Sunday January 24th
Predicted Crowd Level: 5.
Actual Crowd Level: 6.
Weather: High of 55 and low of 36. Unseasonably cold. No precipitation.
Well there’s something you don’t see every day. About six hours of downtime at Everest means more than 6,000 people are walking around with an “anytime FastPass+” to any other FP+ enabled attraction at the Park. You may remember that I have a list of FastPass+ replacements should yours be canceled. I think before that list was published that just about everybody assumed that the replacements offered were based on availability and could vary from day to day. At the other Parks, you get specific replacements based on the priority/capacity of your original selection.
So, for example, let’s say you have a FP+ for one of these attractions: Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage, Disney Jr. Live on Stage, or Voyage of the Little Mermaid. And for whatever reason, your FastPass+ is canceled. You can then use your FP+ at any of the “Camera Collection” attractions as listed at any time later in the day:
- Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage
- Disney Jr. Live on Stage
- Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
- Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show
- Muppet Vision 3D
- Star Tours
- Voyage of the Little Mermaid
With the exception of Star Tours, which has an otherwise monster hourly capacity, you don’t get any of the major attractions here – no Toy Story, Tower of Terror, or Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. Furthermore, the only way to get Toy Story Mania as a replacement is if your Toy Story Mania FP+ is canceled. If your Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster or Tower of Terror FastPass+ is canceled, Toy Story Mania will not be offered as a replacement. It’s a similar story at Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom. Mine Train is only a replacement for itself. Soarin’ and Test Track are never replacements for each other. So if you have a Test Track FP+ and the ride goes down and your FP+ is canceled, you would never see Soarin’ offered as a replacement. When Disney is already pushing 70% of Soarin’s capacity to FastPass+, the ride could not possibly cope with 70% of Test Track’s capacity unexpectedly arriving with FastPass+ because the ride is down. It would be chaos.
Anyway, I mention all of this because Everest distributes the second most FastPass+ of any attraction at Animal Kingdom and every attraction is a replacement for every other attraction over there. So you’ve got thousands and thousands of people that now have an “anytime FastPass+” for any other attraction at any time. And as more people than expected arrive with FastPass+ at the other rides, standby waits and actual waits with FastPass+ both suffer. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a 120+ minute wait for Everest before. I’d have to go over all of the 2015 numbers, but I don’t remember an instance with that much downtime.
Wait times at Epcot are much more representative of what you’d expect from an average overall crowd level and positive recommendation. As you are probably aware, the “crowd calendar” number is based on attendance, not wait times. Otherwise, it would be called a “wait times calendar.” I do publish expected wait times by crowd level, but actual waits don’t always line up with the number of people in the Park. Animal Kingdom is a good example of that. It would be foolish to mark it down as a “10” because six hours of downtime at Everest caused waits everywhere else to balloon. With Everest up all day, Animal Kingdom’s overall average wait would be closer to 16 minutes and Everest likely wouldn’t hit anything over 35 or 40 minutes all day. Epcot’s waits here are what you would expect from a “4” day compared to 2015.
We’re not seeing a whole lot of variety in Studios wait times. As I mentioned in the post covering yesterday, wait times are somewhat irrelevant here. 30 minutes at Star Tours…40 minutes at Star Tours…70 minutes at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster…90 minutes at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster… It’s much more important to get there early and execute an efficient touring plan. You can do that here with the morning Extra Magic Hour if you really want to wake up an hour earlier to get there by 7:15am, but waits do take off just as fast as they would with a 9am open and then they’re longer for the rest of the day.
Downtime seems to plague a few attractions at Magic Kingdom as well. Wait times are about what you would otherwise expect from what turned out to be a slightly above average day at Magic Kingdom in terms of both attendance and wait times. If you read the crowd calendar entry for this particular day, you’d see:
Magic Kingdom is recommended though most people will want to wait until Tuesday to visit if they can. Today will see above average crowds with the average overall crowd level, in addition to an increased number of locals able to visit on the weekend. Saturday is a more common arrival day than it once was and many casual vacationers prefer to start their trip at the Most Magical Place on Earth and the most popular theme park on the planet. The morning Extra Magic Hour will help lure away some Disney resort guests, but that won’t have a major impact on wait times. You can still do very well with an arrival prior to Park opening and an efficient touring plan, but the afternoon will see moderate crowds that will only get heavier as it gets later in the day.
You might argue that what we were expecting is exactly what happened. With Disney moving the morning Extra Magic Hour to Fridays this year, you’ve potentially got four non-recommended days in a row. Friday has the morning Extra Magic Hour complication and an increased number of resort guests, but the overall crowd level is typically lower than the weekend. Saturday typically sees the first or second highest attendance of the week, but the operating hours are usually the longest. Sunday is usually a good blend of longer hours and slightly lower attendance. Mondays typically see similar attendance as the weekend, but a lower overall crowd level. That’s typically why Sunday comes with a mild recommendation with the note that holding off for a recommended weekday is best.
Monday and Tuesday should see relatively light crowds. As I write this on Wednesday morning, the Parks are a washout with extremely low waits similar to a couple Fridays ago during the tornado warning.