If crowd calendars are less reliable than they used to be ...

Discussion in 'Theme Parks Attractions and Strategies' started by mdmama76, Feb 12, 2018.

  1. mdmama76

    mdmama76 Earning My Ears

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    What's your strategy to decide which park to hit on which day? What about if you're park hopping?

    When we've gone before (most recent trip in fall 2015), we've lived and died by crowd calendars. But this time we're going in August and I'm just assuming it will be crowded everywhere, plus I'm reading that the crowd calendars are less reliable than they once were. We have park hoppers for the first time too so I'm not sure how to approach this. The only reason it matters right now, other than my planning psychosis, is for ADRs, but I'd love to hear how others think about this question.

    Thanks!
     
  2. sponica

    sponica DIS Veteran

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    Honestly if I'm park hopping, which park to hit which day is less of an issue.

    I sort of plan around my harder to get ADRs, or my must have ADRs and go from there. BOG dinner was a must do for me, so the trip kind of was planned around that.
     
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  4. bigbabyblues

    bigbabyblues DIS Veteran

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    I'm planning for June, and I'm using what I already knew. Avoid MK on Monday and Saturday and avoid parks with EMH. We've always done MK on Tuesday and Thursday, Epcot on Monday or Friday, etc.
     
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  5. ENJDisneyFan

    ENJDisneyFan DIS Veteran

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    My basic strategy is to avoid parks with EMH, avoid MK on Saturdays and Mondays, and avoid Epcot on the weekends during F&W.
     
  6. agavegirl1

    agavegirl1 DIS Veteran

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    THIS and also hopping. Sometimes I WILL go to the park with Morning EMH for about 2-3 hours then hop to a less crowded park.
     
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  7. SaintsManiac

    SaintsManiac DIS Veteran

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    We will now avoid Epcot on Saturday night and MK on Monday. I also plan for AK later in the trip to secure FoP FP. Other than that we just wing it a lot.
     
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  8. Klayfish

    Klayfish DIS Veteran

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    We go against the grain of many here, but honestly we go where we want, when we want. Before I joined this board, I didn't even know there was such a thing as a "crowd calendar". Beyond very broad generalizations there's no way they can have any statistical accuracy. Far too many unpredictable and uncontrollable variables.

    So we have always just picked our parks based on what we wanted. Usually sort of a round robin format. A,B,C,D,A,B,C,D, etc... We'll mix it up some, but it's based on our own desires and has nothing to do with MK on a Saturday, or EMH on a Tuesday. We don't even look to see what parks have EMH, it's irrelevant to us. If we want to be in MK on Monday, we're there. We've been to MK so many times, but I have no clue how many were on a Monday or a Thursday, and I couldn't even tell you which days seemed more crowded. Not on our radar. It doesn't make any sense to us to avoid a park you may want to go to simply because someone, somewhere says it may or may not be crowded. Why restrict your vacation like that? If you want to be in MK on Monday, then go. I recognize not everyone thinks that way, it's just our way.
     
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  9. mdmama76

    mdmama76 Earning My Ears

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    How do you know what's less crowded? Wait times on the app?
     
  10. mitchinson*

    mitchinson* Earning My Ears

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    My family and I were at the parks last week. They were wall to wall people with waiting lines longer than I've seen in years. Long lines for busses, long lines for bag checks, long lines to swipe Magicbands and long lines for rides. This was the first week of February. I don't think it's possible to predict how crowded the parks will be anymore.
     
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  11. emilyrachael

    emilyrachael Mouseketeer

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    I agree that it's hard to predict. When we went in January, I hit Epcot on what I thought would be a less crowded day - EMH was MK that night, EP had evening EMH the night before, during the week (Wednesday) and it was one of the most crowded times I've experience at Epcot (40 minute wait for Nemo?!?!?) I'd go with wherever you're able to get good FP+'s for the day since those are more important than ever now.
     
  12. SaintsManiac

    SaintsManiac DIS Veteran

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    We wing it a lot and don't put a lot of stock into crowd calendars, but we've been there when MK was insane on a Monday and so we just go to one of the other 3 parks instead. It's not a huge deal. We want nothing to do with Epcot on Saturday night ever again, because of the insane amount of drunk people in WS.

    If the only day you can do MK is on a Monday, then obviously do it, but for us we'd rather go elsewhere based on personal experience.
     
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  13. OneinThree

    OneinThree DIS Veteran

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    Agree 100%. This is how we approach Disney these days, as it really has gotten very busy year-round. We don't worry about crowds; we book FP+ for the things we want to see. If it's get's so crowded we can't even really walk without getting caught in the tide of people, we retreat to whatever resort we're staying at and relax there.
     
  14. randumb0

    randumb0 Party at Mickey's

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    Just go and whatever happens, happens
     
  15. PSUGuy

    PSUGuy Bill From PA

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    We've been guided by the crowd calendars in EASYWDW the last few trips, apparently they're not doing these anymore. Prior to that and going forward we'll just avoid parks with EMH and hit a non-EMH park at ropedrop. This always worked well for us before we discovered crowd calendars some sites publish.

    Bill From PA
     
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  16. Klayfish

    Klayfish DIS Veteran

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    Not arguing at all with you, but just posing a question... How do you know that Monday when MK was insane wasn't just a random thing and the next Monday it wasn't busy?

    We've never gone back into WS on a Saturday night, and I guess that's one thing I'd agree we wouldn't do. I can't stand drunks...happy, sad, any kind. Not my thing.
     
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  17. SaintsManiac

    SaintsManiac DIS Veteran

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    It could have been random. It was a holiday week both times, so I am sure that had something to do with it. Heck we were just there on MLK day, so I know that's part of it.

    In the end we go where we want to. If I open the TP app and see decent wait times we call an audible and head to that park. Since we are staying at the Poly next time we might wind up at MK every night of our trip. Who really knows? That's why I agree with you that living and dying by crowd calendars is counter productive.

    It's just that in the planning stages, when I am booking FP or a couple of breakfasts I pick another park on Monday.
     
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  18. Bete

    Bete DIS Veteran

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    Never used crowd calendars and I've done over 50 trips in the last 25 years.

    I really believe in doing every extra early morning hour if you have the privilege. Then, plan your three FPs for mid to late morning. Always work your way to the back of the park by the time the general public gets in. This plan has never failed us. Now, for the park you park hop make that fourth FP when you can.

    Have a lunch at the early morning park and then either park hop or take a rest back at the resort and then park hop later. We generally go to the second park which has later hours. Make sure to continue to grab more FPs.

    Sometimes, with Animal Kingdom we don't park hop.
     
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  19. tlmadden73

    tlmadden73 DIS Veteran

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    I am guessing a lot of the "day to day" crowd calendars that recommend a park on any given day was just based around stuff you can figure out on your own with little research:

    1) Is it an EMH day? (Go or don't go depending on if you want to use the EMH)
    2) Is it a party day? (Go or don't go depending if you don't mind leaving early)
    3) Is it Monday? (Don't go to MK)
    4) Is it a Saturday? (Don't go to Epcot (especially during a festival .. which is all the time except summer).

    Mostly I've made my plans around what I want to do or what the group I am going with wants to do.

    Mainly the planning goes around reservations (dinner and fast passes). If I can get a reservation to Be Our Guest for dinner on a certain day, but not another .. guess I will go to MK that day. For my next trip .. I will probably shoot for trying to get Fast Passes at DHS for Toy Story Land on the LAST day of my trip to take full advantage of the 60+X day window since that will probably be in high demand. So my schedule may depend on what days I can get the best fast passes.
     
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  20. Dee McGee

    Dee McGee Mouseketeer

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    Traditionally, Disney has had peak and non-peak seasons, but recent trends have spread the crowds out through the entire year to where there is no real slow time at Disney anymore. Keep in mind, the peak holiday weeks like Christmas and 4th of July weekend are going to be insane so I would avoid going during those times.
     
  21. kniquy

    kniquy DIS Veteran

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    With park hoppers you do have more flexibilty to avoid the crowds. A good strategy would be to take advantage of some morning EMH - hit the SMH park for 2 hours tops then go on to another park by 10am. Start FP at the 2nd park for 10:30 or later- stay at the second park until the afternoon and then take a break. You can then return to your 2nd park or hit something else. Hitting rope drop EMH can help hit a few rides with little wait.

    What can draw people to a park is EMH - so those without hoppers are stuck at that same park all day, but they go because they get an extra hour in the park. You will have the luxury of the EMH and moving on as it gets too busy.

    In general touring parks works best to hit morning time - afternoon break and then go back for the evening. Many day trippers will leave by early evening.

    There is no way to avoid the crowds so you do have to adjust your expectations to be low so that you won't be disappointed. Divide up your parks and list the must do, really want to do and can take it or leave it. Prioritize so that you will accomplish what you want and everything else is a bonus.
     

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