Sunday January 17th
Predicted Crowd Level: 8.
Actual Crowd Level: 7.
Weather: Clear. High of 70. No precipitation.
Here over Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend we have what is potentially a surprisingly high crowd level – an “8” is higher than all of spring break in March/April outside of the two Easter weeks and higher than just about any weekday during the very busy summer months, save for a few days after the Independence Day holiday on July 4th. With that in mind, these are high wait times for a Park deemed “most recommended,” but you may also notice that all of the average waits are shorter than the non-recommended Saturday just a day before and the overall average is 19.2% lower. As always, your plan of attack is always more important than the day you decide to visit or the real or perceived crowd levels. You have plenty of time to execute the recommended touring plan in the morning. It takes a full two two hours for any attraction to see waits over 10 minutes long. You could ride Safaris, Everest three times, meet Mickey and Minnie, and ride DINOSAUR, Primeval Whirl, and TriceraTop Spin in that time before moving over to the least crowded shows of the day at Lion King, Nemo, or Flights of Wonder. But the afternoon is no joke with a crowd level this high and that’s really what makes the difference between a “1” and an “8” – what you can expect to reasonably do come noon. Even with waits that high, there’s still a ton you can accomplish with FastPass+ and at the various walking treks, shows, characters, playgrounds, Wilderness Explorers, Rafiki’s Planet Watch, etc.
It’s hard to overemphasize how much an extra hour in the morning helps those able to arrive that early. It’s basically a free extra hour of nonexistent to short waits. It also gives those that arrive a little later a reprieve as people like you and me are already on our way elsewhere by 9:15am, which gives everyone that arrives at 9:30am a shorter wait at Test Track because we’re in line at Mission: SPACE, Character Spot, Living with the Land, etc. On a normal 9am open, everyone that arrives at 9:30am ends up waiting longer because everybody that arrived before 9am is still waiting for or enjoying the ride. Epcot deserved its “Recommended” designation, though waits are going to hit 90 minutes in the afternoon. There’s nothing any of us can do about that unless you can crash the commodities market or are sitting on 17 tons of gold that you’re ready to release at a 90% discount to current prices.
The unusually long hours at Studios help spread the crowds out over its few attractions better as well. A lot of Magic Kingdom’s unusually high wait times last fall probably could have been fixed by moving the open to 8am, like we saw daily three years ago. While not a lot of people are there that early, it helps traffic flow immensely in the morning, in turn keeping wait times lower into the late morning. Otherwise, the Studios recovers well from the day before when four of its five rides were down for 3+ hours each in the morning due to a cooling malfunction.
Magic Kingdom was the only Park not opening at 8am. Go figure. The 12am close does still help and if you compare it to the non-recommended day yesterday, you’ll find again that the recommended day has average waits that are shorter virtually across the board and an overall average wait that’s 24% shorter than just one day prior and that even includes the shortest waits of the day from 8am-9am on the non-recommended day. Overall, nothing really jumps out other than the relatively short average and peak waits, other than the Anna/Elsa wait times. You almost never see actual downtime there and it looks like it’s operating at a reduced capacity intermittently throughout the day. You may remember my comments over the last few days saying that their waits are actually down substantially in the last year compared to the year before. That’s obviously not going to be the case if you’re operating at 0% or 50% capacity. Well, if you’re operating at 0% capacity I guess you could say the wait time is always zero minutes. Problem fixed, Hollywood Studios!
We’ll move on to Martin Luther King Jr. Day next.