Some good news as wait times have dropped dramatically this week. We’ll take a look at Wednesday of last week compared to Wednesday of this week to illustrate that point, in addition to taking a look at the Wednesday after Easter Sunday and Christmas Day.
In what will be a reoccurring theme throughout, April 6th’s numbers are batty. As I’ve mentioned before, operating at reduced capacities makes sense when you don’t need it. But if only operating one of the two loading docks at Safaris in the morning causes waits to balloon to 1.5 hours by 10am, you might rethink what you’re doing. Primeval Whirl would be 20 minutes instead of 40 or 50 if they were operating both sides there. TriceraTop Spin would load twice as fast with the usual two cast members checking seatbelts instead of just one. The list goes on into eternity.
Christmas Day’s overall average wait was 21 minutes or almost half of this past Wednesday’s. Animal Kingdom on Christmas is not the best example of overwhelming crowds because people don’t typically choose it over Magic Kingdom or Epcot, but it does emphasize how much worse this past week was.
If this is not your first visit to this website (and if it is, I apologize), you have probably seen me ranting (does anybody else notice a theme here) about Disney’s refusal to extend hours around Easter, a time of year that is overwhelmingly crowded. Part of what made Christmas Day manageable was the extended hours. 8am – 8pm is about as long as the Park’s hours get, at least until Rivers of Light stops smashing into each other. But the 9am-7pm day over Easter Week is an example of Disney knowing exactly what’s going to happen and be unwilling to spend the money to do anything about it. By 10:30am, you’d wait 210 minutes or 2.5 hours to ride Everest and Safaris. At 2:30pm, it’s 140 minutes for DINOSAUR and Primeval Whirl. More people + reduced attraction capacity + fewer operating hours = ???????.
Just one week after the disaster that was April 6th, overall waits at Animal Kingdom dropped by more than half. You still have a 60-minute wait at Safaris that should be 20 minutes, but posted waits at Primeval Whirl, DINOSAUR, TriceraTop Spin, etc. are almost never over their minimums. This is an example of when operating at reduced capacity mostly works given fewer people in the Park.
Proof perhaps that people still go to Epcot…sometimes. I can’t remember the last time I saw a 60-minute wait for Living with the Land and Test Track rarely sees triple digits these days. This is closer to what I was expecting with Soarin’ closed before it became so evident that many were forgoing a second day at a Park that hasn’t added a true new headlining attraction in the past decade.
On Christmas Day, the overall average wait is the exact same as the 6th at 31 minutes if you include Soarin’. Eliminate Soarin’s high wait from the mix and the average drops to 27 minutes, or lower than the 6th. That’s not an apple-to-apples comparison of course, but I think it’s still telling.
“It can always be worse” as made evident by Easter week. Imagine what this would look like with attraction downtime.
And again, what a difference a couple of weeks makes. It’s worth noting that there was heavy rain in the area beginning around 7pm on the 13th, which sent most people towards the exits, in addition to closing outdoor attractions. But it really does not get significantly better than this at Epcot.
You might assume that with so much at the Studios closing that attendance would be stagnant-at-best, but it’s actually up thanks to heavy advertising on the Park’s Star Wars “attractions.” Literally 15 minutes after the Park opens, the average posted wait is already 39 minutes and by 10:15am, it’s over an hour before peaking at 76 minutes at 1:15pm. No matter how good your touring plan is, there is not a lot to do at the Studios that doesn’t arrive with a long wait attached. With virtually no 4th FastyPass+ availability by 1pm most days, it’s not pretty.
The overall average on Christmas Day was 54 minutes, which is just one minute shorter than April 6th. But you can get a good idea about how beneficial those 8am openings are. Instead of a 57-minute average wait after just an hour of operation on the 6th, you’ve got 25 minutes. It takes 5.5 hours for the average wait to hit more than 50 minutes versus just 45 minutes on the 6th. But such is life when capacity is reduced so much.
We’re firmly in “oh !@#$” territory here on the Wednesday after Easter, I think. And further proof of how much 8am opens over Easter would have helped.
One wonders when the last time any of the Studios’ executives actually ventured out into their theme park to experience it as the average guest. Spoiler: never. It would be enlightening to listen to Phil Holmes discuss MyMagic+ while waiting in a 155-minute line for Toy Story Mania though.
This is about as “good” as things get at the Studios. It’s sort of strange to see Star Tours at 60 minutes and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at 30 minutes, but such is life when you operate two simulators for the first 90 minutes of operation. But seeing Tower of Terror at 10 minutes in the middle of the afternoon is almost unheard of.
Apparently I am all about those red bars when it comes to Magic Kingdom. This is one example where Christmas Day is markedly “worse” than the first week of April, though the 8am open and 12am close do help.
If you rewound a year, Magic Kingdom would have opened at 7am every day for the weeks before and after Easter. With the 9am open this year, the average wait is already 30 minutes by 9:30am and 57 minutes by noon. Some number of people were saying that “Easter must not be that bad this year” with the lack of extended hours and reductions in entertainment, but I think these numbers speak for themselves. A 51-minute overall wait is ridiculous. Imagine being in line for Tomorrowland Speedway for 100 minutes. What is someone that waits 195 minutes for Space Mountain going to say about their trip?
Again, the overall average wait is almost half of the week prior.
This weekend should see an uptick in crowds for the Star Wars races and the next two weeks should see slightly heavier crowds than this current week, though it shouldn’t be anything like the first week in April. May is largely average crowds until Memorial Day Weekend when we face another busy summer. Luckily, we should see significantly fewer South American guests, which should make for a better June and July than the last couple of years.