Friday January 15th
Predicted Crowd Level: 7.
Actual Crowd Level: 1 as compared to 2015.
Weather: Nearby tornado warning and heavy rain in the morning.
Ah yes, the joys of Mutha Nature (RIP Disaster!). A tornado warning and heavy rain kept people away from the Parks on what would have otherwise been a busy day. Weather does occasionally have a drastic effect on crowd levels as people typically avoid the Parks, and Magic Kingdom in particular, when the weather is unpleasant. That’s a little less true in the FastPass+ era, where some number of people “feel” locked into their days based on where they have FastPass+ and dining reservations, but you’ll still usually see a bump at Magic Kingdom after a particularly rainy day regardless of what day of the week it is and what the Extra Magic Hours schedule looks like. I’ve offered this type of warning before. Magic Kingdom might see the lowest wait times of the week on most Tuesdays, but if the weather is terrible on Sunday and Monday then you’re going to see a lot more people in the Park come Tuesday.
This should end up being one of the five least crowded days of the year overall. It’s hard to compete against tornado warnings. More than three hours of downtime at Expedition Everest push up wait times there once the weather gets a little better, but everything else is going to be a virtual walk-on all day. As a comparison, as I write this at 2:40pm on Saturday the 16th, DINOSAUR is at 60, Everest is at 65 minutes, Safaris is at 70, Primeval Whirl is at 50, and TriceraTop Spin is at 30. Waits on the 15th would have been similar with better weather.
Average waits shouldn’t be any lower at Ellen, Journey into Imagination, Living with the Land, Character Spot, Spaceship Earth, The Seas with Nemo, or Turtle Talk all year. Even with four hours of downtime, Test Track’s average of 47 minutes is still well below 2015’s overall average wait, which was 62.5 minutes. In 2015, the average wait was below 48 minutes on 59 days. 15 of those days were in September and 11 were in January. Mission: SPACE’s overall average wait last year was 24.9 minutes, so that ride is below average, though waits do rise once the weather cleared up and things are a little different with Soarin’ being down.
Not even tornadoes are enough to keep Toy Story Mania’s peak wait times under 75 minutes. In 2015, Toy Story’s average was under 60 minutes on 49 days. Six of those days were in January. Nine were in September. Ten in February. Zero were between June 1st and August 30th. September is totally just as crowded as the summer though guys /s. Otherwise, we probably won’t see Great Movie Ride’s average much lower than this. It was only under 11 minutes on 24 days last year.
The worse the weather, the better the Magic Kingdom wait times will be. And apparently with no threat of thunder/lightning in the area, none of the outdoor rides had to close either. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train was actually never down, which almost never happens and is somewhat impressive given the winds. The 45-minute average wait may well be the lowest of the year. Last year there was only one day with a lower average between 9am and 7pm – 43.75 minutes on Thursday October 1st. The average overall between 9am and 7pm in 2015 was otherwise 76.5 minutes and the peak was 90 minutes or more on 321 of 365 days last year, or 87.9% of the time. Almost all of those would be Mickey’s Party days. Waits are otherwise some of the lowest we’ll see all year.
Waits currently don’t look all that bad, though Haunted Mansion was down for about a half hour earlier and when it came back up, the posted wait was 145 minutes. You don’t see that every day.