Precise vs. Posted Wait Occasions at Disney World

Precise versus posted wait occasions for rides at Walt Disney World has been a identified concern for years. Many followers have reported important disparities throughout their days in Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom–and questioning why inaccuracies persist regardless of this being a identified “downside.” (Up to date April 25, 2023.)

Let’s begin with some background into precise versus posted wait occasions at Walt Disney World. For starters, that is completely nothing new. Walt Disney World has been doing this for so long as I can keep in mind, which is at the least the final couple of a long time. Anybody who has ever visited the parks and used standby traces to a major diploma for a couple of days can let you know that posted wait occasions are greater than precise ones most of the time.

There’s actually no debating whether or not that is occurring. The higher questions are: why does Walt Disney World inflate posted wait occasions? and to what extent does Walt Disney World overstate wait occasions? This put up will try to reply these questions plus a couple of others, discussing why Walt Disney World has traditionally inflated wait occasions, largest offenders, and the corporate’s “purchaser beware” warning in Genie+. We’ll additionally some technique, ideas, and information for utilizing the wait time disparity to your benefit…

There are a number of the reason why Walt Disney World intentionally inflates wait occasions. First, it’s good for visitor satisfaction–an extension of the ole “underpromise and overdeliver” mantra. It’s surprisingly easy: company might be glad in the event that they wait much less time than is marketed, however sad in the event that they wait longer. Because it’s powerful to make predictions which can be 100% correct, it’s higher to err on the aspect of inflation.

This type of client manipulation is extremely widespread. We’ve usually “joked” that Disney follows the Kohl’s faculty of pricing–the shop the place all the pieces is all the time on sale. Though this 12 months has been an odd outlier, Disney by no means lowers sticker costs, as an alternative providing aggressive and typically illusory reductions for his or her psychological enchantment. Free Eating isn’t actually free–it comes with a possibility price–however nothing sells higher than FREE. Related concept right here. Folks adore it after they assume they’re popping out forward.

Second, wait occasions themselves are a type of crowd management. This isn’t a giant revelation, however some points of interest are extra standard than others. When you give 100 company the selection between Seven Dwarfs Mine Practice and Nation Bear Jamboree with out some other constraints, 99 of them are going to make the fallacious choice and choose the curler coaster.

Typically, all of us simply want a delicate little nudge to do the best factor. That may come within the type of inflated wait occasions at standard points of interest, which push individuals in the direction of much less standard ones. Everybody has a balking level–a wait that is just too excessive to justify the time spent ready in line–even for his or her favourite rides. Greater wait occasions on headliners improve utilization of much less standard points of interest, making the park extra environment friendly and higher in a position to soak up crowds.

Lastly, pumped up wait occasions supply quite a lot of different operational benefits. Considered one of these is discouraging abuse of DAS, as those that have enough data to abuse that system are additionally possible conscious of inflated wait occasions. (It’s not an ideal resolution and there’s an apparent draw back, however there is no such thing as a excellent resolution right here.)

One other is clearing the park on the finish of the night time. Our go-to instance for that is Seven Dwarfs Mine Practice, which is so persistently inflated that our Experience Information for Seven Dwarfs Mine Practice extremely recommends doing that attraction after the fireworks and ignoring the posted wait time. That is persistently and predictably overstated, and that’s completely by design. It’s to discourage company from leaping in line on the finish of the night time so Magic Kingdom will be cleared faster.

To that time, we’ve discovered that wait occasions are least correct and most inflated on the finish of the night time. That is significantly true amongst headliners in any of the 4 theme parks. Often, the extra standard the attraction, the extra the wait time is inflated. Prime examples listed below are (once more) Seven Dwarfs Mine Practice, Peter Pan’s Flight, Remy’s Ratatouille Journey, Frozen Ever After, and Check Monitor.

Oh, and actually each single attraction in Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. These parks are dwelling to a few of the largest offenders, with Slinky Canine Sprint, Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run, Avatar Flight of Passage, and Na’vi River Journey being among the many worst. Na’vi River Journey might be the largest crimson flag, as we had numerous experiences with it having a posted wait time of 50-75 minutes and an precise wait time of quarter-hour or much less.

One other particular instance is Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, which is commonly manner off. That’s not listed above as a result of it’s steadily inaccurate in each instructions. We’ve had precise waits which can be lower than half the posted time (very often, in reality) but in addition precise waits which can be practically double the posted wait time.

The wild fluctuations with Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance are as a result of the attraction is vulnerable to breakdowns and delays, so the corporate is constructing in a buffer. When you get fortunate and it’s not having any points on the day of your go to, that 75 minute posted wait time at 7:45 pm is perhaps an precise wait time of 20 minutes. Against this, if it’s been up-and-down all day and there’s a backlog of Lightning Lane company, it is perhaps an precise wait of 70-80 minutes. Worse but, it might break down when you’re in line and find yourself being a triple-digit wait.

On the different finish of the working day is the morning, which additionally will be inaccurate. For the reason that debut of Early Entry and Lightning Lanes, we’re discovering that wait occasions are sometimes abnormally inflated through the first 60-90 minutes of the day (together with Early Entry) earlier than settling into regular patterns. They’re nonetheless inflated, to make certain, however not as dangerous as at first of the day or finish of the night.

Then there’s the guts of the day, from about 10 am till 6 pm (or round 4 pm at each DHS and Animal Kingdom). That’s when wait occasions have the bottom quantity of inflation. Once more, they’re nonetheless often overstated, however to not the acute levels as earlier and later within the day.

Turning again to points of interest, different huge offenders are literally the least standard points of interest. A minimum of, in share phrases.

The explanation for that is really fairly easy–it’s as a result of the least standard points of interest usually have minimal waits or are walk-ons, making nearly any posted wait time inflated by a major diploma. For instance, if the posted wait time for Journey into Creativeness is quarter-hour, however the precise wait time is nevertheless lengthy it takes to stroll by an empty queue (3-4 minutes), the posted wait time is 5 occasions the precise wait.

On paper, that’s actually dangerous. It’s objectively worse than the aforementioned headliners in pure share phrases. Nonetheless, subjectively or as a matter of notion, that’s most likely not the case. Most affordable company–and particularly seasoned Walt Disney World guests–view quarter-hour or much less as shorthand for “mainly no wait.” So it thus comes as little shock that the precise wait time is actually nothing. It could come as an even bigger shock to see a 5-15 minute posted wait time and truly wait 20 minutes.

Over the course of the final 2 years, our expertise throughout all of Walt Disney World has been that precise wait occasions common about two-thirds to 75% of posted wait occasions many of the day. That drops to round 50% at night time, if not decrease. These are averages; we’ve waited considerably much less and even typically greater than posted wait occasions, too.

Furthermore, that is completely anecdotal and primarily based on our first-hand experiences, however they’re fairly intensive at this level. We’d love to listen to generalizations from different common Walt Disney World guests about posted v. precise wait occasions within the 2 years and past within the feedback.

This background information is simply good data to have that may show you how to plan and construct itineraries. It must also illustrate how inflated posted wait occasions are literally mutually helpful for the corporate and company. Effectively, at the least they’re to anybody who’s conscious that posted wait occasions are exaggerated (and who doesn’t use DAS).

That is data you’ll be able to leverage to your strategic benefit–see the above Seven Dwarfs Mine Practice at park closing, for instance. We point out this as a result of in the previous couple of weeks we’ve obtained a ton of reader complaints about inflated posted wait occasions. It’s not unusual to get feedback about these, however often it’s in a matter-of-fact and even optimistic manner. Extra lately, it’s been cynical and unfavourable.

Lightning Lanes have added a brand new wrinkle to this dialog about posted v. precise wait occasions at Walt Disney World. (As all the time, when you’re new to paid FastPass, begin by studying our Information to Genie+ at Walt Disney World & Lightning Lane FAQ.) In any case, if company are paying for Genie+ or ILL to skip a line, don’t they should understand how lengthy that wait really is?

The angle amongst some followers has been that Walt Disney World simply began inflating wait occasions with Genie+ to encourage company to purchase that and Particular person Lightning Lanes. Folks have indicated they’d be mad in the event that they paid to skip the road after which discovered the precise wait time was half what was posted. Others have questioned whether or not Disney had an obligation to get rid of inflated wait occasions or threat claims of fraud, client deception, false promoting, and so forth.

I perceive that lots of you hate Genie+ and Lightning Lanes–going from free to paid FastPass sucks. But it surely’s sufficient to dislike it on precept, and never attempt to concoct different causes to detest Lightning Lanes. There’s no have to pile on, I promise. Particularly within the case of posted v. precise wait occasions the place it sorta looks like throwing the child out with the bathwater.

However, it might appear that Walt Disney World has heard this criticism, as the next is included within the phrases & situations of Genie+ that company can learn earlier than shopping for:

After all, nobody goes to truly learn all of this legalese moreover bloggers and different dorks. (No offense, my fellow dorks.) That’s precisely the purpose, and arguably the aim of “efficient” phrases & situations–lavatory them down with boring boilerplate language and make them tedious to learn…so nobody does!

This could reply the questions on Walt Disney World’s intentions to proceed inflating wait occasions. Fairly merely, the apply is just too vital operationally and integral to visitor satisfaction to cease doing it now. The elevated transparency to potential patrons of Genie+ doesn’t transfer the needle. And admittedly, it shouldn’t.

In the end, that is merely CYA language from Disney and isn’t meant to be delivered to the eye of common company. There’s actually no want to take action, because the majority of individuals buying Genie+ or Particular person Lightning Lanes won’t ever have any clue as to the posted wait time that they bypassed. The entire aim in shopping for is to save lots of time; individuals aren’t going to undercut that by standing outdoors the trip exit and polling others as they depart about how lengthy they waited.

Overanalyzing the variations between precise and posted wait occasions is solely the area of dorks on the web. Common park company don’t care past the happiness in saving time, whether or not that consequence from spending cash to bypass the road or “beating” the system by not splurging and nonetheless not ready so long as marketed. On the plus aspect, us dorks have a strategic benefit in understanding how all of this really works, leveraging it to our benefit, and persevering with to go to Walt Disney World extra effectively. Let’s not get too vocally unfavourable a few apply that advantages us, capisce?

Planning a Walt Disney World journey? Find out about motels on our Walt Disney World Motels Evaluations web page. For the place to eat, learn our Walt Disney World Restaurant Evaluations. To economize on tickets or decide which kind to purchase, learn our Ideas for Saving Cash on Walt Disney World Tickets put up. Our What to Pack for Disney Journeys put up takes a singular take a look at intelligent objects to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Experience Guides will assist. For complete recommendation, the most effective place to begin is our Walt Disney World Journey Planning Information for all the pieces it’s worthwhile to know!


What do you consider Walt Disney World’s apply of inflating wait occasions? Suppose they need to be extra correct to precise waits, or do you perceive the rationales for inflating them–and respect the strategic benefit it confers on educated company? What has been your expertise with precise v. posted wait occasions at Walt Disney World? Do you agree or disagree with my evaluation? Any questions we might help you reply? Listening to your suggestions–even whenever you disagree with us–is each fascinating to us and useful to different readers, so please share your ideas beneath within the feedback!

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