I'm honored to have a special guest blogger today, Fred Hazelton, statistician for the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World! I've known Fred for over five years and no one knows crowd levels at Walt Disney World better than he does. Thank you Fred for this great write up!
Gathering information about crowds at Disney Theme Parks is an ever-changing challenge. From day to day and year to year park hours, park schedules, holiday patterns and weather can all change. We at TouringPlans.com have been in the crowd tracking game since the turn of the millennium and we have not seen a change as dramatic as when Fantasmic! show schedules changed to a few times a week in January 2009.
Before that, when Fantasmic! was held each night, crowds at the Studios were pretty consistent day-to-day. Now, the Studios looks completely different depending on whether there is a show or not. Looking at the chart below you can see how the range of crowds before January 2009 was spread out with an average peak wait time of 33 minutes. Now, the average on a day with a Fantasmic! show is 37 minutes while the average without a show is 30 minutes. You may think 7 minutes is a small amount but remember, that represents 7 minutes for each attraction. Other parks vary within a range much smaller than that, day to day.
What is also interesting is that the range of wait times on a day without a show is much smaller. This means that if you are looking for low crowds at the Studios, you have to visit on a day without a Fantasmic! show. Even during low season, the Studios can be crowded if Fantasmic! is on the schedule.
Fantasmic! makes crowds at the Studios the most volatile park, day to day. We track the crowds every day at every park thanks to our researchers and our awesome Lines users. When you plot the wait times daily you get something that looks like an electrocardiogram from a Disney Marathoner – during mile 22! Average wait times go up and down each day depending on the Fantasmic! schedule. See the chart showing how wait times are affected by Fantasmic!
What this means for planning your visit to the Studios is that you have to decide whether Fantasmic! is part of your plans. If it is, use the per park crowd calendar to pick the best day to visit. If seeing Fantasmic! is not an essential part of your trip, avoid it at all costs. The good news is that once you have decided not to see the show, picking a day becomes easier. Any day that doesn’t have a show is bound to have reasonably low crowds.
You can access all this information and more by visiting us at TouringPlans.com. Use our Crowd Calendar to choose the best days for your visit, use our Touring Plans to save time in line and see the wait times live on your phone while you’re in the parks using Lines, our mobile app.