We return to our yearly look at wait times on the busiest day of the year at Walt Disney World.
Because I only know how to do things alphabetically and/or chronologically, we begin on the opposite side of shocking with Animal Kingdom. Historically the least crowded Park on major holidays, we finally have a better idea about what things look like in the Post-Pandora world. The answer seems to be longer wait times than last year even after eliminating the two Pandora rides.
Here’s a look at the chart from last December 31, 2016:
After removing Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey from 2017’s chart, the overall average wait for the other rides is 32 minutes, which is a 45.5% increase over 2016. That seems significant with attractions like Expedition Everest and Kilimanjaro Safaris seeing sizable increases in wait times this year versus 2016. On the other hand, the difference at DINOSAUR is just four minutes.
Still, if you’re looking for the “easiest” time on New Year’s Eve, Animal Kingdom remains it. Here’s a look at wait times on Animal Kingdom’s busiest day of the holiday season, December 28th:
The overall average wait of 78 minutes is 24 minutes longer than December 31st or an increase of 54%. After eliminating the two Pandora rides, the average wait of 49 minutes at the other rides is more than double New Year’s Eve in 2016.
New Year’s Eve at Epcot is unlike anything that we see on any other date over the course of the year. An hour at Gran Fiesta Tour…90 at Figment…80 at Living with the Land…100 at Character Spot…225 at Soarin’…340 at Test Track…75 at Nemo…and that doesn’t even really capture the crowd “feel” or the immense length of some of the lines. Wait times are otherwise comparable to last year – the charts for which you can see in last year’s analysis.
The Studios didn’t even open early, though the 12am close should offer ample opportunity to make it on all four rides. We’re still two years away from considering what the Park will look like on the busiest day of the year after Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens. It’s best not to think about it. Otherwise, things probably aren’t all that nutty though wait times are considerably longer than last year. Star Tours was 49 minutes this year. 29 minutes last year. Tower of Terror was 89 minutes this year. 57 minutes last year. Then Toy Story was 84 minutes this year and 53 minutes last year, though downtime plays a part there. Still, with the shows, meet and greets, and FastPass+, you could do okay at the Studios on New Year’s Eve.
Magic Kingdom underwent a “Phase B” closure as of 11:30am on New Year’s Eve, which basically just keeps guests with 1-day tickets from entering. Considering the wait times and the cost of a peak 1-day Magic Kingdom ticket, that may actually be Disney trying to do those guests who show up with no idea what to expect a solid. It reopened to all guests around 5:30pm.
Space Mountain FastPass line has now collided with the ladies restroom line and no one knows which is which pic.twitter.com/5ctTmwj2tQ
— WDW News Today (@WDWNT) December 31, 2017
Otherwise, this should be the busiest day of the year at Magic Kingdom, though wait times really aren’t all that crazy compared to your average busy day.
Here’s a look at a Saturday in October:
The overall average wait of 45 minutes is “just” 12 minutes shorter than New Year’s Eve or a decrease of only 21%. Granted, Saturdays in October are typically among the busiest days of the year, but this Saturday was also unseasonably hot and the threat of lightning closed outdoor attractions in the evening and certainly sent a considerable amount of people to the exit.
Overall, it wasn’t the craziest New Year’s Eve that we’ve ever seen across Walt Disney World, but this does offer an idea about just how “bad” things can get. The reality is that with so much capacity going to FP+ every single day of the year, that overwhelming crowds don’t necessarily raise wait times that much, because so few people are willing to get in line when the posted wait is 150+ minutes. That’s as true on December 31st as it is on May 28th.
Otherwise, nothing says “Happy New Year” quite like a 3-hour wait to get out of the Epcot parking lot. The shortest wait of the day.