Understanding Crowd Levels, overall v/s in park

Hello Everyone, me again with more questions. I would like to thank you for giving me your time in advance. :slight_smile:

The days we will be at DW will be Sept29-Oct1.

The overall crowd scores are 3, 5, and 6… in order…

What I am curious about is the in park scores. I am assuming these in park scores are relative to the overall crowd scores?

For example… if one of our days hypothetically was an overall crowd score of 7… and the in park score was also a 7,
then that in park score is a more crowded (long waits) day compared to a day with an overall score of 5 with an in park score of 7?

Hope that’s not too confusing.

Just so you know, I have read for hours now about the score system and looked over charts. I have made every attempt to clarify this without pestering about it.

Here is what I am trying (more specifically) to figure out:

Sept 29 overall 3 in Epcot 2
Sept 30 overall 5 in Animal K 4
Oct 1 overall 6 in Magic K 7

Because of MNSSHP and the fact we really want to see wishes and other nighttime MK stuff (we haven’t ever) we are going to MK on the worst of the 3 days… the other two days we are there MK is a 3… BUT it closes early for the party.

In conclusion… should I be terribly concerned about the 6/7 in MK… oddly, my touring plan isn’t giving me unreasonable wait times. The longest waits we have are in the 25 min range for Pirates, Splash, Small World, Jungle Cruise, and Buzz… everything else is around 15, with majority else 10 min or less. This seems reasonable to me… maybe I am just a novice.

Are the overall crowd scores relative to what you should expect in consideration of the in park scores? A 7 park on an overall 10 score is worse than a 7 park on an overall 6??

(sorry, I feel like I am struggling to explain my question clearly)

As a side note… I used all my infinite wisdom with WDW (which is none) and made my own tour plans… so maybe the wait times would be infinitely better if I had just left it to the overlords. I used them first to get a baseline, but then tweaked and moved certain things to order and times that I preferred.

Thank you again for taking the time to read this… and extra thanks if you actually were able to understand my (what I feel is) confusing question and take the extra time out of your life to answer. I appreciate it! genuinely.

Are the times listed in the tour plans fairly accurate?
I have come to the conclusion that, yes, they are.
(at least within a 5-10 min error rate)
I understand they’re estimates, but it will be a rude awakening if I am expecting near 25 min… and find out it is a 60 min on any given line.
My girls have requested that I get them to as many rides as possible. Go figure.

Where to start…

I would put more emphasis on the individual park CLs. I don’t know the actual math of the computer model, but it I believe the overall is sort of an “average” of the individual park CLs.

As for accuracy of predicted wait times, the general concensus is that they are pretty accurate. There can always be anomalies, but they are generally trustworthy.

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There is a post on the actual tp website that explains CL. It is average wait times for a selection of key rides/attractions between the hours of 10 am and 5 pm. Can’t remember how overall cl works but I think it takes into consideration things like cheer comps and races that don’t necessarily affect ride wait times. I remember reading the post think it was by Steve bloom

MK is normally quieter on party days until 4pm when people can get in with their party ticket, so it’s a good choice as long as you’re ok with missing the night time stuff.

I wouldn’t worry too much. Go to the park that makes sense for you each day, and use the crowd estimates as data for adjusting expectations. When you have only a few set day available, then you really just have to go with whatever happens. At least you’ll have some sort of idea of what to expect.

As for your question, the in park numbers are relative to the other in park numbers, but only for that particular park. It’s not a set amount of crowdedness across the board, and the overall number is an average. A 4 day in Magic Kingdom will have shorter waits than an 8 day in Magic Kingdom. A 4 day in Hollywood Studios will have shorter waits than an 8 day at Hollywood Studios. However, an 8 day in Hollywood Studios might feel way less manageable than an 8 day at Magic Kingdom. The scales are different. In this case, it’s because there are only a few attractions in HS. MK has lots of less-popular people-eaters that can fill the time when the headliners are super crowded. Does that make sense?

The practical application is two-fold. First, use the numbers and TPs to get an idea of how long you’ll have to wait for things if crowds are as expected. Sounds like you’ve done that. Second, when planning a trip, it helps to think about one park at a time. For example: “I know I want to only go to AK one day, so I’ll pick the 5 day instead of the 9 day. I know I want to spend 3 half days in MK and I can see that this day will be the most crowded, so I’ll plan things like Tiki Room and watching the parade that day and do headliners on the morning of the lower crowd day.”


I did read this post I believe… and several others.

There is no shortage of info around here.

We will not be going to MK on a party day. We decided we would rather not miss out on WIshes and other nighttime festivities. I realize that Thurs and Fri both being early close party days means Sat will probably be much busier as I would imagine others may have a similar conclusion to us, that the higher crowd levels are worth it for the 11pm closure.

Also, I recently read a post about FP, fake accounts, party tickets and how to trick the system into giving you more than someone who doesn’t know how to game the system would get. Granted, for the cost of party tickets they should just give everyone 3 FP per ticket bought IMO, then everyone gets the same access and whatever… I digress… what I am saying is, reading that other post, I feel a little better about picking the none party day… at least I know the availability for FP, particularly on the more popular rides, might be available for a second go later in the day when we finish our FP. Not sure if the impact would be significant or not, but the double passer people, combined with the people who wrapped up FP earlier in the day, it would seem between 4pm and close… FP might become a little more scarce and while others enjoy double rides at a jump ahead… other family’s without party tickets might find themselves waiting in line longer.

Yes, plus the last FPs are for the 5:30-6:30 slot so there are fewer available.

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Your reply is super helpful! Thank you.

I suppose ultimately, it is what it is… we have 3 days there, those are the crowd levels… we chose MK the day we did for later closing… and so we get a 7. lol
I guess I was just hoping to hear, “nah, it won’t be too bad, no worries”

Which I sort of have… your answer tells me that MK as a 7 with TP estimated wait times, together means it shouldn’t be my nightmare day (wait lines of 60-120mins) I really just wanna get the most out of that we can. That being said, I keep second guessing my moving things around and not leaving it up to the software… BUT, darn it, there’s just things we wanna do at certain times, even if that means in the end our MK TP says we have will only have 40 free mins for the entire day! LOL!! (people better pee fast, and absolutely NOONE poops!)


Not sure I totally understand the rush to work so hard to get those extra FP… years ago a family member invited myself and my girls to MNSSHP (it was AWESOME, BTW… we had a little snafu with another guest at the parade and Disney staff came to the rescue and swept up our whole group with apologies and dropped us right down in the VIP section near the castle!!)
Anyhow… what I remember (granted, we had small children and did not go to the park earlier in the day, nor did we do any big rides… but we did do POTC, and SW, and PP, Mermaid… and several others… there was literally like NO wait time on any rides! we practically walked onto everything.
I guess the rush to get those FP is purely to monopolize those hours where there is a slightly higher CL when the day goers and party goers overlap?

It will be ok! Really! You can only do so many things in any given stretch of time, but you will be able to do those things as efficiently as possible with a touring plan. I hope you have a wonderful trip. Be easy on yourself and take time to smell the flowers too. Enjoy your vacation!

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I went to the first party. I have an AP and I have been on the attractions so many times that I do not worry about FPs. I did not set up my party tickets for extra FPs. I used 2 FPs at EP and then scheduled my 3rd while I was in the Soarin line at 1:30. I was able to get a 5:30 Winnie the Pooh. In 2014 when I went to the party and tried to book an extra FP around 4:00 there was only TeaCups and Magic Carpets available.

this further confirms that for those of us who may be only able to go this one time for who knows how long… we are better off going on a nonparty day… despite party day earlier closures meaning shorter lines overall.

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So as to make myself further crazy… cause a little crazy just isn’t fun enough…

I decided to take a peek at the historical CL numbers going back a handful of years… and oddly… the CL numbers are WAY less then what are being predicted this year?
I wonder what makes this year different?

I even took into account the fact that the day we are in MK is a Saturday… and looked over the nearest Fri/Sat CL numbers from the historics… and still… the CL numbers were LOW… like 3 and under low. Some even 1s… IN MAGIC KINGDOM!!
If I go back enough years so that our dates line up the same… ie, the 29th is a Thurs, and the 1st a Sat… the CL data is still much lower than what is predicted this year. Although, MK not too much… it was a 5 then, predicted to be a 7 this year.

Watch me as I cross my fingers AND toes!!


This blog article from July explains the differences you have discovered:

As you can see in the article, a crowd level of 3 in November last year did not necessarily mean the same as a CK 3 in November this year. But Steve Bloom explains it very well - I really recommend the article. I think it will give you the necessary peace of mind before your trip :slight_smile:


Just read it… and I think I may have read it once before. Not sure if I totally understand the reasons for the changes that may (or may not) have happened to crowd numbers on our days (I never saw what they were before the changes) but I guess I mostly get the gist of a software update to include treading wait time increases.
thanks for the link!

Hi there - we’re going to be there the same week as you and have gone roughly during this time for a couple of years now. I think you will be fine with a 7 day at MK! Obviously a 3 would be more ideal, but I think you are definitely making the correct choice to see the night entertainment! Wishes is one of my favorite things in all of Disney World. This time of year it is tough because of the parties that a lot of people make the same decision as you are making and go on the night that the park is open later.

One thing I would recommend is to make your FP+ selections for as early times as possible and then you can work around additional selections in the middle of the day when crowds get bad. Utilize Rope Drop to get in some short waits as well. A second (more expensive) option would perhaps be to look into Park Hoppers in order to go to another park in the morning and hop over to MK for Wishes, etc. This is what we used to do!

Thank you for your input!! Great to know you all have been this same time of year and have no regrets… in fact, you’re heading back the same time again!

As far as upgrading to parkhopper… totally not in our budget, unfortunately.

Concerning FP… I did my best, but the only FP I could score for 7DMT was a 7:30 slot… so we are just going to have to suck it up I guess. I have my TP mapped out and everyone around here is ridiculously excited. We intend to make the best of it!!