Just returned on Jan 28th from a 5 day trip with 8 others who were 1st timers at Disney World. We toured together and I planned with a slow pace and plenty of rest/potty breaks for the 4 grandkids. I obtained all our FP and refreshed all the touring plans several days before the trip. We found the wait times for every major ride that we tried riding standby to be at least double if not triple or quadruple the times estimated in the TPs. I was forced to drop 5 or more activities each day and reorganize the order of other activities to at least salvage 75% of what we planned to do. The others were happy because they did not know what they missed being 1st timers, but I was disappointed with the large variance between the plans and reality. The touring plans for my last trip in June 2014 worked great and we ran ahead of plan most of the time. Not so this trip. Crowd levels were close to predictions most days, but the plans estimated wait times were not even close to reality most of the time. We did make most of our FPs OK, but only by skipping activities or moving them to later in the day where we skipped something else instead. Pretty disappointed in the touring plan estimates generated for this trip.
This seems to be widely reported by several other Liners as well. I definitely felt this during my trip in November, but felt like my plan was right on point when we went back in late December. Maybe Len or another administrator will right a blog post about this soon to explain what they are seeing on the ground.
I am still here and am experiencing the same. Was at AK yesterday with a forecasted crowd level of 2. Now i see it turned out to be a 7 in actuality. Noticed a lot of what seemed like a lot of Brazilians. Maybe that is part of the cause or not. Not sure how it could be that far off. Every day we have been here has been much much more crowded than I expected.
We have been at WDW since Sunday 1/28 and are experiencing the same. We picked this week due to low crowd forecasts and wait times are way off. Also used Touring Plans in 2010 and 2013 and rarely waited more than 30 minutes, even in the summer of 2010. For example, Mine Train was listed as our third attraction in this plan and we skipped it. Our plan had a 33 minute wait and the shortest wait we ever saw on the app or in person was 80-90 minutes. On our second MK day, we were at RD and went straight to Mine Train. We still waited 40 minutes.
I optimized just before we left and keep looking at crowd calendar and historical crowds. We are going to AK today and it has always been listed as a 2 for months. However, the entire month of January is 6 and above. I would have expected that crowds would have been updated.
Maybe @len or one of the Stats guys can chime in here on what they are seeing from a data standpoint. The one thing I can say is that if you have a plan that is going significantly off-track then you should re-optimize, as the engine takes into account the current park conditions. If you do this be sure to make the attractions you have completed as “done”, with the most recent attraction marked last so that the optimizer knows where you are.
On a plane and will respond in detail on Thursday.
Short answer: We think Disney is making near-continuous updates to ride capacity and staffing. This renders paper touring plans obsolete. We will start recommending that everyone use the app for in-park updates.
Can’t heart that, but thanks for the advice!
interesting - I for one am looking forward to the detailed answer. If WDW is indeed making continuous updates then that would really level out the wait time experience so that regardless of the number of people in the park the CL would appear to be the same, except for when the parks are near/at capacity. In other words, gone are the days of CLs 1-10, replaced with days of CLs 7-10.
Interesting about the paper plans can’t wait to hear more!
It kind of takes away the fun of trying to ‘beat the system’, or at least to best the non-planners. I have a bad feeling we are going to run into this issue next week, and I only hope it is another short-lived Disney experiment. We like this time of year because of the short wait times and more easy-going feeling… if it’s a crowded, stressful mess we will probably start spacing our trips out a bit more.
Either way, it will be about 65 degrees warmer than at home, so we will make the best of it!
Some additional observations would be of interest:
How did Disney’s posted Standby wait times compare to your experienced wait times in the Standby queues?
Did you experience any variations in the projected wait times in the Fastpass+ queues?
Regardless of what WDW is doing, you will always beat the non-planners, even if your plan is not going as well as you would have hoped.
Disney’s posted wait times during our 5 day stay were usually pretty accurate or slightly less than posted. We did not experience any wait times that were far longer than what was posted. However these times were far longer than what our Touring Plans had predicted. The wait times actually experienced for our Fastpasses were generally pretty close to what the Touring Plans estimated with two exceptions. Our wait time with a Fastpass for Flight of Passage was about 35 minutes rather than the 48 minutes our touring plan estimated. The wait time for our Tower of Terror Fastpass was far longer (35 minutes) than our touring plan estimated but this was due to mechanical malfunction. The ride was operating at reduced capacity and only people with Fastpasses were allowed to get in line.
For us it was a mixed bag. We were there from the 25th - 30th. One time the posted wait time for the Rock and Roll Coaster was 110 minutes, but we only waited 30-35. We had a similar experience with Test Track. However, there were plenty of times where the Disney posted wait was pretty much spot on. I don’t think we ever waited longer than the Disney posted time.
Does WDW have a crowd limit? (park capacity) I fell anything over 75 min wait is way to long, IMO. We are going during spring break, unfortunately no other time for us to go.
Does optimizing my plan in the park make use of reported wait times?
Same thing happened to me back in Nov ‘14. TP times were all much less than posted, and actuals were always within 5 min of posted. It was especially bad in MK. I lost a lot of faith in TP as a planning tool but have been waiting to try again on my next trip; doesn’t sound like it will be any better…
It sounds like things are good with TP most of the time - then Disney changes things, so TP has to readjust…
Does this mean that eventhough the CL level for a park may remain about the same, Disney is having less staff and therefore lower ride capacity during less crowded times that then results in wait times being longer? Or are crowds also just way larger than expected? I am trying to plan a trip for most likely early December. I chose this time due to low CL.
Yes, it does. We’re in the process of writing this at the top of every plan.