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Old 02-14-2013, 03:32 AM   #1
Armadillo4
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IOA: can't go on Sunday, so which day instead?

For our upcoming Spring Break trip (March 12-19), I thought we had a good plan. It's spring break, so we know there will be crowds, but we thought we'd avoid the biggest crowds by going to IOA on Sunday 3/17 and USO on Monday 3/18. Sundays have been a recommended day for IOA quite a bit here on the DIS and I had a great visit myself in 2011 on a March Sunday and experienced the moderate crowds first-hand.

However, part of our group now has to fly out earlier than expected--two family members who have never been to IOA--so we need to move our IOA day up earlier in our visit. I figure we should avoid Friday and Saturday, and pick from either Wednesday 3/13 or Thursday 3/14. So, I cross-referenced the crowd predictors from this earlier thread and would like to know if the more experienced DISers have thoughts as well. There are some contradictory data points from these online resources that have me confused.

Universal Express Pass Costs
For the days that we will be there, the cost of an IOA Express Pass will be HIGHEST on Wednesday 3/13 @$64.99 and slightly lower Thu-Sat. @$59.99. Based on these prices, we should avoid Wednesday and pick any day Thu-Sat. But Saturday...really? That doesn't sound right. Of course, Sunday 3/17 (the day we can't go) has the lowest price @$49.99. *sigh*

Undercover Tourist Crowd Calendar
For IOA: Weds and Thursday are "neutral", Friday is "not recommended," but Saturday is "recommended". Again, the recommendation for Saturday seems contrary to experiences here on the DIS.

TouringPlans Crowd Calendar
This is the newest crowd calendar, and I'm taking their numbers with a grain of salt*. Weds 6.9, Thurs 7.5, Friday 7.0, Sat. 8.0. Here TP is predicting Saturday as being the most crowded and Wednesday as the least crowded-- which matches most of the anecdotal crowd reports/recommendations here on the DIS Universal forum.

Summary
I like to think that Universal Express Pass costs would be a fairly accurate predictor of crowds--i.e. lower costs equals smaller crowds, higher costs equals larger crowds. Combined with Undercover Tourist's recommendation for Saturday, the best day to go is Saturday 3/16. However, that just doesn't seem right and I'm really confused. Could it be a combination of a different crowd pattern because of Spring Break along with Mardi Gras events still at USO? Should we risk it and do IOA on Saturday?

*Note: I have found TouringPlans' WDW predictions pretty accurate, as they have years and years of historical data. But I'm not as confident in their Universal numbers. TP started a Disneyland crowd calendar about two years ago and their predictions have been a little spotty for the West Coast parks. I'm lucky enough to have a DL AP and have experienced less-than-accurate crowd indicators on more than a few occasions. Since they just started a Crowd Calendar for USO and IOA, I have a feeling their predictions may be a little spotty there as well, until they get more data and adjust their crowd-prediction formulas. But their numbers "feel" right by predicting that Saturday will be the most crowded. I can't win. LOL!

Last edited by Armadillo4; 02-14-2013 at 03:40 AM.
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Old 02-14-2013, 05:35 AM   #2
Metro West
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You hit the nail on the head regarding Express prices...the cheaper the pass, the lower the anticipated crowds. I don't think you'd have any issues going to IoA on a Saturday and Mardi Gras crowds don't affect IoA. That said...if you're going during Spring Break, it will be busy regardless. Get to the park prior to opening so you're ready to go and plan to stay all day.
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Old 02-14-2013, 07:58 PM   #3
Armadillo4
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Thanks Metro West! The group wants to go to Epcot on Saturday, so we'll try IOA on Friday. We'll prepare ourselves for crowds amd try to get there before opening. *fingers crossed*
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