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. Shanti

    Shanti Momketeer

    Nov 29, 2015
    We stay onsite so we go to parks with EMH as often as we can. Helps our touring a lot.
  2. pd1138

    pd1138 Mouseketeer

    Jun 12, 2014
    We arrive mid week since flying is cheaper, so I’m not sure how they count us in crowd calendars!! :) This coming trip will be our 8th as a family since 2007 and I didn’t know about crowd calendars until last year! We do love our park hoppers and just hop to a different park if it’s too bad. I have to say the first six trips we took without calendars and they were great! I usually simply avoid MK on Saturday and EP on Saturday night. Otherwise everything else is fair game and it works out. Last year we went to Blizzard beach on a Sunday in august. Calendars told us to avoid water parks on the weekend because of locals yet that day was beyond empty. Even cast members all day were saying it was really strange. Had the park almost to ourselves! The weather was good, hot. Perfect water park weather day. Then we went to typhoon lagoon on Tuesday. Again, I read going to a water park earlier in the week would be good since “most” people start their vacations at the theme parks. Well that was the most crowded day we ever experienced at a water park. Packed! We arrived at rope drop and left by lunch. I’m not bothering with crowd calendars this year for any of the parks! I think we will have a great vacation anyway!!!
    lambdabeta likes this.
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  4. Tksolomom

    Tksolomom DIS Veteran

    Nov 9, 2017
    The problem is if you rope drop, you don’t want to go to a park with early magic hours as the park will already be busy.
    DoryGirl1963 likes this.
  5. DVC Doc

    DVC Doc Disney Fan

    Feb 26, 2011
    I’ve been every day of the week, high and low season as a local annual pass holder and this advice is spot on.

    I would add Presidents Day weekend to that mix as well. It’s been INSANE the past few years.
    DoryGirl1963 likes this.
  6. Meglen

    Meglen Mouseketeer

    Jul 16, 2016
    Everyone says dont go to MK on a monday.. and our only full day for MK is monday I got CRT in the morning and BoG for dinner.. I cant cancel it now :(
  7. Mom2Stitch

    Mom2Stitch DIS Veteran

    Mar 1, 2012
    I have used crowd calendars to get a general sense of what to expect. I think that for so many years we have just done things a certain way that it seems odd to do it different. For example-Tuesday is always MK. Not sure how it came to be that way, but it is.

    We've always hit Epcot on Wednesday, this trip I have it on Saturday since we decided to go to Typhoon Lagoon on Wednesday. I've been considering switching them because it doesn't "feel" right, and with the comments above about Epcot on a Saturday maybe I should!
  8. HydroGuy

    HydroGuy A Pirate's Life For Me

    Jun 5, 2005
    As other current threads similar to this one are currently discussing, there is a suspicion that data Disney is gathering using FP+ is being used to schedule park staff in such a way as to disrupt any park planning at all.

    I have always been a firm believer in "try to avoid the EMH park". I would wait at buses in the AM and see the long line in the morning for the EMH park and the short line for the park we are planning and would smugly think, "Aha! I am so glad I am not going to the EMH park that day!".

    But if Disney has caught onto this using FP+ and staffed accordingly, they can totally ruin this strategy. In fact, they can ruin any strategy by using staffing management to make all lines at all rides be what they think is best for all days at all parks.

    I will say that if Disney is in fact doing this, as much as I love WDW, I will either stop going altogether or at minimum cut back on my WDW trips. And whatever anyone thinks of the TP folks, they seem best positioned to tell us if this is happening and provide some kind of analysis. So personally I will keep my eyes and ears open to @lentesta and his staff.

    Finally, if all the above is in fact the case, then choosing "best parks" and "best time of year to visit" is pointless. The folks in this thread who say "just choose whatever you want and go with it" will have the right idea.

  9. Nancyg56

    Nancyg56 DIS Veteran

    Aug 17, 2005

    Exactly. Use the calendar as as a way to plan you days, but in a way that works for you. I like going to the MK on Party days, and get ther eearly. I still get a "full" day in and leave before the park gets crazy. I have never gone to a park for any extra hours, so i never even look to see if they are offered. DO they impact the crowds? I have no idea, becuase I don't use them as a guide for me.

    I would not worry. We have often gone to the MK on a not recommended day and were just fine. No matter how you plan, you cannot plan for others, so just go and enjoy your day in the MK. You are already two steps ahead of so many other people...you have an ADR for both breakfast and dinner.
  10. Disneylover99

    Disneylover99 DIS Veteran

    Jul 17, 2012
    We park hop and go for 2-3 weeks every August. We generally avoid parks with EMH's. I do find them to be more crowded.
  11. PrincessWithABlaster

    PrincessWithABlaster DIS Veteran

    Jan 1, 2016
    Don’t cancel. We go to MK on a Sat and have for 3 years. It’s not recommended but we have fun. Last year was a very busy Sat but the busiest MK day we’ve ever had on any day was a Tues. Just go knowing it may be busy but it may be busy any day.

    You know, I’ve been following this whole wider discussion and never clued in that this could explain a lot. TP has said their model uses wait times. I’m not sure what Kenny the Pirate bases his on but if it’s overall crowd feel and busy walkways and estimating overall attendance, Disney’s staffing strategies may explain why they often have differing recommendations.

    TP is also saying that EMH isn’t an automatic skip anymore. Kenny says that statisticly it’s the busiest park. I went back and looked at Tues Epcot PM EMH days (because it’s the EMH Park we have in our plan this year :D). For all of Jan and Feb this year Epcot has been the lowest or second lowest CL Park each of those PM EMH days. I thought TP is right (and fits my experience of having a really good, not too crowded day in May). But then I looked at Dec and Nov. Often the highest CL day. Hmmm. Looked at the PM EMH day we went on our trip last year. Tied for the lowest CL park that day. And at that point I decided it was spotty and didn’t have time to investigate further. I mean to go back and look some more at some point here.

    But I wonder if that’s showing that when the park isn’t completely slammed, Disney can adjust for capacity and they know more people tend to be in an EMH Park and staff up. That only works though if there is some head room on capacity to expand to. If the park is already running at full capacity you can’t staff out of that situation so in the busy holiday weeks EMH goes back up to being the highest CL Park (based on wait times) because they can’t staff any higher to adjust it down.

    I mean to go look further one of these days when I have time. Oh the fascinating Disney mysteries.
    Tksolomom, mdmama76 and HydroGuy like this.
  12. mamamelody2

    mamamelody2 DIS Veteran

    Apr 29, 2016
    Crowd calendars are good for generalities for people that know nothing about WDW crowds.
    For instance, there's a woman at work who was going to take her granddaughter over Thanksgiving because she did that 15 years ago and it was dead. I was able to tell her that is not the case anymore, but she could have found that out with a crowd calendar, too.

    Basically, at this point, we should all figure it's going to be very busy no matter when we go, so a good plan is key.
    As long as you're not rolling in at noon, stopping in the middle of Main Street to take out a map and argue with your group about where to go, no FPs because "I don't want to pay for that!", no concept of the size/scale of WDW, you should be fine.
    DoryGirl1963 and lahobbs4 like this.
  13. tlmadden73

    tlmadden73 DIS Veteran

    Oct 9, 2014
    I wouldn't see why they wouldn't use that data.
    I mean .. Disney is the only people that know generally how crowded a park is going to be ahead of time, not crowd calendars.

    They know, right now for example, exactly how many Fast Passes are reserved for MK for a week from now. They know how many ADRs are filled for that day. They know how many dessert parties they've sold. They know how many guests they have on property that day. Obviously that could fluctuate .. but that should give them a darn good idea how to staff for any given park on any given day.

    I wonder if Disney fluctuates how many fast passes are given out on any given day. Does, for example, SDMT, have the same amount of Fast Passes available to reserve whether it is the middle of February or the middle of July? Does that change if they feel the park is going to be more or less crowded?

    And yes, unfortunately that means they could UNDER staff a park if it appears it won't be crowded, which will make it FEEL more crowded to the guest.
  14. L_MD

    L_MD Mouseketeer

    Aug 24, 2016
    I look at crowd calendars but typically base my days around fairly personal factors. Monday (my typical arrival day) is usually Springs, since I'll be tired from the plane. Tuesday is always Magic Kingdom, mostly due to EMM which I like do to. Wednesday is my Epcot day because it seems right, and then the rest of the days are just whatever I can fit wherever. Not a great strategy, maybe, but I think as long as I have good FP's and get up early that I'll do better than worrying about a (probably inaccurate) crowd number.
  15. gulliesmom

    gulliesmom Mouseketeer

    Dec 6, 2017
    So if you were going Thanksgiving week, which will be at peak for crowds, and are staying at a WDW hotel, which days would you do which parks? We have 4 day tickets with PH. We want one of these days to be a resort only day:

    Wed- 11/21
    Th- 11/22 (Thanksgiving Day)
    Fr- 11/23
    Sun- 11/25
  16. lahobbs4

    lahobbs4 Mouseketeer

    Jul 20, 2013
    I definitely try to make MK my first full park day, but we usually travel on a Tuesday or Wednesday. I went by a crowd calendar for a while but when my 2 year old went on her first trip and couldn't understand why we weren't at Disneyworld yet (we went to AK first) I decided to just buck up and make MK our first day from there on out! We know from our own history to not do MK on weekends mainly. Agree with no Epcot on the weekend evenings. It's ridiculous.

    But we also do EMH parks, leave around 2:00 for a break (I cannot believe how many people are still filing in during that hour of the day, it's PACKED). We either return to that same park that evening, or somewhere non-EMH. It's going to be crowded no matter where you go. I remember not long ago the week before Thanksgiving being DEAD. Walking on whatever ride you wanted. Rode TSMM 3 times in a row. It's just not like that any more and changing your mindset to meet that will go a long way.

    Plus, I seem to recall a lot of "Disney has priced me out so we can't go anymore" after the ticket increase this week so surely all of those people will stay home.... :rolleyes1
    lambdabeta likes this.
  17. SaintsManiac

    SaintsManiac DIS Veteran

    Dec 9, 2014

    Last year we went during Thanksgiving.

    Thursday-- Epcot

    We did HS over the weekend. We left on Black Friday. We did not do RD any of those 4 days, because we had done it for the 5 days prior.

    When I looked at Kenny the Pirate's crowd calendar he had Epcot as the worst park for Thanksgiving and we didn't think it was bad at all. Especially after coming off that Wednesday at AK, which was literally the most crowded park day I have ever experienced. He bases this solely off of EMH, I am sure of it. That Monday I read reports on these boards that Main St in MK was at capacity. We did not experience that on Tuesday. We booked the dessert party for HEA. I highly recommend that you do that if you can swing it.

    It will be very busy that week. Make sure you have a good plan. If you can get up early and do RD, then definitely do it that week. We were not concerned with riding everything a bunch that week, because it was a long trip for us and we were exhausted by that part of it. There will be no rhyme or reason to which park is better that week. Go where you can get your ADRs and FP.
  18. lentesta

    lentesta <a href="http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/index.

    Aug 30, 2002
    About 75% of SDMT's ride capacity is dedicated to FP+ (and about 80% of most other rides). I don't think that changes on a day-to-day basis. What can change on some rides is the number of trains/cars on the track, i.e., the ride capacity. So FP+ is always going to get a 75% slice of the pie, and Disney decides how big each day's pie is going to be.
    lambdabeta and JAMIESMITH like this.
  19. Dumbo777

    Dumbo777 Mouseketeer

    Jul 14, 2017
    Are parks with EMH hours really that bad? Are morning EMH hours better than evening EMH?
  20. SaintsManiac

    SaintsManiac DIS Veteran

    Dec 9, 2014

    We did morning EMH for the first time in January and I think it is so worth it!
    DoryGirl1963 and Dumbo777 like this.
  21. AFwifelife

    AFwifelife DIS Veteran

    Dec 11, 2014
    If we are eligible for morning EMH, we do them. I’ve always found them to be beneficial. The way we tour though isn’t the same as everyone. We are out of the parks by or right after lunch and will return right before or right after dinner.
    DoryGirl1963 and Dumbo777 like this.

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