Something is wrong with the predicted wait times in the crowd level tracker

Good afternoon,

First of all, I know the CLs have been updated to higher level a few days ago. This caught me by surprise and I made a few adjustments to my schedule and I am now happy.

However, by analyzing the data on TP I realized that something is wrong with the predicated wait times in the crowd level tracker. Or perhaps I am reading it incorrectly ?

As an example, let’s take Friday March 1st who is a level 10 for AK.

Predicated Wait times at peak time (1 PM)
Everest: 35 Minutes
DINOSAUR: 28 Minutes.

If this is truly a 10 CL day, impossible that Everest is 35 minutes and Dinosaur is 28 minutes.

As an example, November 21st 2018 was a CL 10 at AK and those rides had the following wait times:

Everest: 97 Minutes
DINOSAUR: 65 Minutes.

Here is anothe example. March 4th 2019 is scheduled to be a CL 10 at MK. TP is showing the following predicated wait times for this date at MK:

Peter Pan Flight: 46 minutes
Hauted House: 35 Minutes
7 Dwarfs: 93 minutes

History on November 21st 2018 was a CL 10 at MK and here we’re the wait times:

Peter Pan Flight: 109 minutes
Hauted House: 76 minutes
7 Dwarfs: 160 minutes

I am starting to lose faith in TouringPlans. I was shocked with the new CL a few days ago but I modified my schedule around it and was happy. But now the predicted wait times are WAYYY OFFF…

We’re the predicated wait times also updated ? Should I consider these to be accurate ?

Any info would be appreciated.

@fred @len

I am interested in this answer. My TPs ALWAYS predict wait times of those lengths, and I never really understood it.

I did think it was odd that when I updated a TP from a 2 to an 8, the wait times didn’t change drastically.

Thanks @SpykeYs. I’m traveling today and have asked @fred to respond.

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Here are 2 links that go into detail on the changes and why. One is a blog, the other is a video. They both are very good/

@davidjjenkins1961 - Thanks for the added information but I think by now we are all aware of this. Let’s not mix things up here.

What does not make sense is the predicted wait times per attractions. I am questioning if these have been updated or not. Are they accurate or not.

Based on available data, it does not make sense at all that an AK CL 10 only has a predicated wait time of 35 minutes for everest as 1 example.

I am glad @len responsed and hopefully we can get an answer for @fred shortly.

Thanks,

I just listened to the youtube video @Fred did to discuss the changes and he said that the CL calendar is strictly based on wait times. Well if this is the case, something is wrong here because the predicated wait times for the first week of March are fairly low but they still come out at CL 10…

Yes I am aware of that people are aware of the changes and the link to the information, it is the podcast that I ran across and that goes into a lot of information on why this happened and what they look at.

From what was said in the podcast, the wait times have been updated as well as the crowd levels There were 4 factors involved in this most recent update and as the guy said “it was a perfect storm”

There is information on how often they look at the wait times, how much more recent vs older wait times play a factor. Another thing, crowd levels do not have only to do with the number of people. They mentioned that when Disney cuts down on the number of cast members working an attraction or they cut back on the vehicles that are being used, that will increase the times. I can’t remember all of what they had said. But the video was much more informative than the blog.

I think if you watch it, you will get many of your questions answered.

Hi SpykeYs, thanks for bring this to my attention. At first glance I was very confused but then I found some explanations that I hope will help. You are right, that 35 minute wait time at Everest doesn’t seem like it goes with a CL10 given that November 21 saw an average posted time of 97 minutes. Three things:

  1. Expedition Everest sees average posted wait times throughout the year between 30 mins and 70 mins. We assign CLs based on where it falls in that range. An average posted time greater than 67 mins gets a CL10 for Everest. About 5% of days fit that description.
  2. Nov 21, 2018 was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, an extremely busy day, easily a CL10 on our scale.
  3. We deal with two wait times - the Posted time and the Actual time. The CLs are based on Posted, the touring plans use the Actual times. That 35 min wait is an Actual time, the corresponding Posted is 70. Because the average Posted times on Mar 1 exceed the 67 min threshold, the CL10 is assigned.

So, you’ve highlighted a case showing that not all CL10s are the same. Incidentally, on Dec 28, the average at Everest hit 147 mins!

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@fred out of curiosity do you know of any historical days that had surprising wait times like this, with CL10 crowds and a low wait time for Everest?

@fred Something does still feel off… I think there may be a glitch somewhere… Looking at the whole day for March 1 at AK: (https://touringplans.com/animal-kingdom/wait-times/date/2019-03-01) .

Adventurers Outpost 12 min 29 min 19 min 20 min
DINOSAUR* 13 min 28 min 25 min 18 min
Expedition Everest* 30 min 35 min 33 min 17 min
Flight of Passage* 159 min 158 min 142 min 115 min
Kali River Rapids Not Operating on March 1, 2019
Kilimanjaro Safaris* 29 min 47 min 42 min 23 min
Na’vi River* 61 min 74 min 60 min 33 min
Primeval Whirl* 17 min 23 min 16 min 17 min
TriceraTop Spin 4 min 11 min 11 min 6 min

None of the wait times here fit into the CL 10 threshold. So I’m trying to figure out what wait tiimes are making this day a CL 10…

Same with MK on 3/4 (https://touringplans.com/magic-kingdom/wait-times/date/2019-03-04):

7 Dwarfs Train* 77 min 93 min 79 min 51 min
Ariel’s Grotto 13 min 27 min 27 min 21 min
Astro Orbiter 13 min 27 min 20 min 21 min
Barnstormer 6 min 27 min 27 min 19 min
Big Thunder Mtn* 30 min 51 min 50 min 32 min
Buzz Lightyear* 33 min 39 min 30 min 17 min
Dumbo 13 min 28 min 20 min 13 min
Ench Tales w/ Belle 20 min 33 min 28 min 37 min
Haunted Mansion* 9 min 35 min 40 min 16 min
it’s a small world 10 min 27 min 27 min 13 min
Jungle Cruise* 35 min 43 min 46 min 25 min
Mad Tea Party 4 min 14 min 12 min 10 min
Magic Carpets 6 min 20 min 19 min 21 min
Pete’s: Goofy/Donald 6 min 20 min 19 min 13 min
Pete’s: Minnie/Daisy 6 min 27 min 27 min 29 min
Peter Pan’s Flight* 49 min 46 min 47 min 37 min
Pirates of Caribbean* 21 min 33 min 34 min 25 min
Princess Hall: Cinderella/Elena 20 min 45 min 33 min 34 min
Princess Hall: Rapunzel/Tiana 20 min 36 min 20 min 37 min
Railroad Fantasyland Not Operating on March 4, 2019
Railroad Frontierland Not Operating on March 4, 2019
Railroad Main St Not Operating on March 4, 2019
Regal Carrousel 4 min 5 min 5 min 4 min
Space Mountain* 53 min 60 min 47 min 47 min
Splash Mountain* 28 min 58 min 55 min 48 min
Stitch’s Escape Not Operating on March 4, 2019
Tom’land Speedway Not Operating on March 4, 2019
Town Sq Mickey 25 min 45 min 45 min 45 min
Town Sq Tink 20 min 23 min 23 min 21 min
Under the Sea* 6 min 26 min 26 min 19 min
Winnie the Pooh* 23 min 29 min 29 min 18 min

7 Dwarfs, for example, fits into a CL3 here… Now, I know it’s based on more than one attraction but I’m not seeing anything here that says this is a 10…

These wait time charts from our wait time pages are listing Actual times. The CLs are based on the corresponding Posted times, which of course will be higher. In some cases much higher.

Not to add more complexity to the issue but our data is indicating that the relationship between posted times and actual times is also changing in recent months. Disney seems to be inflating the ratio more so than what we saw in years past.

Interestingly, this is why so many people aren’t finding a big difference with their updated touring plans. The Actual wait times have not changed as much as the CLs.

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Thanks @fred, that clears things up. Is it possible that Disney’s inflating of wait times contributed to the spikes in CL? Do you adjust for that in your models?

Just curious, I love this inside baseball …

Absolutely it is possible that the change in ratio is a contributing factor. However, the relationship is complex. The ratio varies based on the attraction, the Posted time, the time of day and the season. I don’t talk a lot about the ratios because I think it adds too much complication for most of our users. Given all the discussion this week, I may be forced to bring it up.

P.S. I just called up the database of Actual times for Everest - I will see if I can find an example of a 30-35 minute actual wait time on a CL10 day.

Here’s a 28 minute Actual on Feb 15 last year but it was earlier than peak time of the day.

Here’s a 26 minute Actual wait on Christmas Eve in 2017.

We don’t have a lot of Actual wait times in our database during the peak part of the day - our users are too smart for that :slight_smile:

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@fred or @len - So is it possible to use the CL times to choose your park days or should we just be going by the wait times in the TPs?

First of all, I would like to say a huge thank you to @Fred for looking into this. We are all having these discussions in order to TP to get better and better and better for our benefits.

Here is what I still do not understand.

I was at WDW March 3rd 2018 - March 10th 2018. My feeling was that the crowds we’re in general a 6.

Let’s compare Saturday March 3rd 2018 and Saturday March 2nd 2019 for AK.

March 3rd 2018: AK had a predicted CL 6 and Actual CL was 7.
March 2nd 2019: AK has a predicted CL 10.

2018:
Everested had a prediction of 47 minutes (CL6) Actual was 57 minutes (CL7)
DINOSAUR had a prediction of 36 minutes (CL5) Actual was 50 minutes (CL7)

2019:

Everest has prediction of 32 minutes at 1 PM
DINOSAUR has a prediction of 35 minutes at 1 PM.

So why in 2018 the wait times prediction were higher but the CL we’re lower (7 vs 10). Now in 2019 the wait times prediction for both rides is smaller (32 & 35 minutes vs 47 and 36) but CL is now a 10.

I think this is where everyone is confused. To me it now looks like even if most of my days for first week of March are now 8-9-10 instead of 5-6-7 it does’t really matter and the wait time will be pretty similar as last year.

The problem I can see now is that we have different CL10. Should a CL10 be a CL10 no matter what ? Now everyone is freaking out because they think their CL10 is going to be the same a christmas day.

Thanks again :wink:

Also @fred … You menttioned the following:

here’s a 28 minute Actual on Feb 15

Well again this is what I don’t understand. The predicted wait time for everest on Feb 15th was 50 minutes (CL7) and actual wait time was 72 minutes (CL10).

Why in this case a 50 minutes prediction for everest was a CL 7 but my March 4th 2019 has a prediction of 35 minutes for everest but CL is 10. If predicted wait time is 35 minutes (lower than Feb 15th prediction which was a CL 7) should it not be somewhere in the 5 or 6 for CL ?

i’m lost again here :wink:

I think there is some confusion about the difference between the following sets of metrics:

  1. Posted time vs Actual time
  2. Predicted time vs Observed time

We don’t always do a great job with the precise language on the site but it is important to specify what it is we are talking about. (1) Refers to Disney’s Posted time outside the attraction and the Actual amount of time you will wait in line. (2) Refers to the predictions vs. what we observe.

So we have four “times” we have to reference:

a) Predicted Posted time
b) Observed Posted time
c) Predicted Actual time
d) Observed Actual time

When we get careless we sometimes say “Actual time” when really we mean Observed Posted time.

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Incidentally, I really appreciate the discussion here. It’s great for us to get a sense of how users view the data we publish on our site. We have been staring at this stuff for 18 years and using our own internal language to describe it. I’m always interested in improving the way our tools are used and understood.

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