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Does anybody trust Crowd Calendars?

Tomi-Rocket

Well-Known Member
I used to have more confidence in the crowd calendars in the past but things have changed so much that I have found nd them to be pretty unreliable over the last few years.
 

John C. Shepherd

Active Member
As i put it there is Slow and Disney Slow. disney slow means it will still be busy just not like at Peak times. Slow at other parks means run of the place, not at Disney. Last time we went it point at what is a slow time, we loved it. It was still busy but not where i was going to kill the next person for running me over. Again as a poster states they are for reference.
 

DisneyGirl3820

Well-Known Member
Nope. Crowd calendars can't be the only variable you should use when planning. Crowd calendars will give you estimates of high and low seasons but I always feel like the authors of those calendars haven't visited the Parks in a while. The expanded dates of events like Food & Wine Festival and MNSSHP give a good indication that popularity (aka crowd level), is up.
 
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matt9112

Well-Known Member
I don't think you can trust crowd calendars anymore. It's always crowded and the holidays and special events are super crowded.


this.....they used to be indespensible when slow seasons existed and I find them still accurate but trying to find any empty park is not going to happen too often.
 

Jedi Stitch

Well-Known Member
I went to DLR with my Friend on his 21st Bday, Mine was 3 month ahead. We went over the Thanksgiving day week coming back before Turkey Day. This was 1996. Just before T day it was busy, but passable. The bartender at the Neon Cactus said post New years is the best because everyone spent their wad for the holidays. Growing up my family went October time frame. Now Fast forward over the decades, and as the new extra cost events began to crop up, I found that these times no longer follow the norm. The crowd tracker is a useful tool planning, but if a third of the people also use it to plan out a light time to go, then that is a 30% increase to the usual crowd. Our last trip to WDW we went mid part of January. Presidents weekend had a larger number of people. For the most part it was pleasant, and colder than we planned, but fun.
 

helenabear

Well-Known Member
They use different methodologies so comparing one to another is like comparing apples to oranges.
True but even looking into how they do it and what they take into consideration and what their calendar is 'really showing' they still are rather unreliable to me. I don't agree you cannot compare them, but you have to look at what they are saying is a 'crowd' and take that into consideration.

that aside, I find them all to be pretty darn unreliable lately so I don't bother. I use some to see what days EMH are at because it's easier to find in one place, but that's it.
 

Cowboy Steve

Premium Member
Honestly I have never looked at one. We lucked out in stumbling on the week after Thanksgiving and the first 2 weeks of December. MK is always busy, but the other parks have been pretty manageable. Last year HS was a little more crowded because 1/4 of the park is closed off... but didn't seem to affect ride times too much.
 

DfromATX

Well-Known Member
I never bother with the crowd calendars. We just don't have a choice. We go when our schedules permit, which unfortunately, is when school is out. So after going the week after Christmas and over July 4th holiday, the month of June seems good to us. (And by the way, that July trip was by far the most crowded and HOT.) I would LOVE to go someday when school is in to see what that's like.
 

GoofGoof

Premium Member
Touring plans is the best I've found out there. They also keep historic data so you can go back and see how accurate their predictions were vs actual crowds. With FP+ it's now a bit harder to predict ride wait times. Even on a medium crowd day rides like Pirates or HM can still surge to 40 min waits at certain times during the day. The only way to be sure to have shorter standby waits is to get there early (at rope drop) or stay late. By 3 or 4 in the afternoon everything at MK will have waits on almost every day.
 

lentesta

Well-Known Member
As TouringPlans is my site, I am naturally biased. Take the following as you will.

Most crowd calendars are bad because the website's owners have made a good business decision.

It's taken us the better part of 10 years and well over $1 million to build our crowd calendar platform. That $1MM includes two professional statisticians/data scientists, programmers, specialized software, and a lot of Amazon cloud computing power.

If you run a Disney website and you want a crowd calendar to attract people to your site, the smartest thing you can do is spend $10K on an SEO consultant to rank highly for the terms "disney crowd calendar", and throw together something in Excel.

The stupidest thing you can do is try to build your own, real, crowd calendar, with actual predictions that people can verify. You'll spend untold time and money doing it, and in the end it probably won't be as good as what we have. You will fail, it will take a long time to fail, and it will hurt the entire time you're failing.

If predictions are not your core business, you should not try to make them.

The only two sites ever to produce a verifiable crowd prediction - an actual crowd calendar whose accuracy people could check - are us and Josh's easywdw. I don't think Josh is doing those now. I'm reasonably sure that when he was, he had access to some form of Disney's internal crowd projections and/or attendance numbers, along with his own massive time commitment to the thing. So the two sites who've ever produced crowd calendars were backed by literally millions of dollars in investments and teams of people.

That's why most crowd calendars are bad.

I will finish this post with two images. One is a slide from a presentation I gave to UCF's Data Science department earlier this year. It shows all of the alternative prediction techniques I tried in 2015-2016 to beat our stats team's existing crowd calendar models. All of them failed to beat our current models.
TPCrowdCalTechniques.jpg


The second is a screen cap of our spreadsheet tracking our crowd calendar's accuracy. The stats team, our staff in the parks, and I have a standing meeting on Mondays to review the crowd calendar's performance. This is what we start with.

CrowdTracker.jpeg


There are lots of things one can debate about the crowd calendar: the attractions we pick to measure, the distributions of their 1-to-10 scales, the time of day we include, and so on.

However, the predictions for 2017 are +/- 1 about 70% of the time - roughly 5 days out of 7. When you consider that we can't predict rain, ride breakdowns, Disney staff cuts, or, you know, whether the posted wait times are even real, that seems like a reasonable level of accuracy.
 

SourcererMark79

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
In the Parks
No
As TouringPlans is my site, I am naturally biased. Take the following as you will.

Most crowd calendars are bad because the website's owners have made a good business decision.

It's taken us the better part of 10 years and well over $1 million to build our crowd calendar platform. That $1MM includes two professional statisticians/data scientists, programmers, specialized software, and a lot of Amazon cloud computing power.

If you run a Disney website and you want a crowd calendar to attract people to your site, the smartest thing you can do is spend $10K on an SEO consultant to rank highly for the terms "disney crowd calendar", and throw together something in Excel.

The stupidest thing you can do is try to build your own, real, crowd calendar, with actual predictions that people can verify. You'll spend untold time and money doing it, and in the end it probably won't be as good as what we have. You will fail, it will take a long time to fail, and it will hurt the entire time you're failing.

If predictions are not your core business, you should not try to make them.

The only two sites ever to produce a verifiable crowd prediction - an actual crowd calendar whose accuracy people could check - are us and Josh's *******. I don't think Josh is doing those now. I'm reasonably sure that when he was, he had access to some form of Disney's internal crowd projections and/or attendance numbers, along with his own massive time commitment to the thing. So the two sites who've ever produced crowd calendars were backed by literally millions of dollars in investments and teams of people.

That's why most crowd calendars are bad.

I will finish this post with two images. One is a slide from a presentation I gave to UCF's Data Science department earlier this year. It shows all of the alternative prediction techniques I tried in 2015-2016 to beat our stats team's existing crowd calendar models. All of them failed to beat our current models.
View attachment 224482

The second is a screen cap of our spreadsheet tracking our crowd calendar's accuracy. The stats team, our staff in the parks, and I have a standing meeting on Mondays to review the crowd calendar's performance. This is what we start with.

View attachment 224486

There are lots of things one can debate about the crowd calendar: the attractions we pick to measure, the distributions of their 1-to-10 scales, the time of day we include, and so on.

However, the predictions for 2017 are +/- 1 about 70% of the time - roughly 5 days out of 7. When you consider that we can't predict rain, ride breakdowns, Disney staff cuts, or, you know, whether the posted wait times are even real, that seems like a reasonable level of accuracy.
@lentesta no doubt there are varying levels of data to pilfer through when devising one's own "crowd predictions" some do it better than others. My original post is driven by the inadequacies found when viewing different websites. I appreciate the complex algorithms used, just as much as someone's veteran experience in the parks. As someone who doesn't pay for the research found on TP's page, I suppose I am missing some of the supplemental information which may give me an edge when it comes down to when and where to visit. Thanks for the post.
 

beertiki

Well-Known Member
I don't mind crowded, and try to avoid CROWDED!!! To me, the events play a much larger role when planning a trip. Cheerleaders = crowded with obnoxious annoying brats. Runners = crowded with horrible traffic. Food and Wine = CROWDED epcot, avoid weekends, unless I am drunk too, drunk are annoying too.
 

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