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It is the #1 Worst Week of 2023 at Disney World!


It’s official! Between Christmas and New Yr’s Eve has surpassed the entire “competitors” to assert the crown because the #1 worst week of 2023 at Walt Disney World. This publish covers the astronomical attendance and horrible triple-digit wait instances proper now at Walt Disney World, plus Genie+ promoting out in two parks for the primary time ever, together with commentary about crowding.

Let’s begin by speaking crowds. As famous, we’re within the midst of what is going to nearly definitely go down because the worst week of 2023 when all is claimed and performed. It’s presently #1, simply forward of the very first week of the 12 months. To that time, the present crowd situations will proceed into early 2024, which is why the entire large modifications don’t take impact till January 9. Like final 12 months, the primary week of 2024 will most likely be worse than the week main as much as Christmas.

It’s solely half over, however the present week has a mean wait time of 56 minutes and a crowd stage of 10/10. That’s 2 minutes worse than the primary week of January, however 5 minutes behind the identical week final 12 months. Nevertheless, the typical wait time continues to be rising and can seemingly slim the hole by the point New Yr’s Eve rolls round.

Midway by way of the day yesterday, we reported that December 27, 2023 was tied on the time for the busiest day of the 12 months (with January 3, 2023). At that time, we indicated that wait instances had most likely peaked for the day, and we anticipated the typical dip again to 64 minutes.

That was incorrect! Wait instances didn’t drop–they elevated by one other 2 minutes. In the long run, December 27 went down because the busiest day of 2023 and is tied for the busiest day within the final 365–with December 29, 2022. That’s truly the best/worst wait time we’ve on report within the post-reopening period.

Nevertheless, the day continues to be younger and there’s a shot for in the present day (December 28, 2023) to surpass yesterday. The present common is “solely” 63 minutes, however that quantity nonetheless seems to be rising. Sufficient for it to surpass yesterday? That appears unlikely to me, however I’ve already been improper about that pattern as soon as within the final two days.

In any case, day-after-day for the remainder of this week/12 months has an opportunity of being the busiest of the week/complete 12 months. In equity, we warned you that crowd ranges can be 10+/10 this week! Right here’s a take a look at simply how unhealthy present wait instances are at Walt Disney World:

For these protecting rating at dwelling, there are presently 8 sights with wait instances at or above 2 hours. There are one other 4 rides with triple-digit waits. Add to that 16 extra sights with hour-plus wait instances.

Most notable of those is Avatar Flight of Passage with a 280 minute wait time. That’s, uh, rather a lot! It’s even greater than the height we noticed yesterday, which was 260 minutes. Each days, Flight of Passage beat the competitors by 100 minutes! Nevertheless, this truly is just not a report for the attraction. In line with the DTB archives, Avatar Flight of Passage had a 6-hour wait time again in 2019. (It has had 200+ minute wait instances on so many events that we don’t even preserve rely. That is, sadly, not irregular.)

That is clearly very unhealthy and we really feel for caught in these strains. That’s particularly the case in the case of households who’ve heard Disney executives communicate for the final couple of years about how the reservation system prevents overcrowding, and deliberate a visit on that foundation. Regardless that this week is a traditionally busy time and that’s “frequent information” to Disney followers, not everybody is aware of that. There are lots of people who nonetheless mistakenly suppose that greater costs equals decrease crowds!

As we’ve mentioned at size on many events–most notably in Disney Doesn’t Need Decrease Crowds–that is false. That title just about says all of it; not one of the firm’s insurance policies or modifications made underneath the guise of prevented overcrowding have been for that objective. Not now, not previously, and never sooner or later. There are all the time for optimization.

If Walt Disney World may have each greater crowds and better spending, they’d completely take each. The week between Christmas and New Yr’s Eve is Exhibit A on this argument each single 12 months, and it’s actually astounding to me that we preserve having this debate. There’s a standard viewpoint that worth will increase are truly good as a result of they lower attendance and assist minimize crowds. That’s inaccurate. This can be a go-to line when elevating ticket costs, and one which has been mindlessly parrotted by a sure subset of Walt Disney World followers.

We’ve got rejected this attitude time and time once more. For one factor, there may be ample proof on the contrary, as attendance has elevated by thousands and thousands of visitors per 12 months within the pre-closure decade. For one more, if Disney desires to cut back crowds, there are methods to perform that–constructing extra sights or not taking 84 years to open a cloned curler coaster in an in any other case empty warehouse. In actuality, Disney has little need to cut back attendance–they wish to “optimize” wait instances, staffing, and pricing.

Simply placing this rationalization right here, as soon as once more, so I can share this hyperlink the following time somebody praises worth will increase within the feedback or requests extra of them to cut back crowds. (Sure, that may be a factor that folks truly say!) Anyway.

Talking of upper costs, listed below are the costs for Genie+ at Walt Disney World for December 28, 2023:

  • A number of Parks (legitimate with Park Hopper tickets): $39
  • Magic Kingdom: $39
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios: $35
  • EPCOT: $32
  • Animal Kingdom: $29

These record-high quantities began on December 23 and we count on these exact worth factors to proceed by way of New Yr’s Eve. On January 1, 2024, it’s seemingly the max worth will fall again to $29. Don’t be shocked if Genie+ sells out a number of instances within the days and week to come back regardless of the report excessive costs.

Regardless of the report excessive costs, December 28, 2023 is the primary time ever that Genie+ has offered out at Animal Kingdom. It’s additionally offered out at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for the second time ever…and second consecutive day!

I discussed this again when the change was made to per-park pricing, nevertheless it was my understanding on the time that ‘points’ with Animal Kingdom final 12 months at Christmas have been truly a major motivation for the transfer to per-park pricing. Not the one motive Walt Disney World did it, however certainly one of many elements.

Mainly, Animal Kingdom does a nasty job of dealing with crowds as a result of it has so few headliners and since folks typically arrive late and go away early. Consequently, there’s inadequate capability for the height hours when the park is packed. That’s why Animal Kingdom oscillates between having very low and really excessive crowds–as soon as it reaches a sure tipping level, the park is a nightmare. Earlier than that, it’s normally comparatively manageable. It needs to be self-evident that the purpose was reached in the present day.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a considerably related story, besides with extra capability but additionally extra demand. Its prime heavy lineup is why it averages the best wait instances (by far) in all of Walt Disney World. This dynamic at each parks can be why they are often surprisingly simple to strategize–folks hit a wall at each and head for the exits because of this. We’ve mentioned that in numerous crowd experiences, although.

As I’m scripting this, Genie+ has not but offered out for Magic Kingdom and EPCOT. Judging by Lightning Lane availability, I’d be shocked if both did. I presently see choices for almost each headliner in each parks (a part of that’s that I seem to have hit a experience reservation refill time at EPCOT). Magic Kingdom being open till midnight additionally helps on the capability facet.

As beforehand talked about, the following two weeks or so will see peak season plus attendance, with crowd ranges of 10+/10, for lack of a greater time period. That will not make full sense, however final 12 months’s peak week between Christmas and New Yr’s Eve is an effective illustration. December 20 was a ten/10 crowd stage day with a mean wait time of 54 minutes–that was just one minute greater than a 9/10 crowd stage. In contrast, December 29 was the worst day of final 12 months, additionally with a ten/10 crowd stage however a mean wait time of 67 minutes.

That’s a 13 minute unfold–which is completely huge–however the very same crowd stage. Nowhere else on the dimensions (besides, I assume, 1/10 because it may theoretically begin at 0 minutes–however that by no means occurs in apply) has that vary. Normally a crowd stage has a variety of some minutes earlier than it strikes up or down. Not 10/10. It may be 54 minutes, 67 minutes, 80 minutes, and so forth. Therefore the ten+/10 crowd stage.

Hope that is smart. Even when not, the salient level is that there are various levels of ‘unhealthy’ crowds and that 10/10 isn’t a static stage of awfulness. Proper now’s fairly unhealthy, however subsequent week will nearly definitely be approach worse. On the plus facet, the parks can be working in ‘most effectivity’ mode, which presents extra alternatives for beating the crowds for those who’re prepared to work a bit.

We’d as soon as once more advocate studying Making the Most of Midnight in Magic Kingdom & Beating Peak Season Crowds! That’s a current publish that I put a ton of labor into primarily based on my midnight expertise, and it was comparatively ignored by readers. The guidelines there can prevent a ton of time and stress for those who’re visiting Walt Disney World within the subsequent two weeks.

It’ll be attention-grabbing to see what number of days Genie+ sells out between now and January 6, 2024. My earlier guess was 3-4, with the entire promote outs occurring later within the week as NYE attracts nearer and crowds crescendo.

Genie+ promoting out regardless of greater costs truly shouldn’t be a shock. For one factor, there’s a certain quantity of worth inelasticity in the case of paid line-skipping. Most visitors who don’t balk on the $35 worth level are also unlikely to be dissuaded from shopping for the service when it’s priced at $39. That’s particularly true of tourists who pay peak season costs to go to Walt Disney World–they’re much less prone to be cost-sensitive (in the event that they have been, they’d select cheaper dates within the first place).

There’s additionally the sensible actuality that Genie+ is extra helpful when crowds are greater. As we’ve mentioned beforehand, there’s a “candy spot” for getting the Genie+ service, and you’re arguably higher off skipping it in favor of superior technique when costs are highest as a consequence of lack of Lightning Lane availability (see When to Skip Genie+ at Walt Disney World).

Nevertheless, that’s not precisely intuitive to lots of people who aren’t savvy planners. Generally, the extra visitors see longer wait instances, the extra seemingly they’re to wish to skip these standby strains. Worse wait instances creates a better incentive for bypassing strains, which means greater uptake of Genie+ even when it prices extra. Demand for beating crowds will increase as crowds enhance, and as such, Genie+ will all the time be hottest when it’s costliest. That’s true even when its benefit is considerably illusory in 10/10 crowds, since availability worsens and so too do the Lightning Lane return strains.

Planning a Walt Disney World journey? Study lodges on our Walt Disney World Inns 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 publish. Our What to Pack for Disney Journeys publish takes a novel take a look at intelligent objects to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Journey Guides will assist. For complete recommendation, the most effective place to start out is our Walt Disney World Journey Planning Information for the whole lot it’s worthwhile to know!

YOUR THOUGHTS

What do you consider Genie+ setting a brand new all-time report excessive worth of $39? In the event you’re visiting throughout the week of New Yr’s Eve, what’s the utmost worth you’ll pay for the line-skipping service? Ideas on our perspective that demand for Genie+ will proceed to be highest on the busiest/costliest days? Every other issues we didn’t take note of or particulars we missed/received improper? Do you agree or disagree with my evaluation? Any questions we can assist you reply? Listening to your suggestions–even whenever you disagree with us–is each attention-grabbing to us and useful to different readers, so please share your ideas under within the feedback!