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Thread: Are Touringplans crowd numbers inflated?

  1. #76
    Senior Member LibraryTink's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by momof2boys View Post
    We just returned on Saturday and noticed high crowd levels at MK, even on the recommended days. Thankfully we did well with our touring plans and did not have long waits for any attraction. HS, Epcot and AK seemed on point in terms of crowd levels.

    This is almost word for word what I was going to post! This new normal makes an intelligent touring plan a must!
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  2. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by snappity View Post
    best guesses made on average wait times using past dates seems about as good as one can get.
    With all the changes to the FP system over the past couple of years, this method used by TP is about the worst method you could use. Add the fact that they disregard the "outliers" such as 7DMT and TSMM and focus only on 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 pm, and their numbers become meaningless. If you read the description of the TP scale, you find that 5 minute differences in some rides can move there guesses from 3's to 8's (whatever that means). A predicted 30 minute wait could mean a 4 or a 7. To top it off, I followed there recaps for several weeks late last year. Their true accuracy (predicting a crowd level and actually being right according to their own scale) was about 45%. According to them they only have to be within 2 whatevers to be right, though. Even then, by their own standard of correctness, they were "right" about 70% of the time. That's 1% above an "F" at my kid's school. TP makes the test questions, makes up the answers, makes up the grading scale, applies a curve, and still can't manage better than a "D". If you think you can use that information to plan a better trip, you are a better person than I.

    Most "crowd-calendar-wrong" threads I've read have a few things in common: 1) the complainer says "they" said it would be "x" and it was "y" to start. 2) If "they" was TP, the complainer is on solid ground with their complaint. TP actually shows you they were wrong on a weekly basis. 3) If "they" was easyWDW, the complainer generally doesn't understand how easyWDW's scale of 1-10 works. You cannot compare a current "5" to a "5" from your last trip. Each day is compared to the 182 days before and after it, not every day over the past 10 years. Additionally, easyWDW's numbers don't tell you which park to go to on which day. There are no numbers for that - there are colors (green and red) that are determined with a human brain using common sense rather than a computer into which irrelevant data is fed. 4) Neither the complainer nor any others who chime in have read the "how to use the crowd calendar" on either site.

    That being said, Josh's calendar, recommended parks and cheatsheets are a system to be used all together for a successful trip. You cannot compare Josh's system to TP's wait times predictions because Josh's system would have you using FP, riding anytime attractions and taking a break during the 7 daylight hours during which TP measures wait times.

    TP tries to predict wait times (and not very well). EasyWDW provides a good strategy to minimize wait times regardless of how crowded Walt Disney World -not specifically MK, AK, HS or EP - is. You will be told which of those parks are best to avoid each day. Past "data" does not and should not play part in that analysis. Whether PotC had a wait time of 15 minutes in Sept 2013 at 3:00 pm is irrelevant to my upcoming trip in Sept 2016. Tell me instead that I shouldn't go to HS next Tuesday because I'll see lower waits on Wednesday and MK would be a better choice for Tuesday. That's information I can use.
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  3. #78
    Senior Member momof2boys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LibraryTink View Post
    This is almost word for word what I was going to post! This new normal makes an intelligent touring plan a must!
    Thank you! And thankfully there are still people out there who don't know about Josh and easywdw (sorry Josh)...they help us stay above the curve! However, I still refer this site to friends/ relatives planning a WDW trip! I honestly don't use any other site for my plans/ crowd levels etc.

  4. #79
    Senior Member TiggerGirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bnoble View Post
    ...which was a big goal of FP+, to better utilize the attraction capacity they had, spreading people out both by time-of-day and by attraction. If Studios is fully booked for FP+ before it even opens, that's mission accomplished from the perspective of park ops.
    isn't one of the goals to keep people out of line and spending money be in it shops, restaurants or carts? and I can see how it's doing that for people with FP+ but it's certainly not doing it for SB folks.
    CR Jan 18-23 2018 YC Jan 23-28

  5. #80
    the jeweled acrobats only perform amazing stunts for him DopeyRunr's Avatar
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  6. #81
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    isn't one of the goals to keep people out of line and spending money be in it shops, restaurants or carts?
    No. That *was* part of the original motivation for FASTPASS, but it did not work---if you look at the financial reports around the time it was deployed, you will see there are no unusual jumps in per-capita spending vs. the pure-play operators. Mostly, people just get in another line.

  7. #82
    who gon stop me? HUH? josh's Avatar
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    TouringPlans has reported that Magic Kingdom was "lower than a crowd level 5" on six days so far in 2016. We're 111 days into the year by my calculations. All but perhaps one or two of those days are due to storms. So Magic Kingdom has seen "lower than average crowds" 5.9% of the time. Heading into May through the end of August, we're certainly not going to see very many 4s I don't think. So maybe they will add two more days of "below average waits" between now and August. That would put them at something like eight days out of 240 as less than a 5. That puts them at 3.3%. So I think Chris is right - just say every day is a 7 and you're in business.

  8. #83
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    So Magic Kingdom has seen "lower than average crowds" 5.9% of the time.
    It's like Lake Wobegone: all the children are above average.

  9. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by josh View Post
    TouringPlans has reported that Magic Kingdom was "lower than a crowd level 5" on six days so far in 2016. We're 111 days into the year by my calculations. All but perhaps one or two of those days are due to storms. So Magic Kingdom has seen "lower than average crowds" 5.9% of the time. Heading into May through the end of August, we're certainly not going to see very many 4s I don't think. So maybe they will add two more days of "below average waits" between now and August. That would put them at something like eight days out of 240 as less than a 5. That puts them at 3.3%. So I think Chris is right - just say every day is a 7 and you're in business.
    So if 5 is average and you are only below average 3%-6% of the time, isn't that kind of the definition of NOT the average???? So basically if 7 is their new average, then they need to make what they today call "7" a "5" and start over. Right?? Or maybe just take the scale up to 14??

  10. #85
    who gon stop me? HUH? josh's Avatar
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    Right. This is my chart for wait times during a Mickey's Party:



    It will probably need to be revised upwards again this year.

    This is the chart from this time two years ago:



    If I had a chart from two years before that, wait times would be even lower.

    But you've got attendance that is up about 10% and wait times that are up 50% - 100%.

  11. #86
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    Just so we are all on the same page here, if TP labels every day a 7, here is what they are expecting to see between 10 am and 5 pm.

    BTMRR 46-80 minutes
    Buzz 42-60 minutes
    HM 40-59 minutes
    JC 48-66 minutes
    PP 63-96 minutes
    PotC 40-66 minutes
    Space 58-105 minutes
    Splash 63-93 minutes
    Pooh 39-50 minutes

    Many of the lower ends of the ranges fall within the ranges assigned to their CL 2 and 3 as well.
    Happy planning!!
    June 2004 ASMO; Dec 2005 POP; Feb 2007 POP; March 2011 POR; March 2014 POR; Feb 2015 BWV; Sept 2015 PVB; Jan 2016 AKV Jambo (kind of); Feb 2016 OKW; Sept 2016 PVB; Feb/March 2017 BWV/PVB; Aug/Sept 2017 BCV; Feb 2018 BLT/CCV

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  12. #87
    who gon stop me? HUH? josh's Avatar
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    If that's not science I don't know what is!

  13. #88
    I wonder what they will show today 4/12 as vs. last week 4/5. I was in the park on 4/5 and it sucked. Looking at the wait times today, it seemed better (Josh, I am sure you have the data to prove or disprove that statement). Looking at Josh's numbers - both days are an average 5. I realize MK, most recommended for both days, was worse last Tuesday for both higher crowds than Disney expected exacerbated by the lower capacity of rides because of staffing.

    Ultimately, I am assuming I just got unlucky and had I waited to travel this week it might be more typical of an April visit and more typical "5" type crowds.
    Ray



  14. #89
    Senior Member cdmurphy727's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by josh View Post
    If that's not science I don't know what is!
    #classic

  15. #90
    won't let you order a nice scotch texhanddoc's Avatar
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    Ugh, Josh, that chart for party days at MK is pretty depressing. I can remember all the way back to 2006 or so. The day of MNSSHP was so great. Peter Pan was walk on between 5 and 7. Oh well, I guess the secret is out about this "Disney World" thing.
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  16. #91
    he's right
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    I'm reminded of a common DIS refrain: "The recession was awesome!"

  17. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3dadknight View Post
    TP tries to predict wait times (and not very well). EasyWDW provides a good strategy to minimize wait times regardless of how crowded Walt Disney World -not specifically MK, AK, HS or EP - is. You will be told which of those parks are best to avoid each day. Past "data" does not and should not play part in that analysis. Whether PotC had a wait time of 15 minutes in Sept 2013 at 3:00 pm is irrelevant to my upcoming trip in Sept 2016. Tell me instead that I shouldn't go to HS next Tuesday because I'll see lower waits on Wednesday and MK would be a better choice for Tuesday. That's information I can use.
    Thank you for explaining this - I can't find Josh's methodology on crowd calendars, and I have read the 'how-to's' - to be fair, Josh's calendar specifically mentions using data from past years, too. "The crowds section is based on data from the past several years and projections moving forward. Generally speaking, the higher the price of a Disney resort room, the busier the Parks will be. For example, Value season usually has the smallest crowds and Peak and Holiday seasons see the highest crowds. We’ll also take a closer look at the various exceptions throughout the year."

    In planning our trip, I didn't really use the crowd calendars to pick when we'd go, because we are coming on a school vacation week, with the exception of picking which YEAR to go - next year, Easter falls at the end of our April vacation week, so I knew I wanted to miss that one. (Maine & Mass is always the week of Patriots Day, which is a holiday only in those two states, and doesn't move like the religious holidays do.) I have both the Unofficial Guide and the First Timer's Guide, and have found both of them really helpful in planning our trip. I have the TP subscription and like having all of my info on one page, and actually when I set that up, I plugged in the EasyWDW crowd numbers into the notes to compare, and they are basically the same as TP, only easy does "most/not recommended" and TP puts a number on it. I also used the cheat sheets to arrange a touring plan to get a map for our day - so I'm using most of Josh's strategies, but plugging in our reservations (BBB/PL, ADRs, etc) to get a feel for the day/the lay of the land. We are basically 'one time only' visitors and I am a maximizer, so I have found it all really useful.

    If only it were as easy as "just go left when you go in the gates," as my husband's retired friend - who took his kids in the early 90s - keeps telling him to do. ;)

  18. #93
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    snappity, have a good time on your "one time only" trip. In the end, as others have said, a good plan for the day will beat any crowd level almost every time. So, you are already in good shape. The cheat sheets are a tried and true place to start with your plan. We use them as a guideline for the most part, skipping things we don't want to do and adding something here or there and always have a good time. They will indeed help you maximize your time at the parks. Using all the resources you can is a good idea, but if there is a discrepancy, I suggest Josh and Dave's book/websites will be the most accurate. The "past data" mentioned, I believe, they rely on is park attendance, resort occupancy and pricing relative to other times of the year. Disney can't do much to affect when people are able to travel - school breaks and holidays will always draw bigger crowds compared to other days in the same year. The past data I referred to as being not good to use is past wait time data. Disney has done so much to affect standby wait times over the past year or two, that such data is irrelevant. TP has some useful features, but the crowd calendar is not one of them.

    Anyway, good luck and have a good trip!
    June 2004 ASMO; Dec 2005 POP; Feb 2007 POP; March 2011 POR; March 2014 POR; Feb 2015 BWV; Sept 2015 PVB; Jan 2016 AKV Jambo (kind of); Feb 2016 OKW; Sept 2016 PVB; Feb/March 2017 BWV/PVB; Aug/Sept 2017 BCV; Feb 2018 BLT/CCV

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  19. #94
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    Is just a shift to MK / staffing? We spent much of last Sunday at Magic Kingdom then switched to Epcot. Several staff in the parking lots pointed out proudly to us that Epcot is the second largest parking lot in the world (next to Mall of America) & that they had used almost the entire parking lot that day.

    Quote Originally Posted by DopeyRunr View Post
    On the touringplans blog they said they look at the 50 largest school districts, and only 5% had off last week, so they may need to re-think how they sample. So they didn't exactly "miss" that a large number of schools had spring break last week, they just didn't consider those school districts at all, apparently.
    If touringplans only looks at the 50 largest school districts, that might explain why they particularly struggled last week. Until the voting rights act, Georgia based state legislative seats on counties and then creating lots of tiny counties to ensure white rural voters maintained control over state government. Only four Georgia districts are in the top 50, so they would have shown up in that analysis as on break, but many of our small and medium sized districts were also on break.
    Last edited by amk3; 04-13-2016 at 05:21 PM. Reason: Add Epcot
    Andrea in Atlanta

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