I think we’ll start taking a daily look at wait times across the four major theme parks, which should offer insight into what wait times currently look like and what to expect in the future. If there’s little or no interest then I may change these updates to weekly looks. I make these charts every day anyway, but if nobody cares then there probably isn’t much use in taking the time to resize the charts for the Internet and add the same commentary every day.
Thursday January 14th
Predicted Crowd Level: 3.
Actual Crowd Level: 2 as compared to 2015.
Weather: High of 70 degrees and overcast. No precipitation.
According to the crowd calendar, “Animal Kingdom is not explicitly recommended, though it isn’t the worst day of the week to visit.” With the relatively low overall crowd level, touring the Park would still be more than doable, but we can do better than 50 minutes at DINOSAUR and 40 minutes at Everest, in addition to It’s Tough To Be A Bug posting occasional 10-minute waits – which is still obviously short, but it’s indicative of shows that are filling to capacity. Safaris fares very well though with an average wait well below 2015’s overall average, which was 32 minutes.
Epcot is extremely reasonable even with the extra magic hour attached in the morning. Lower crowds here is what’s really pulling the overall crowd level down – you get so many more people visiting during the various Festivals and around the holidays compared to January. Add Soarin’s extended closure and there’s one less reason for people to spend a second day here. It’s been about ten days since Soarin’ closed and Mission: SPACE wait times have remained very reasonable with the occasional and somewhat random spike. Fortunately, we don’t see the wait time jettisoning to 85+ minutes before immediately going back down to 15 today. Living with the Land wait times are also down considerably as fewer people bother with the climb up to the Land Pavilion with Soarin’ closed.
Hollywood Studios was recommended and things are in line with what you’d expect from a “crowd level 3” day. Looking over the wait times from the Hollywood Studios Theme Park Touring page, the expected average for a 3-4 day is 39 minutes at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and today’s actual average is 44 minutes, boosted up a bit by the afternoon downtime. Great Movie Ride’s expected average is 17 minutes and the actual average is 17 minutes. Tower of Terror’s expected average is 33 and the actual is 27 – wait times there depend almost entirely on whether or not it’s running at full capacity. Toy Story Mania’s 2+ hours of downtime coupled with the early closure for the Star Wars fireworks hurts a lot. When a ride like that goes down for so long, you’ve got a couple thousand people with an “anytime FP+” that now have to return in a shorter window at a ride that doesn’t even move through 1,000 people in an hour.
Magic Kingdom was the most recommended Park. What I’ve done here in the last column is take the average wait times from the “Low Crowd” chart in the Magic Kingdom Theme Park Touring section to see how well they hold up on what should be a “low crowd day.” As you can see, they’re pretty close with the expected overall average being 25 minutes and the actual overall average being 25 minutes. Individually, most attractions are within 2 or 3 minutes, but with attraction downtime, rides operating at limited capacity, and inaccurate posted waits, there are occasionally some bigger hiccups.
Anna and Elsa wait times continue trending lower. Waiting 45 minutes doesn’t seem so bad compared to the 3+ hours it would have taken a couple of years ago. Ariel waits on the other hand are longer than you’d expect, probably due to operating at half its possible capacity intermittently. Some downtime at Space Mountain caused higher waits over there, though Space Mountain waits have been conspicuously long recently.
Otherwise, this is as good as it’s probably going to get at Magic Kingdom unless the Dow goes down another 8,000 points.
The Weekend: Today (Friday) saw a morning tornado warning amidst heavy wind and rain causing waits to be incredibly short in the late morning and afternoons. Estimates for Saturday and Sunday are higher than most of the summer. We’ll see if that pans out. Crowds should return to low levels by the 19th.