If you are one of the unfortunate people that frequent this website, you have probably seen me going on about the shockingly low attendance over the summer followed by September, a month which saw even lower crowds and wait times. All eyes have been on October, a month which has seen crowds steadily increase over the last couple of years as the northeast sees school breaks for religious/colonial holidays and parts of the southeast host fall breaks. A lot of local Florida schools also have this Friday and Monday off.
For some more background on last month, you might check out September Returns With A Vengeance To Walt Disney World if you missed it.
This was the Magic Kingdom chart used for that update with the overall average wait coming in at 25 minutes.
These are wait times from a September Party date with the 16-minute overall average, which is going to be one of the lowest of the year.
But October is not quite so friendly. Here’s wait times at Magic Kingdom from yesterday, Wednesday October 12th (note that the first four columns are for 8am – 9am in 15-minute increments. I had to manually add them and I don’t really know how to use Excel):
In the illuminating words of the star of The American Adventure, Lance Armstrong, “This is not good.” And if we remove Carousel of Progress and Tomorrowland PeopleMover, which pull the average down and aren’t usually included on these charts because Disney doesn’t push wait times to the app, the overall average rises to 45 minutes, or nearly three times as long as the Party date last month.
And the peak waits are pretty jaw-dropping…
- Astro Orbiter: 70 minutes
- Barnstormer: 75 minutes
- Buzz: 85 minutes
- Dumbo: 90 Minutes
- Enchanted Tales with Belle: 90 minutes
- Haunted Mansion: 80 minutes
- it’s a small world: 50 minutes
- Mad Tea Party: 40 minutes
- Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: 75 minutes
- Mickey’s PhilharMagic: 30 minutes
- Peter Pan’s Flight: 125 minutes
- Pirates of the Caribbean: 80 minutes
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train: 210 minutes
- Space Mountain: 165 minutes
- Splash Mountain: 155 minutes
- Tomorrowland Speedway: 60 minutes
- Under the Sea ~ Mermaid Ride: 80 minutes
- Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress: 5 minutes
This is not good.
But it is not all doom and gloom. Here are wait times from just one day prior with the 8am-7pm regular operating hours with the Halloween Party attached:
The 28-minute average is not great, but the 8am open helps quite a bit with short waits at most attractions until at least 10am. By that time you’ll be wanting to use those FastPass+ experiences and moving to the lowest priority/highest capacity attractions. If you’re wondering what those are, I added the Fall Cheat Sheets in a forum post here: https://www.easywdw.com/forums/showthread.php?34406-Fall-2016-Cheat-Sheet-Touring-Plans. Those PDFs includes things like FastPass+ priority, what to expect from rope drop, where to see shows, how to tour the Parks, etc. The point there is basically to consolidate all of the website’s knowledge into a grab-and-go document where even if you have no idea what you’re doing or why you’re doing it, you can still have an enjoyable time with low waits and little stress.
On the Party day, wait times are still high in places. Shorter hours also means fewer FastPass+ experiences available, which in turn means most time slots are going to “sell out” and the maximum number of FastPass+ returners will take as much capacity away from standby as possible. That’s why something like Space Mountain can still hit 60 minutes with few people physically waiting in standby. But there is no doubt that the Party days continue to see lower overall waits and much lower peak waits, in addition to fewer people in the Park.
It’s the opposite problem at Animal Kingdom, which remains open until 8:30pm this week despite virtually no interest whatsoever in the nighttime enhancements sans Rivers of I’ll Believe It When I See It. By 5pm, the average wait drops to 14 minutes. And it would be 16 minutes at 4:45pm if not for that random 100-minute posted wait at Kali. I was at Animal Kingdom last night myself and with the dropping temperatures, I’m not sure there’s a better place to be than Harambe at 7pm. I think the nighttime safari has been helped by Disney moving the feeding areas closer to the path so more of the smaller animals are more visible too.
Epcot doesn’t fare quite as well, though the capacity increase at Soarin’ is certainly helping things along. But high peak waits still stand out – 35 at Journey into Imagination, 40 at Living with the Land, 70 at Character Spot, 45/135 at Mission: SPACE, 60 at Sommerhus, 80 at Soarin’, 40/105 at Spaceship Earth, 140 at Test Track, 45 at The Seas with Nemo, 30 at Turtle Talk. Disney will occasionally post a wildly long wait time at an attraction for a short time, which is what I think we’re seeing with 105 minutes at Spaceship Earth and 135 at Mission: SPACE. Actual waits would be much closer to 30 minutes. Overall, this is a busy, but manageable day.
The story is the same at Hollywood Studios. One key tip if you’re visiting on a Star Wars Fireworks night and don’t care about seeing the show is how short waits get in the final hour with the show now beginning 30 minutes prior to close. Toy Story “literally” drops to a zero minute wait at the end of the night and actual waits elsewhere should be similar. The hour leading up to that can be rough as Disney cuts capacity at a lot of attractions so waits can actually be longer than afternoon peaks. So you might look at eating between 6pm and 7pm and then taking advantage of the short waits in the final hour as everyone clamors to see Fantasmic and Galactic Spectacular.
Otherwise, this should prove to be the busiest week in October with a bit of a drop next week and then a much bigger drop at the very end of the month, before things pick back up again around Veterans Day in November.