Orlando welcomed and then fought off another morning storm today that temporarily closed both Disney water parks. Blizzard Beach reopened around 1pm, but Typhoon Lagoon is still closed. I was very excited to show off Epcot’s triple digit wait times because I have been lamenting the fact that I’ve been recommending Epcot when afternoon waits at Soarin’ and Test Track are 60+ minutes. Unfortunately with the poor weather, wait times have not hit triple digits. However, I think the relative wait times between Epcot and other Parks will show how much busier Epcot is when it’s not recommended. However, these wait times aren’t necessarily representative of what we would expect on a clear day and wait times are certainly lower across the board than they would be with better weather. The weather can have a significant impact on crowds, wait times, and ultimately which Park people decide to visit when it’s rainy and windy out.
People often ask which Park is best when it’s raining. From a crowd and wait time perspective, the best Park to visit is the Magic Kingdom, hands down. People tend to avoid it in poor weather. As we’ll see below, wait times are incredibly short. Animal Kingdom also tends to be much less crowded when it’s raining because it’s perceived to be more “outdoors” than the other Parks. While that isn’t necessarily true in the grand scheme of things, the vast majority of Disney vacationers will avoid it in the rain. People tend to visit Hollywood Studios and Epcot in the rain because there are more (or at least perceived to be more) opportunities to stay dry. Almost all of the Studios’ attractions are indoors and it’s relatively easy to stay dry while moving in between covered stage shows and attractions. Epcot is probably the most popular Park to visit in the rain because the World Showcase is sort of (one might argue) one big interconnected shopping mall and all of the Future World Pavilions are indoors. While that may be true, there are still a lot of uncovered areas in Epcot. Plus, the fact that people tend to flock to it in poor weather usually makes it busier than the other Parks, regardless of Extra Magic Hours or special events.
I actually prefer and recommend the Magic Kingdom in the rain. The attractions are closer together and most of the queues and attractions are indoors. There are exceptions of course, but think about how many attractions in Fantasyland or Tomorrowland are outdoors. The answer is not very many and the attractions in each land are between 30 seconds and a minute apart, which is much less than most attractions at Epcot or Hollywood Studios. And as you’re probably aware, Magic Kingdom has its fair share of interconnected shops.
Let’s take a look at what we’re dealing with today. All wait times are taken from what’s posted outside of the attraction between 1:00pm and 1:15pm.
Animal Kingdom (Most Recommended):
Dinosaur: 5 minutes
Expedition Everest: 15 minutes
It’s Tough to be a Bug: 5 minutes
Kali River Rapids: 5 minutes
Kilimanjaro Safaris: 15 minutes
Incredibly low wait times considering how many people are at least in the Disney World area this week. Kilimanjaro Safaris was actually more of a walk-on for most of the morning and Expedition Everest wait times have been 20 minutes or less all day.
Epcot (Not Recommended):
Living with the Land: 10 minutes
Maelstrom: 20 minutes
Mission Space Green Team: 25 minutes
Mission Space Orange Team: 30 minutes
Soarin’: 70 minutes
Spaceship Earth:10 minutes
Test Track: 60 minutes
Crowds are heavier due to the morning rain and the morning Extra Magic Hour that lured the majority of Disney resort guests. We can expect even longer wait times this Friday for evening Extra Magic Hours and the promise of better weather. Had it not been for the rain keeping a lot of people away from all theme parks, wait times at Soarin’ and Test Track would have hit 100 minutes in the afternoon.
Hollywood Studios (Recommended for Fantasmic)
Backlot Tour: 15 minutes
Great Movie Ride: 15 minutes
Rock N Roller Coaster: 45 minutes
Tower of Terror: 45 minutes
Toy Story Mania: 80 minutes
According to today’s Crowd Calendar analysis, “Hollywood Studios will be busy today due to this evening’s Fantasmic and all the people who visited Magic Kingdom yesterday and will be looking to ride Toy Story Mania, Tower of Terror, and Rock ‘N Roller Coaster today. The 10pm closing time is also attractive to those who pick which Park they want to visit based on how many hours it’s open. I don’t recommend visiting Hollywood Studios today if you aren’t interested in seeing Fantasmic because the crowds will be much larger than on a day when it isn’t shown.” That’s what we’re seeing. Today would be your best day of the week to see Fantasmic, but it’s busier than days that don’t have Fantasmic or Extra Magic Hours. Expect tomorrow to have shorter wait times and Thursday to be the busiest day of the week.
Magic Kingdom (Second Most Recommended):
Big Thunder Mountain: 20 minutes
Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin: 10 minutes
Haunted Mansion: 15 minutes
It’s A Small World: 10 minutes
Peter Pan’s Flight: 40 minutes
Pirates of the Caribbean: 10 minutes
Space Mountain: 25 minutes
Splash Mountain: 15 minutes
Town Square Mickey Meet and Greet: 15 minutes
Town Square Princess Meet and Greet: 20 minutes
Winnie the Pooh: 20 minutes
Incredibly light crowds at the Magic Kingdom today, due in part to what was originally predicted as well as the morning storm keeping the vast majority of people away. These wait times would put us squarely in what we could expect from a recommended day when the overall crowd level is a “1.” Wet? Certainly. But it only takes a few seconds to walk from the exit to the entrance of any Tomorrowland or Fantasyland attraction.