade and couldn’t afford a suite and ate popcorn as a meal, we made memories that will be forever.

You will enjoy yourselves, no matter what the algorithm says. You will see magic.


@onceabird You are truly awesome. Thank you for so honestly sharing the good the bad and the ugly and reminding us that a crowded day in Disney is still magical.