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PirateLover
01-23-2014, 11:58 AM
My DH and I noticed on our recent marathon weekend trip that many of the posted wait times both on the My Disney Experience app and at rides themselves were way off. The first day, we used the app to actively avoid rides with long waits, until we ran out of things to do and decided to wait in a 45 minute line for Pirates. We were on the boat in about 10 minutes. From that point on we started paying closer attention to posted times vs. how long we actually waited. Yes, sometimes in the past we have run into this, but never this consistently. I would say 95% of the posted times were much higher than the actual wait. The worst offender was Fantasyland. Posted times were never less than 20 minutes, but quite often rides were walk-ons, with Little Mermaid and Dumbo being the worst offenders. These rides already had 25 minute wait times posted shortly after park opening, but were walk-ons. We actually had an entire Dumbo flight to ourselves. Not trying to get conspiratorial here, but I have to point out this all coincided with the full Fast Pass+ rollout. Perhaps they are padding wait times on purpose to spread out the FP bookings? Has anyone else noticed this trend?

AgentC
01-23-2014, 12:06 PM
Over the last year I've noticed the wait times are frequently off in the Magic Kingdom. In most cases the wait times were overstated on certain rides. I've become used to judging the wait time by the lines. But it is not consistently off. I am not sure if it has to do with FP+, employee errors or if it is just used as a form of crowd control to funnel the crowd to different areas.

Strangely enough at Epcot I more frequently see the wait time understated. Maelstrom will have 15 minute wait listed when the line is back to Akershus.

PirateLover
01-23-2014, 12:17 PM
Over the last year I've noticed the wait times are frequently off in the Magic Kingdom. In most cases the wait times were overstated on certain rides. I've become used to judging the wait time by the lines. But it is not consistently off. I am not sure if it has to do with FP+, employee errors or if it is just used as a form of crowd control to funnel the crowd to different areas.

Strangely enough at Epcot I more frequently see the wait time understated. Maelstrom will have 15 minute wait listed when the line is back to Akershus.

Magic Kingdom was definitely the worst. At the Studios, we only noticed it once with Star Tours (Posted 20, walk-on), and then at Epcot with Living with the Land (Posted 25, walk-on) and Spaceship Earth (Posted 20, with a CM actually calling out that it was a walk-on and not to waste a Fast Pass)! Malestrom was accurate both times we rode, and we rode Soarin', Test Track, and Tower of Terror with Fast Passes so I can't speak to those times.

minnie04
01-23-2014, 12:26 PM
I did notice this also. Some of the wait times would say 5 minutes and when we walked up it would be much longer and vise versa. Like Buzz Lightyear said 30 minutes and it was less than 5 we walked right on. Maybe they forget to change the times when things slow down or pick up. Iím sure it has to do with the new FP+ they are probably just giving a window time just in case you get there and it's different. This way people might complain less. The thing that I was most surprised at was the "sold outĒ resorts. I was expecting a heavy crowd and it was so nice that there werenít that many people in the parks. Maybe they over anticipated on this long weekend and the wait times reflected that. Iím not complaining ..lol I loved the parks this last trip. We got to do everything we wanted..:mickey: :thumbsup:

larjani
01-23-2014, 12:45 PM
One thing I noticed is the wait time is where the sign is posted at that point. It's like if the line is starting there that is how long it will take to get to the ride. Is that what you noticed, or am I stating the obvious?

PirateLover
01-23-2014, 12:48 PM
One thing I noticed is the wait time is where the sign is posted at that point. It's like if the line is starting there that is how long it will take to get to the ride. Is that what you noticed, or am I stating the obvious?

I understand what you are saying, but no, these were not "from this point" wait times. They were listed on the My Disney Experience App as well.

MarkC
01-23-2014, 12:57 PM
We were there this past weekend and the OP is correct. Pirates was listed as 45 and it took 15-20. Jungle Cruise showed 25 and it was about 5. Star Tours listed as 20 and I walked on.

Crowds were heavy but I don't know why they don't update these correctly. For some people that probably changes their mind about whether to wait.

Gator
01-23-2014, 01:23 PM
On our last trip to WDW, I heard someone coming off Star Tours say "The app says Tower of Terror is a 60 minute wait." Well I had told my kids we were going to ride it next, so we headed over there. We had less than 5 minutes in the lobby and 5-10 minutes in the boiler room. A far cry from an hour.

With all of the people with the app, I wonder if it works counter productive. Everyone sees the app with a 60 minute wait at Dumbo, so everyone heads for the 15 minute line at Small World. Balances everything out, I'm guessing.

Aurora
01-23-2014, 01:34 PM
This is so weird. I came here to post that my brother is there right now and said the sign outside the Haunted Mansion says 45 minute wait, but the app says 20. Yesterday Soarin' said 120 minutes outside the ride but was listed at 40 minutes on the app. He doesn't know what to do now!

LandFan
01-23-2014, 09:02 PM
It would be an interesting unintended consequence - everyone going to other places once they see a high number making other places inaccurate as well...

CaptSmee
01-23-2014, 10:24 PM
This is so weird. I came here to post that my brother is there right now and said the sign outside the Haunted Mansion says 45 minute wait, but the app says 20. Yesterday Soarin' said 120 minutes outside the ride but was listed at 40 minutes on the app. He doesn't know what to do now!

I'm here right now as well & have not encountered this, however there seems to ALWAYS be a wait posted for the little mermaid ride & we have been able to walk on every time. I was also very skeptical of the 95 min posted wait for Tower of Terror when we used our FP+ it looked more like the length of a 30 min wait. Only thought I have is FP+ is anticipating visitors that have not arrived yet possibly but have a timeslot reserved?

1DisneyNut
01-23-2014, 10:52 PM
I would not be a bit surprised if they have the data links and server for the app wait times all messed up and it is running on an estimate routine.

As screwed up as everything associated with MyMagic and the MDE app has been it only makes sense that they have the wait time portion messed up as well.

Ian
01-23-2014, 11:10 PM
I actually have a theory on this ... it's obviously not scientific, just observational, but I think it makes sense.

In the past, Cast used to adjust the wait times based on where the end of the line in the queue was. In other words it was sort of done by "gut check."

Now, though, we all know they use those RFID cards they run through the line. So think about it ... by the time they put the card through the line and adjust the wait time people have already visually determined that the line is long and opted to go on something else. The line gradually decreases behind the card as it passes through the line. By the time the card wends its way through the say 30 minute line the actual wait time is now down to 15 minutes. But once the card arrives at the end the wait time is adjust to show the 30 minutes it took for the card to make it through the line!

So now people are looking going, "Oh that ride has a 30 minute wait ... we'll skip it for now." That makes the line get even shorter. So they put a new card through now, because the CM's have seen the line shorten. The sign updates to 10 minutes and the whole process starts all over again as people flock to the ride with the short wait time.

I actually think it's a fundamental flaw in the way they determine the wait times.

PirateLover
01-23-2014, 11:54 PM
Ian, I think your theory does makes a lot of sense, and is probably correct on the whole. The only thing is, on the day of the FP+ roll out at MK, we saw some of these times just 10 minutes after the park actually opened, when most of the rides were walk-ons. So at least to start with, I think they are just throwing inflated numbers up there.

Aurora
01-24-2014, 10:53 AM
Brother reports that yesterday at the MK the wait times were so unreliable that they stopped checking them. Some rides were 5 minute waits when it was posted that they were 30; others were 50 minutes when it was posted that they were 20. They had to eye the queues to try to figure out about how long they might wait.

He said Soarin' on Wednesday in the afternoon had a wait time of 2 hours, but they had FP+ for them; still, even with FP, they waited for 30 minutes.

WDWdriver
01-24-2014, 11:22 AM
Now, though, we all know they use those RFID cards they run through the line. So think about it ... by the time they put the card through the line and adjust the wait time people have already visually determined that the line is long and opted to go on something else. The line gradually decreases behind the card as it passes through the line. By the time the card wends its way through the say 30 minute line the actual wait time is now down to 15 minutes. But once the card arrives at the end the wait time is adjust to show the 30 minutes it took for the card to make it through the line!



Ian's theory is closest to the truth. In reality it is much more difficult to post an accurate wait time than you might imagine. Most attractions use the RFID card (CMs call it a Flik card) sent through the line to determine how long that guest waited. But there is more to it. First the time is rounded up to the next ten. So a wait of 21 minutes becomes 30. Now a factor is added to adjust for any fluctuations in the number of FP returns expected during the hour (let's say 10 minutes). So now that 21 minute wait has become 40.

And as Ian points out, things are happening behind that Flik card as it goes through the queue. Arriving guests make decisions to enter the queue or not depending on what they see posted from previous Flik card results. Also, the end of a show or parade can result in a flood of guests entering the queue which immediately invalidates the posted wait time. And, of course, any change in loading efficiency such as a ride stop or slowdowns for guests with disabilities can change the wait time.

As for some sort of "conspiracy" related to FP+, I doubt that anything like that is going on.

AgentC
01-24-2014, 12:00 PM
Thanks for the explanation Ron. That definitely explains inconsistencies in wait times. It's great to learn how they work. :)

Aurora
01-24-2014, 12:09 PM
Ian's theory is closest to the truth. In reality it is much more difficult to post an accurate wait time than you might imagine. Most attractions use the RFID card (CMs call it a Flik card) sent through the line to determine how long that guest waited. But there is more to it. First the time is rounded up to the next ten. So a wait of 21 minutes becomes 30. Now a factor is added to adjust for any fluctuations in the number of FP returns expected during the hour (let's say 10 minutes). So now that 21 minute wait has become 40.

And as Ian points out, things are happening behind that Flik card as it goes through the queue. Arriving guests make decisions to enter the queue or not depending on what they see posted from previous Flik card results. Also, the end of a show or parade can result in a flood of guests entering the queue which immediately invalidates the posted wait time. And, of course, any change in loading efficiency such as a ride stop or slowdowns for guests with disabilities can change the wait time.

As for some sort of "conspiracy" related to FP+, I doubt that anything like that is going on.

I really don't understand the point of the "rounding" and adding FP times. I hate to sound like an old fogey, but wait times seemed to work a lot better years ago, without the fancy technology, when people just carried a little plastic non-chipped card with them through the line. Obviously not foolproof, but the current system is useless.

A 20-minute discrepancy can be the difference between someone experiencing an attraction or not. It's supposed to help guests anticipate their wait, or help navigate their day; instead it's just frustrating people. I'm sorry, but how can I decide what to do if I don't know whether a 30-minute wait means 10 minutes or 50???

WDWdriver
01-24-2014, 01:09 PM
I really don't understand the point of the "rounding" and adding FP times.

The "point" lies somewhere between guest satisfaction and self preservation. If we posted a wait time of 21 minutes, guests would naturally expect a wait time of exactly that. But for all the reasons already stated in these posts the actual wait time for a newly arriving guest will be different, and could be much higher. Believe me, you do not want to be a CM in the ride loading area when guests have waited 45 minutes for a posted 21 minute wait time! The comments and glares are brutal. But when the actual wait is less than posted there are smiles instead of glares. People are actually happy that we were wrong.


...but the current system is useless.

Well, not exactly useless. Posted wait times are often reasonably accurate. The automated Flik card system can be over-ridden by Managers when the posted wait time is obviously wrong. Some managers are better than others about keeping it updated.

We hear rumors about sophisticated new wait time measuring systems that are in the works, but we haven't seen them yet.

PirateLover
01-24-2014, 01:48 PM
Thanks for the info Ron... hopefully they do find a better way to report more accurate times. In the past I have seen rides like Buzz with only a "5" minute posted wait, but saw none of that this time around, when there were plenty of walk-ons. That's why I found it noteworthy to post about. I really don't remember the times being so consistently over reported, but it could just be dumb luck. You are right that it's better to be over than under, as I can vividly remember the few times we got stuck in a line that we thought was short. Still, being more than 10 minutes off either direction should be unacceptable.

Aurora
01-24-2014, 02:16 PM
The "point" lies somewhere between guest satisfaction and self preservation. If we posted a wait time of 21 minutes, guests would naturally expect a wait time of exactly that. But for all the reasons already stated in these posts the actual wait time for a newly arriving guest will be different, and could be much higher. Believe me, you do not want to be a CM in the ride loading area when guests have waited 45 minutes for a posted 21 minute wait time! The comments and glares are brutal. But when the actual wait is less than posted there are smiles instead of glares. People are actually happy that we were wrong.


Ron, I totally get what you're saying. I've been in that situation. Got in the Soarin' line once when it said 70 minutes and the wait was actually 110. Since we missed our only chance to see Illuminations because of that discrepancy, we were bummed. (Of course we could have gotten out of line, but after waiting that long and thinking it's only going to be a few minutes more, it's hard to cut and run.)

The opposing problem, though, is when you're bypassing attractions that you think have a wait of 45 minutes when the actual wait is 20. Make that decision just a few times, like my brother would have yesterday if it hadn't been for posters on Intercot, and you're missing out on enjoying your vacation because of a management mistake.

Hopefully the rumors about updating the systems turn out to be true.

PopPhan
01-24-2014, 02:35 PM
This is so weird. I came here to post that my brother is there right now and said the sign outside the Haunted Mansion says 45 minute wait, but the app says 20. Yesterday Soarin' said 120 minutes outside the ride but was listed at 40 minutes on the app. He doesn't know what to do now!

Personal thought: Quit looking at either. If you go by the attraction and the line is long, the wait will be long; If the line is short, the wait should be short. We rely too much on "things" telling us what we should or should not do and think.

Rant over. :blush:

WDWdriver
01-24-2014, 02:38 PM
The opposing problem, though, is when you're bypassing attractions that you think have a wait of 45 minutes when the actual wait is 20. Make that decision just a few times, like my brother would have yesterday if it hadn't been for posters on Intercot, and you're missing out on enjoying your vacation because of a management mistake.


Yep. I totally understand the frustrations that can come from inaccurate wait times. And I'm not trying to defend the way times are posted nowadays. As PirateLover said above, being wrong by more than ten minutes either way should be unacceptable.

I'm just pointing out that predicting a guest's wait time is far more complicated than people think, particularly on those attractions where it is possible to have more than 1,000 people in the queue. And there is no obvious solution short of assigning a CM to monitor the line constantly and update the time based on his judgement of the current situation. Perhaps we should be doing that despite the manpower cost. But even that method is prone to error when the occasional ride stop (human induced or mechanical) interrupts the loading sequence.

Anyone want to make a million dollars? Just develop a foolproof wait time system and sell it to the theme parks around the world.

Main Street Jim
01-24-2014, 06:18 PM
Ian's theory is closest to the truth. In reality it is much more difficult to post an accurate wait time than you might imagine. Most attractions use the RFID card (CMs call it a Flik card) sent through the line to determine how long that guest waited. But there is more to it. First the time is rounded up to the next ten. So a wait of 21 minutes becomes 30. Now a factor is added to adjust for any fluctuations in the number of FP returns expected during the hour (let's say 10 minutes). So now that 21 minute wait has become 40.

And as Ian points out, things are happening behind that Flik card as it goes through the queue. Arriving guests make decisions to enter the queue or not depending on what they see posted from previous Flik card results. Also, the end of a show or parade can result in a flood of guests entering the queue which immediately invalidates the posted wait time. And, of course, any change in loading efficiency such as a ride stop or slowdowns for guests with disabilities can change the wait time.

As for some sort of "conspiracy" related to FP+, I doubt that anything like that is going on.Not only this, but, y ou get those guests that don't understand English when you ask them to hand the card to Cast Member at the loading area - or, you hand the card to that guest that even completely forgets that they have it with them, and *don't* hand it to the Cast Member at the end...then, that *next* Flik card comes through another 30 minutes later.

They're supposed to get sent through the line *every five minutes*. There is an "audible alarm" at most attractions reminding the *Cast Member* that it's time to send a card through. Then, there's a point where you run out of Flik cards out front, and you have to wait another 45 minutes for your coordinator to bring them back out....it goes on and on and on....

faline
01-24-2014, 07:52 PM
On our last trip, I was handed one of the cards that helps track what the wait times are as I entered the line for Peter Pan. The problem that was immediately apparent to me was that I entered the line through the fastpass+ line. That line later merges with the regular standby line but, of course, I got to merge much more quickly than those waiting in the standby line. As I handed the card to the cast member as we were boarding, I commented to my husband that I hoped they did not post wait times base on our cruise through the line as the wait time would then be vastly underestimated.

Main Street Jim
01-24-2014, 10:19 PM
On our last trip, I was handed one of the cards that helps track what the wait times are as I entered the line for Peter Pan. The problem that was immediately apparent to me was that I entered the line through the fastpass+ line. That line later merges with the regular standby line but, of course, I got to merge much more quickly than those waiting in the standby line. As I handed the card to the cast member as we were boarding, I commented to my husband that I hoped they did not post wait times base on our cruise through the line as the wait time would then be vastly underestimated.Correct me if I'm wrong, but, I *believe* that taking the Flik card through the FastPass line is totally separate from the stand-by line, and is not posted to guests. However, that time (that it takes through the FP line) *is* figured in to the total (current) stand-by wait time. So, if it took you, say, just three minutes to get through the FastPass line, that three minutes is added into the current stand-by wait time (because now the stand-by side was waiting for you to go through FP).

WDWdriver
01-25-2014, 09:48 AM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but, I *believe* that taking the Flik card through the FastPass line is totally separate from the stand-by line, and is not posted to guests.

True. There are two Flik card activation points at the attraction entrance, one for standby and the other for Fast Pass. So Flik cards are being carried through the queue on both sides. The one going through the standby line is the primary source of wait time information.

Ian
01-25-2014, 02:21 PM
There's a super easy explanation as to why wait time predictions used to be much more accurate than they are today .... it's Fastpass.

In the past, if you were in a line you were in a line. Only those in front of you in that line were going to get on the ride before you, thus, it was extraordinarily easy for the Cast to say, "The ride is operating at x throughput, we know that the line stops at y spot, which means there are z people in line ergo the wait time is ... "

But now the Fastpass line is completely random and unpredictable. You know people out there are holding FP's, but you don't really know when they'll come back. Makes it much harder to get an accurate read on the line.

CaptSmee
02-02-2014, 02:34 PM
Brother reports that yesterday at the MK the wait times were so unreliable that they stopped checking them. Some rides were 5 minute waits when it was posted that they were 30; others were 50 minutes when it was posted that they were 20. They had to eye the queues to try to figure out about how long they might wait.

He said Soarin' on Wednesday in the afternoon had a wait time of 2 hours, but they had FP+ for them; still, even with FP, they waited for 30 minutes.

If it took 30 mins with FP than yup, it prob would be a 2 hr wait in standby. There's always a wait for Soarin in the FP line, I've never waited that long but always something.