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College Publications

Calories Don’t Count at Disney!

From left: club advisor Patty Kiernan, with students Shayne Judge, Alyssa Capone, Lauren Sutphen and Claudia Brzoza.

An MCC student club, “Middlesex, Math and the Mouse,” recently visited the Disney attractions in Florida for research purposes. They have been investigating ways to use statistics to predict wait times for rides, and in the fall semester, heard from Len Testa, who has written books on the subject. The club was created to provide students a nonthreatening, practical application of material taught in Statistics courses at MCC by allowing students to analyze and gather real data at Walt Disney World. Club members learned there’s no reason to count calories when you’re on vacation there. The data suggest that adult women can eat over 3,700 calories per day and lose weight, if they are over 150 lbs. and spend six hours actively touring the parks. Another research project involved predicting the wait times of lines and creating a plan to avoid waiting in the longest ones. The club members were able to complete a challenge of four parks in one day, which requires visits to all four parks and completion of at least two-thirds of the major attractions in each park in less than 12 hours. The club is in the process of creating a searchable database that will allow students and faculty to access all of the data gathered from the trip. The group enjoyed the visit and fundraising for another one has already started.