When the Wait in Line is a Crime: Disney CSI+

When the Wait in Line is a Crime: Disney CSI+

The biggest guest complaint at Disney Parks is how long the waits are. Guests are always wondering how they can enjoy the experience without getting worn out waiting for one ride after another. Tools such as the Disney app showing wait times, or Touring Plans can direct guests as to where to go next when they are in the parks. But those tools don’t always offer context as to what is happening that creates that wait time. And sometimes those tools are simply not accurate. How do you determine that accuracy? With decades of experience being in these parks I wanted to present a simple tool for thinking through all this. I present Disney CSI+. Disney CSI+ stands for the following: Capacity, Schedule, Interest & Genie+. We will present the issues to each of these in a simple way that you can identify for yourself what attractions will easily be walk ons and which ones are going to involve serious consideration as to when to ride. Disney CSI+ will give you the key concepts and principles that will help you make better “in the moment” decisions.

This conversation is timely, as we have worked with organizations big and small to consider how they can save their customers time. It’s one of the major processes that really trip up a customer experience. At  Performance Journeys, we work with organizations in the public, private and non-profit sector to help give their customers the gift of time. We can help your organization as well. The concepts presented in this podcast are an outline of the kinds of improvements we can help you make. Call us and let’s chat.

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Here are images, videos and an outline that support today’s podcast:


Capacity is simply how many people can ride this attraction at any given time.

Here are important issues with Capacity:

THRC. THRC stands for Theoretical Hourly Ride Capacity. If you have the attraction running at full throttle, how many can it hold? What is its ideal capacity? A simple example of this is Dumbo. We spoke in a previous video about how the number of arms on Dumbo have changed over the years. Add two spinners at Magic Kingdom or double rows like in Aladdin’s Magic Carpet Ride, and the THRC changes.

Upkeep. Conversely, a ride like Spaceship Earth can run 2400 an hour and assuming other factors aren’t in play, can handle quite a few guests. Assuming as well that the attraction is kept in good upkeep.

Going 101 & Other Challenges. When a ride can’t operate for mechanical you can have what’s called Going 101. Going 102 is when it’s back up and running. Rise of the Resistance had big challenges in the first couple of years with going 101. And the time it takes to go back to 102 can dramatically impact issues around capacity.

Weather. Weather in the area can impact some attractions (lightning strikes in the air on Dumbo, you can have It can fluctuate depending on the time of day and the kind of ride experience/attraction it is.

Guests with Special Needs. A guest in a wheelchair boarding a Jungle Cruise boat can impact dramatically the length of time waiting. “it’s a small world” has a THRC of around 3000, but with getting guests with mobility challenges in and out can slow down that number considerably. Conversely, when Toy Story Mania was created, they created a separate boarding area for guests with mobility challenges. Doing so dramatically reduces its impact on the Capacity of the ride.

Loading area design for accommodating those with mobility challenges.


Schedule means many things, but they can all make an impact on how long your wait time is. Consider these factors:

Time of Year. How many people are in the park? That should be more about interest than schedule, but peak holiday and vacation periods means the parks are open earlier and/or stay open later. This means more people are able to get through than before because the schedule has changed.

Guests entering Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

Park Schedule. Conversely, a Mickey Not So Scary Halloween Party pushes more people through attractions during a smaller operational day, making those attractions more heavily visited. Also, Guests staying on Disney property have 30 minute earlier access to park attractions before other Guests do. That impacts your ability to get on an attraction with little wait time when so many were scheduled to go ahead of you.

Annual Pass Availability. Everything changes when you schedule more or less annual pass holders. This can dramatically impact most weekends. At the same time, when more levels of pass holders are blocked out, it can considerably free up attractions that you might not think would have been so easy to walk on.

Ramping Up and Down. Jungle Cruise opens at the beginning of the official park opening time, but that doesn’t mean all their boats are out and running. Big Thunder Mountain may start with one or two trains, and then bring in more trains within the next hour or so. Conversely, The Country Bear Jamboree or Liberty Riverboat may close well in advance of the official park closing.

Maintenance Schedule. Obviously if they are going through an annual maintenance, that will impact your ability to visit. But sometimes the maintenance or down time of one attraction dramatically impacts other attractions nearby. For instance, Splash Mountain would go down around the first of the year during colder months for an annual rehab. That downtime created much longer waits next door at Big Thunder Mountain.


Do you want to go on this ride? Some attractions are popular because

  • They Are Brand New--Rise of the Resistance is a great example of that. So is Guardians and Tron, which is why so many of these new attractions are put on Virtual Queues. The demand is so high that the wait would go throughout the park for hours if left as a physical queue.
  • Guests Are In The Area. The back of World Showcase earlier in the day or towards the back of Asia where Expedition Everest can be empty at earlier times of day. There simply aren’t that many guests in the area interested in riding.
  • They are Favorites Guests Return To. Classics like Pirates of the Caribbean or even the PeopleMover can impact how many guests are interested visiting.
Previous queuing system for “it’s a small world”
  • Other Activities Occurring: Are fireworks happening? Is there a parade going on? Those events can draw people out of attractions and onto the streets, creating a lesser wait.

+–Genie Plus

Of course there is Genie Plus. This includes considering for the following:

Pricing. This fluctuates throughout the year, and impacts a family’s decision to buy or not.

Time of Year. More people taking advantage of Genie Plus can impact this during greater attended periods.

DAS and VIP Groups. These take advantage of the same Genie Plus systems and can dramatically impact demand on the system.

Virtual Queues. The ability to mobilize and make an appointed reservation can impact how many ultimately ride.

By the way, even if you use Genie+, Disney CSI+ is still a useful way to determine which ride to book when.

Put It All Together

Let’s consider the CSI+ of a few attractions found throughout Walt Disney World:

  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom
    • The attraction opening at the beginning of the day with Disney resort guests
    • How many trains operating at the beginning of the day?
    • Number of people using Genie+
    • Ability of VIP and DAS groups to visit at the beginning and end of the day
    • Interest once fireworks are under way
  • Olaf Meet ‘n’ Greet
    • Opening & closing times
    • Number of people using Genie+
    • How recently Frozen Sing-Along just let out
    • Number of friends Olaf has
  • Expedition Everest
    • Time of year & time of day
    • Thunderstorms
    • Number of people using Genie+
    • Your flexibility in riding solo
  • Soarin’ at Epcot
    • Number of people using Genie+
    • Number of theaters open
    • Flow of Guests in World Nature area

In the months to come, we’ll visit all of the Disney parks and talk about different attractions. We’ll use a rating system to identify those that are most popular and those that have the best capacities. Together we’ll help you think through in the moment how to best save time waiting for attractions while in the parks.

Please Share

What is the one ride you hate to wait for? Perhaps you love the ride, but the wait is too much. Please join our Disney Insights Facebook Page and share! We would love to hear from you. I’ll join the conversation and perhaps share with you some tips for how to better save time from waiting so long for that favorite attraction. Join us at Disney Insights Facebook Page!

J. Jeff Kober

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