Crowd Calendars Are More Worthless Than Toilet Paper and Fake Dollar Bills

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Feb 15, 2017
Why have crowd calendars when they are extremely unreliable? For example they say January and May and September are "slow months" but I guess a "slow month" is just simply a super busy day as opposed to a day with a very high risk that they have to turn people away due to reached capacity.
  • Davey Jones II

    DIS Veteran
    Aug 26, 2008
    I don't think they're worthless. They are generally accurate, but a 5 or 7 doesn't mean the same as it did before. Now a 5 means somewhat less crowded than a 6 or 7, but probably busier than ten years ago.
  • Klayfish

    DIS Veteran
    May 19, 2016
    I wouldn't say they're as useless as toilet paper, cause, well...I don't want to be caught without toilet paper. But yes, I agree, crowd calendars are utterly silly IMO. There's a reason, IMO, that you see so many people say "Why do they conflict?" or "Why are they changing?". The answer, IMO, is because they're just wild guesses. Due to so many uncontrollable and unforeseeable variables there is no way that they can have any true statistical accuracy. You can look at the 3rd week in May over the past 10 years, but outside of a very general sense, it doesn't mean anything for what will happen the 3rd week of May 2018 or 2019. There are some very broad generalizations you can make...Christmas is busy, Spring Break is busy, etc...but to get specific and say Park A on a Tuesday will have a crowd level of "x" makes no sense to me.


    DIS Veteran
    Oct 9, 2014
    I've always agreed. The ones that try and give you a crowd "level" on a certain day of the week just seems silly to me and like predicting the weather.
    Go when YOU can .. work around major holidays/breaks unless that is the only time YOU can go and just plan accordingly. If the crowds are the to the point that you feel it isn't worth your money, than I guess don't go again. But obviously there are tons of people who don't care about the crowds.


    DIS Veteran
    Mar 1, 2012
    I wonder if the crowd calendars and sites that predict lower seasons isn't part of the reason for the higher crowd number. If I had never been to Disney and was going to start researching I think when should I go would be a top question. So when I go to the first timer sites and they say crowds, prices, and temps are lower in January or May then that's probably where I would start looking to see if I could plan a trip. Pulling the kiddos out of school would be tempting. I know when we started going and DS was in elementary school we pulled him for Fall trips without a second thought.

    I think the crowd calendars follow common sense-lower numbers when school is in session, higher numbers on school breaks and holidays. I've not found them to be as accurate as I use to, but many things have changed. Economy being the biggest factor. To me they are kinda like Pirate law, more guidelines than actual rules. Really, just another tool to use, but not something to build a whole trip around. A PP said it best-plan for the worst and if it's lighter crowds then you are all set.
  • jcvalenti

    Wine Snob
    Jul 15, 2008
    I think part of the problem is the information those calendars are based on is outdated. I think so many people now research when the "best" time to go to Disney is, that the formerly "secret" times are well publicized, and thus now overcrowded. We started taking big family trips in 2004 and would always go in the summers. From 2004 - 2011, June through August were PACKED. Then we noticed in 2012, it was suddenly really manageable. Hot and miserable ? Yes. Too crowded to have fun ? No.

    We just got back from a trip the week after Thanksgiving, and it was FAR more difficult to plan. Getting good ADRs at premium venues was near impossible, even at 180+7. For example, I wanted to find a Beaches and Cream ADR as we were staying at Boardwalk - best I could do at 180+2 was 8:10 pm. Now, I just checked 180 day today and no problem getting a 4 top there on 8/4 (which used to be impossible). Now rather than rely on crowd calendars, I just follow some basic rules - avoid EMH parks if you're staying off property, and try to hit MK Sunday through Thursday.


    DIS Veteran
    Apr 10, 2013
    Best you can do now is to look at Disney's ticket prices by day (Value, Regular and Peak).

    Picking parks you can do yourself depending on your preferences regarding EMH


    Feb 28, 2017
    Disney has also found a way to start putting new festivals and other new items into their slower time slots. Festival of the Arts has expanded this year and the marathon weekends tend to be drawing bigger crowds. Those slow times are filling up with new Disney special events.


    DIS Veteran
    Apr 29, 2015
    I still consider myself to be somewhat of a Disney World newbie. I've only been twice so far. I will admit that I feel like I put too much stock into crowd calendars/levels. My first two trips to Disney World ended up being during "slower" times and it has made for some great trips. First time was right after spring break season and the second time was the first week of December. Obviously it's never not busy but so far my visits have never had crowds that I hear stories about on these forums. I'd love to keep our future visits like that but I find myself looking at crowd calendars constantly just to get a feel of what weeks of the year would give us the crowds we are used to.

    I should probably stop worrying so much about it. As long as we don't go during the insane times (which we won't) it will always be busy at Disney World.


    Disney on my mind
    Nov 5, 2012

    As much as people whine about crowd calendars being just a bunch of historical data, I think this article needs to be read. Yes, the crowds have been way off in recent months, but they aren't just grabbing old statistical data and throwing it into a spreadsheet. They're looking into breaks of every single type, as well as the economies of other nations and unemployment rates! Len's algorithms have even recently been used for diabetes control:

    I don't know why I feel the need to always to defend them (they're doing fine without me), but the idea that they just say "welp, last year February 2nd was a 2, so I'm putting down 2 for this year" is wildly understating the work that they put into it.
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