I have never used LINE. Are the listed wait times reliable?? I was playing around with it and noticed a few big discrepancies between the posted time and expected time… For example, Space Mountain had posted time 205 minute and expected time 140… 7DMT had posted time 105 min and expected time 64 min… Why is that??
Aside from just general margin for error due to larger or smaller than expected crowds or unusual crowd flow within the park, certain unpredictable things (like a ride being temporarily closed due to a mechanical issue or so the crew can add or remove ride units or clean up a guest illness, weather issues, an unusually large number of special access riders, and a large number of people using extended FastPasses from rides that weren’t open during their original FastPass times, among other things) can cause a line to be longer than expected at any given time. The app can’t know about these things and even if it did they’re all things that nobody can predict the duration of, so it won’t be able to factor them in.
I may not always follow my touring plans, but I do rely on the expected wait time. Over the years with very few exceptions I have found the expected time to be more reliable than the posted time.
I always go with the TP expected wait time. It is generally accepted that the WDW posted wait times are overstated for two reasons:
It makes guests feel better when it takes less time to wait for an attraction than the posted time
WDW uses posted wait times to steer guests away from high-demand attractions
I misunderstood the question the first time through… I thought OP was asking why actual waits were longer than the Lines expected waits.
@brklinck, I’d be surprised if either of those were actually policy. When I worked at a different amusement park it was a punishable offense to knowingly overstate the wait time by more than 15 minutes over what we actually expected a wait to be, and when you looked at pure numbers higher wait times never really affected the lines of popular attractions that much anyway. A handful of people might see that something else has a shorter wait and go there instead, but most people aren’t going to decide that they’d rather do Mad Tea Party instead of waiting 75 minutes for Space Mountain… they’ll do both if time permits but if they only have 80 minutes then they’re going for Space Mountain for sure, plus most people have a “Well, it might get shorter later on, but we’re here now and I don’t want to walk all the way back” mentality, especially for rides that don’t have a lot of other things to do in the immediate vicinity.
Also, it may make some guests feel better when the wait is lower, but there are some who will get upset if it’s way off in either direction because A. they think it’s some conspiracy to get them to not ride the ride (this is way more common than you’d think… people think that the park has some sort of incentive to keep them from riding, usually it’s that they would have to come back another day) and/or B. they have a plan for the day and wildly inaccurate wait predictions mess all of that up (which I think we can all commiserate with!), and/or B. they split up into two or more groups to do different attractions and are now wildly out of sync with the other group(s).
In reality, while most people are fine with a shorter wait, many people get REALLY angry if the wait is longer than predicted so you usually want to overstate it by 10-15 minutes or so. Add that on to the fact that realtime predictions are pretty difficult to do on the fly (which is how they’re usually done) and it’s really not unreasonable for the posted time to be off by 30 minutes. There are two usual ways to determine posted times:
- You look at how much of the queue is filled, and how many ride units are operating and use that as rough estimate… each ride’s queue is different and it takes some skill, so the quality of that estimate is going to vary depending on the ability and experience of the cast member making the estimation.
- You use a queue timer (those little cards they give to random people at the start of the queue, and collect when they reach the ride) to see how long a specific person has waited at a given time. This is more exact than the first method, but if the timer entered the line at 1:17 and reached the front at 2:16 that means the prediction is only really accurate for how long the line was an hour ago and a lot can change in that amount of time.
I always keep in mind that the posted wait time is almost always (except at opening) based on the time someone just waited - not really the time it is expected when you enter the line. Disney asks guests to carry those red lanyards that tells them how long you waited. TP projects how long your wait will be if you enter right then.
Well, reading through your post I think that you actually agreed with my first point that wait times are overstated in order to keep guests happier, as you said:
Regarding my second point, that wait times are used as a method of crowd control, I have no first-hand information about this, but I have seen this mentioned by a number of reliable sources. However, this does not mean that it is not just an urban myth that continues to live on thanks to the Internet.
In the final hour the park is open, you will see the wait times go way higher than the line justifies as they seem to want to discourage folks getting in line who wouldn’t get to ride until the park is actually closed. I’d guess I often see wait times double actual in that last hour, although that’s very anecdotal. Wouldn’t be surprised if Touring Plans has real data on some of that…