October 1 was a historic and incredibly special day. I mean, yeah, sure, WDW celebrated its 50th anniversary. But I’m talking about something different. On October 1 … at TouringPlans we broke our own rules. What rules? In general, we very quickly maintain our rules about crowd levels. Crowd levels:
- Don’t do it they necessarily represent crowds. For you to code folk out there, Crowd Levels ≠ Attendance
- Do it represent approximate timeout groupings
- Don’t do it they represent the number of people who need to eat and drink at Food & Wine
- Do it it will help you understand how much time you can spend in the queue if you focus on the attractions
- Don’t do it note the behavior of eBay influencers or hackers who spend hours queuing up to buy exclusive merch or drink a shiny drink with some rocks connected by a clothespin
As we all know, however, the rules are meant to be broken. And on a day as crazy as the 50th anniversary, we know that if we post a crowd level that represents waiting time, we’ll be fooling anyone who doesn’t fully understand the crowd level definition. And we would be cheating them A LOT. Therefore, we breached the rules at Magic Kingdom and EPCOT on October 1st. We posted crowd levels as 10 at both parks (but not at Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom). But now we have the observations on crowds and data on crowd levels. So what really happened on October 1st? Was breaking our rules the right thing to do?
Crowd on October 1st
EPCOT was quite crowded. There were rows of people waiting to come in and long queues for things like Space 220 and the all-day creations store for those hot meals and food products. Remy dealt his entire first boarding card game in seconds.
But then … meh. EPCOT absorbs crowds well. When the boarding groups reopened their doors to Remy at 1 p.m., they remained available until 4 p.m. The crowd dwindled and flowed in the afternoon to popular places. A lot of crowds didn’t even materialize.
If on day 1 you followed any social network, you already know the degree of fullness it had in Magic Kingdom. Before sunrise, there were seas of people waiting to enter the park. Gift shops were crazy houses. Wi-Fi was useless for a while (and at some points legitimately non-functional). The park ran out of FuelRods as everyone tried to recharge their devices to continue transmitting their fans. In fact, in the afternoon, a member of the TouringPlans team asked Cosmic Ray for food, and it took more than 75 minutes from the time they arrived and they pressed “prepare my order” until the food was ready. Wow. Eventually, things got so crowded that the park reached its capacity and no one was allowed to park. Attendance at Magic Kingdom was literally as high as it could be.
Crowd levels on October 1st
What if we hadn’t cheated on the number at the EPCOT on October 1st? Based only on the waiting times (which is what the crowd levels represent), what would have been the crowd level?
Real timeout a Soarin ‘ did not exceed 10 minutes. And the real waiting times at Test track i Frozen Ever After (the two attractions with the longest waits on average) peaked in 31 minutes. The peak posted waits at all three of these attractions and all other EPCOT attractions.
And what about Magic Kingdom? Surely all these people had to go there somewhere. How were the waiting times throughout the day and what would have been the crowd level? Let’s look at some attractions.
- Seven dwarf mine train – The longest actual waiting time was 45 minutes. The published waiting time never exceeded 65. Almost at level 1 or 2 of public.
- Big Thunder Mountain – The longest actual waiting time was 16 minutes. The published waiting time never exceeded 25. Easily a level 1 audience.
- Buzz Lightyear – The longest actual waiting time was 5 minutes. Yes, 5. The published waiting time never exceeded 20. Level 1 crowd safe.
- What about something a little more “classic”? Jungle cruise – The longest actual waiting time was 47 minutes. Mine train over seven dwarfs. Curious. The published waiting time exceeded 60 minutes, which increases to the level of people … 2 or 3.
- pirates of the caribbean – The longest actual waiting time sent was 11 minutes and before 9am. The published waiting time also peaked around 9, 50 minutes. But then they settled in for about 20 minutes during normal “peak” hours. Crowd level 1. Maybe 2, if we are friendly.
- Space Mountain – The longest actual waiting time sent was 14 minutes and was recorded at 7:14 in the morning. The published waiting time reached a maximum of 25 minutes. Below audience level 1, if that’s anything. For most of the day, the waiting time posted by PeopleMover was longer than Space Mountain. Speaking of…
- PeopleMover – The longest actual waiting time was 16 minutes. The published waiting time reached its maximum and remained constant at 35 minutes for most of the afternoon and evening. You already know the drill, right? Wrong! This places him in a level 9 or 10 crowd territory. Wow!
What have we learned here?
- Sometimes breaking the rules is fun. But don’t worry, we continue to pay attention to the data.
- There were many, many, many humans in Magic Kingdom on October 1st. Lots of. And the Wi-Fi infrastructure isn’t designed to handle them if they premiere live all day. And neither are apparently the places to eat.
- None of these many, many, many humans cared to experience attractions on October 1st. If we didn’t care about the “crowds”, the crowd level would have been a 1.
- WDW50 influencers and enthusiasts love some PeopleMover.
Extra content: this interesting participation from the Magic Kingdom of our own Steve Bloom
How would you have ranked the crowds yesterday in Magic Kingdom and EPCOT: a 1 based on attraction waiting times or a 10 based on the sea of humanity? Let us know what you think in the comments.