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Len Testa Crowd Analysis

GeneralKnowledge

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I just listened to a podcast from DISUnplugged featuring @lentesta discussing the crowds so far in 2018. I highly recommend listening to it, his information was very interesting.

Apparently his wait time projections were significantly off for the start of 2018. Particularly, wait times in January were worse than almost any month in all of 2017. The thought of wait times in January being close to Christmas level is insane.

After analyzing the data from many angles they came to the conclusion that Disney is running the parks with reduced staffing, and consequently reduced attraction hourly capacity, resulting in longer wait times even though there might be fewer guests than normal.

He goes on to mention a few different motivations Disney may have for doing this, including the obvious reason being that they are simply saving money to the more complex thought that they might be trying to artificially control apparent crowd levels in order to justify price increases and ticket price yielding.

I hadn’t seen this being discussed anywhere on here so I thought I’d mention it. Hopefully Len will chime in, I think it’s a topic worthy of discussion.

I know personally the increased crowd levels over the past decade have really made my trips less enjoyable. We used to enjoy visiting in the off season and with the seemingly constant crowding there is now, I find my trips less enjoyable. Disney is going to reach a breaking point somewhere with this kind of management. I know for me, that point is rapidly approaching.
 

GeneralKnowledge

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
It's also possible that crowd calanders haven't been useful for two or more years. They guy makes millions of dollars per year off of subscriptions. I know I wouldn't be happy if Disney is leveling out crowds artificially, but is be even more upset if I paid for a useless product

I’m sure he makes a decent living from his service but he certainly puts a lot of effort into it being as great of a product as possible and I certainly don’t begrudge him of his success. If you listen to the podcast he goes into some detail on their process, and it’s certainly involved. I find it interesting and admirable that he’s coming out admitting that their projections have seen a sharp deviation from real world conditions.
 

aprincessatlasst

Active Member
I watched the podcast as well and then read a report from Josh at ...(apparently a site that is not allowed to be named?) and had to laugh when he said that touring plans was about 3 years behind in everything including this. The whole time listening to the podcast kept thinking this is not a new revelation is it? I mean has this not been know for a few years now? It was interesting to see though that many of the reductions hover around 25%. That is substantial.
 

GeneralKnowledge

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I watched the podcast as well and then read a report from Josh at ...(apparently a site that is not allowed to be named?) and had to laugh when he said that touring plans was about 3 years behind in everything including this. The whole time listening to the podcast kept thinking this is not a new revelation is it? I mean has this not been know for a few years now? It was interesting to see though that many of the reductions hover around 25%. That is substantial.

The thing that really stuck out to me was that January wait times were worse than almost every month in 2017. That’s insane, and an indication that they’ve made a significant operational change starting in 2018.
 

GeneralKnowledge

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Attendance has been so strange this year. Some days its packed to the brim and unbearable and others its a ghost town.

Attendance or wait times? The theory put forth by Len is that Disney is increasing wait times despite attendance not being low. Just wondering if you feel like the common areas of the park are more crowded on busy days or if the wait times are just higher.
 

TeriofTerror

Well-Known Member
I've been coming to WDW since the year I was born, and - I kid you not - started creating my own touring plans at the age of four. To say I've got a bit of experience would be a massive understatement. I love trip planning.
That said, I've had a TouringPlans subscription for years. The touring plans, crowd calendars, and room finder are some of the many features I find invaluable, and I happily renew my subscription annually. Len and his team know their stuff.
 

Kman101

Well-Known Member
It's very interesting that they might be reducing staffing, which increases wait times, so thereby they save costs on labor while guests pay a higher price for tickets because the crowds look like they're at peak level. Really wouldn't surprise me at all if they're doing something like this.

We all know they've manipulated the wait times before, or it's not always accurate, for a variety of reasons.

It's not right. But I can't say this is a massive surprise that they'd pull something like that (if they are).
 

GlacierGlacier

Well-Known Member
It's very interesting that they might be reducing staffing, which increases wait times, so thereby they save costs on labor while guests pay a higher price for tickets because the crowds look like they're at peak level. Really wouldn't surprise me at all if they're doing something like this.

We all know they've manipulated the wait times before, or it's not always accurate, for a variety of reasons.

It's not right. But I can't say this is a massive surprise that they'd pull something like that (if they are).
I talked with a manager from Operations a while back, and he told me that yeah, they artifically inflate (or deflate) wait times in order to draw people twords or away from a ride. This is something that most people guessed, but still.

The kiosks located in the queues where fastpasses and standby meet typically have the actual wait time and the display wait time for the cast members to see. It's not on every ride, but it's definitely there for some. One instance (FEA) I saw the real standby at 21 minutes while the display was at 30-45. If only someone could find a way to access the real numbers as a site/app.
 

larandtra

Well-Known Member
With all of the information available on the internet and elsewhere, I am still surprised as to why people pay money for others to plan their trips or provide information you can generally find on your own. Those "crowd calendars" arent worth the paper they are printed on. Highly inaccurate as things change so often. Park hours change the day before, added hours, special events, etc. Its silly. Quit wasting money and plan your own trips.
 

mm52200

Well-Known Member
Also what happens a lot of the time, is that Disney’s very own attendance projections, which they base their staffing and operation on for that day can be off, crowds will be much higher or lower than expected some days. When that happens they literally just don’t have the proper staffing and have to make do and that happens and I think weve been seeing that some too.

Yes it’s more crowded than it used to be but there seems to be no rhyme or reason for the crowd patterns these last few months.
 

ElBendro

Well-Known Member
Not a new thing really, but probably more prominent now.

We were always understaffed at Rama a couple of years ago. We'd always have callouts too so we'd only be running one side of Prime and pulling people who were cross trained from DINOSAUR and Boneyard just to keep things running.
 

lee.moles.disney

Well-Known Member
If they are purposely running less capacity in order to save money, I wonder if this is a short term thing to save money while they are massively spending on expansions.

Knowing them, this will become perminant.
 

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