Before yesterday, crowds had been below expected levels over the last week or so. We were expecting crowds in the “9” range, which indicates the highest possible crowd level without risk of the Magic Kingdom closing. Indeed, Disney was expecting over 60,000 people at the Magic Kingdom on several days last week, which puts us squarely in the upper echelons of overall crowd levels if you consider the well-above-average numbers at the other Parks too. While crowds were decently large, wait times were much shorter than you would find on a day with true level 9 crowds. Thanks to increased staffing, additional shows, more characters, and extended operating hours, we saw waits that were more reminiscent of crowds in the “5 or 6” range. This week, we’re seeing crowds that are closer to what was predicted.
One thing to note is that wait times don’t necessarily tell the whole story as far as “overall crowds” are concerned. Wait times depend on a lot of factors. The most important being number of people in the Park, but we also need to consider staffing, capacity at variable-capacity attractions, and hours of operation, among other things. Special events also need to be taken into consideration, though that isn’t an issue in March and April. We can actually see higher wait times at Magic Kingdom when 45,000 people enter the Park when it’s open from 9am to 8pm than we see from 55,000 people entering the Park over the course of a 9am to 12am day, especially if Disney is only expecting 35,000 people on the 9am to 8pm day and 65,000 on the 9am to 11pm day.
Let’s have a look at what we’re dealing with today. I’ll mix things up a little and cover wait times taken between 2:00pm and 2:15pm. All wait times are taken from what’s posted outside of the attraction.
Animal Kingdom (Worst Park):
Dinosaur: 35 minutes
Expedition Everest: 80 minutes
It’s Tough to be a Bug: 15 minutes
Kali River Rapids: 80 minutes
Kilimanjaro Safaris: 90 minutes
Animal Kingdom was certainly not the place to be today. Waits are 30%-50% higher than they were yesterday or should be tomorrow.
Epcot (Third Recommended Park):
Living with the Land: 15 minutes
Maelstrom: 25 minutes
Mission Space Green Team: 15 minutes
Mission Space Orange Team: 25 minutes
Soarin’: 80 minutes
Spaceship Earth:5 minutes
Test Track: 70 minutes
Epcot comes recommended, though the daily analysis notes that tomorrow would be better. Wait times at 2pm yesterday (when Epcot was expressly not recommended) were much higher at all attractions, including 110 minutes at Soarin’ and 100 minutes at Test Track.
Hollywood Studios (Second Recommended Park)
Backlot Tour: 20 minutes
Great Movie Ride: 15 minutes
Rock N Roller Coaster: 50 minutes
Tower of Terror: 35 minutes
Toy Story Mania: 70 minutes
A pretty decent day at Hollywood Studios today. Toy Story Mania wait times hit 130 minutes yesterday and Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster hit triple digits at its peak as well. We have wait times that are about 50% lower today at all attractions. The other benefit is that waits will begin to decrease after 5pm, unlike a Fantasmic or evening Extra Magic Hours night when crowds stay heavy throughout the afternoon and evening due to people sticking around for the evening entertainment.
Magic Kingdom (Most Recommended):
Big Thunder Mountain: 50 minutes
Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin: 30 minutes
Haunted Mansion: 30 minutes
It’s A Small World: 20 minutes
Peter Pan’s Flight: 45 minutes
Pirates of the Caribbean: 30 minutes
Space Mountain: 50 minutes
Splash Mountain: 50 minutes
Winnie the Pooh: 60 minutes
Crowds at Magic Kingdom are somewhat off their normal trajectory because of Monday’s rain storm. Disney had well over an inch of rain on Monday, which keeps a lot of people away from the Magic Kingdom. We actually saw significantly heavier crowds on Tuesday than we would have had otherwise. If you can put up with heavy rain, Magic Kingdom is almost always the Park you want to head to when heavy precipitation is predicted, at least as far as low crowds and short waits are concerned. If it’s raining heavily for one or more days, you can expect Magic Kingdom to be busier once it clears up and the sun comes back out. The rain came back around 3pm this afternoon and is expected to stay around until 8pm or so. Waits after 4pm actually went down at predominantly outdoor attractions and up at indoor attractions. That’s one of the reasons why attractions with covered queues have higher waits than they normally would today, especially at Winnie the Pooh and Pirates of the Caribbean.
Overall, we can expect crowds to be as predicted moving forward. We should see lower crowds next week after Florida area schools return to class.