One of the potentially neater things this website does is collect wait times data from every Disney World theme park ride all day, every day, in 5 minute increments. Best-friend-of-the-site Steve Milz has been helping me compile the data into charts and graphs to better visualize just what we’re talking about. There were a few questions in the last post on timing asking what you could reasonably expect to do at _____ time of day so I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the waits over the course of that entire day instead of anecdotal pictures of a few wait time signs.
Open up this PDF file and follow along. You’ll probably need to increase the size to 200%.
At Animal Kingdom, you’ll notice that the trends follow what the website is constantly harping on. DinoLand waits don’t materialize until after 11am, which is why we always start in Africa or Asia with Safaris or Expedition Everest. With Animal Kingdom’s highly recommended status, we don’t even see a DinoLand wait longer than 10 minutes until 11:45am. Everest in particular enjoys such a healthy capacity that you can conceivably ride a second or even third time before waits hit 15 minutes. With the highs now in the upper-80s, Kali River Rapids is going to have the longest waits in the Park, all the way up to 90 minutes at one point, which is three times Safaris and nearly double Everest at that time.
We prioritize FastPass+ based on how much time it’s going to save us in the late morning and afternoon when FP+ is most beneficial. Unfortunately, wait time data for most character meet and greets isn’t recorded, but the Mickey FP+ would save 40 to 50 minutes in a boring line in the afternoon. Safaris waits typically build faster and peak higher, which is why it gets the nod over Everest. We do see longer afternoon waits at Everest because the attraction was down for about an hour and a half in the afternoon.
You can also see the dramatic drop off in waits after the 3:45pm Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade, to the point where Everest, Kali River Rapids, and Safaris are just 10 minutes at the end of the day, again allowing easy re-rides.
Epcot is more of a rush to Soarin’ or Test Track as waits develop much quicker at both attractions. It’s also why the website does not recommend trying to ride both in the standby line in the morning as 40+ minute waits will develop at Soarin’ by the time you arrive if you head to Test Track first and vice versa. It’s also more likely Test Track will be operating in the morning. The “-” indicates the ride was down for over an hour later in the morning. The Mission: SPACE waits are atypical or incorrect – we usually see waits in the 20 to 30 minute range rather than 50 or 60. You’ll see that they come down substantially later in the day. The bump could be due to simulator downtime due to an “accident” of some kind.
Casualties of FP+ are apparent in Journey into Imagination, Spaceship Earth, and The Seas with Nemo in particular. And it’s only going to get worse with people being able to book additional FP+ experiences at these kinds of secondary attractions that have typically been “walk ons” most of the day. There’s always Captain EO, at least. You’ll see why we like to head up to World Showcase as close to 11am as possible when Maelstrom waits remain short.
Waits in Future World decline after 5pm, which is why you’ll see me recommending a return around that time. It also makes the afternoon break from 1pm-5pm advantageous as you’ll return to shorter waits than the afternoon. Soarin’ and Test Track don’t see declines until the very end of the night, which is why we like to get in line for one about five minutes before close if you’re willing to skip IllumiNations.
Hollywood Studios was hosting a morning Extra Magic Hour, which basically pushes the normal rope drop crowds and wait times an hour earlier. It’s also undesirable for anyone that doesn’t arrive in time or isn’t eligible to participate as you can see waits at the priority attractions are already 30+ minutes by regular open at 9am.
Looking over the Hollywood Studios Cheat Sheet, you can see why we do the things that we do based on how waits build at the various attractions. beginning with Toy Story and then moving to Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster before Tower of Terror. We use a FastPass+ at Great Movie Ride at 11am because waits there are already 30 minutes, while still 10 or 20 at Star Tours. With the ability to add a fourth (and then 5th etc) FP+ after using the first three, it may be wise to plan to use FP+ at Star Tours later in the afternoon, but a standby ride around 11:30am is just fine.
These wait times should look familiar based on what we saw walking around Magic Kingdom on the day of.
Looking over the Cheat Sheet map, you can see why it’s a small world, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Haunted Mansion have moved closer to “yellow” than “green” with the recommendation that they should be visited in the first or last two hours of operation. 11am is right when you begin to experience those actual 20-minute waits, which is too long.
Waits also fall off in the evening. In fact, the Crowd Calendar advice for this very day recommended, “See the 11pm Parade because it will be much less crowded than the first due to all the families that leave immediately after Wishes. If you’re not interested in the entertainment, visit Tomorrowland after 9pm and Fantasyland after 10pm to find much shorter waits than the afternoon.” Peter Pan’s Flight comes down from 60 to 70 minute peak waits all the way down to 10 or 15 minutes late at night. Buzz is also usually a walk-on at the end of the day, as are most other Fantasyland attractions. Space Mountain waits remain long, though actual waits are often much shorter.
Looking over the Ideal Morning 1 Plan, you’ll see that we don’t mess around with Space Mountain and start our day there as waits are already 40 minutes by 10am.
This is the sort of information that is considered when building the Cheat Sheets and Crowd Calendars, but I think it’s interesting to pull the curtain back from time to time and really see what we’re talking about.