The Walt Disney World parks first reopened to Guests back in mid-July, with reduced capacity as well as other safety and health protocols put into place. As months passed, the theme parks (though still under the same reduced capacity as they were in July) are getting busier and busier — Guests are flocking back to Main Street U.S.A. and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, and wait times for attractions seem to be becoming steadily increased.
Though several Guests seem excited to be back in the parks (and more comfortable traveling than they may have been this summer), these new crowds come as a shock to many. If compared to when Disney World first reopened, the comparison is black and white.
In July, most attractions were practically walk-ons across all four theme parks and the crowd levels were little to none. This is more than likely due to the fact that there were several travel restrictions in place, we were still in the peak of the pandemic, and many were still working from home and under quarantine and shelter-in-place orders.
However, now with people slowly getting back to work, many states lifting some of the quarantine and travel restrictions, comfort with travel increasing, and many people eager to get back to a bit of normalcy, the parks are drawing in more and more Guests. So even though the parks are still operating at a reduced capacity of approximately 25%, the theme parks seem more crowded simply because many more people want to get out and visit the Most Magical Place on Earth than they did back in July and August.
When it comes to the crowd levels in the theme parks, some don’t seem to mind while others are worried the crowds are too much during the pandemic. So, here at Inside the Magic we put together some pros and cons to these new Disney World crowds. Let’s take a look.
Keep in mind that traveling to Walt Disney World or any theme park should be a decision you make based on your own personal comfort level.
So normally, we would start with the pros, however, when listing both sides — we came to realize there may be actually more pros than cons to the recent Disney World crowds. Surprised?
Well, before we dive into why these crowds are actually a good thing, let’s take a look at why some may be a bit hesitant to visit Disney World after seeing the crowd levels.
Difficulty maintaining social distancing
With so many Guests now walking in high volume areas, such as Main Street, U.S.A. or near “it’s a small world” and Peter Pan’s Flight in Magic Kingdom, some are finding it hard to maintain social distancing. With longer wait times for attractions (which are still socially distanced), lines are now forming outside of the queue area and into other parts of the park.
For example, just the other day, the line for Splash Mountain in Frontierland was all the way by the entrance to Adventureland near Pirates of the Caribbean. Because of this, it can make it harder for Guests, who are just walking by, to maintain a safe physical distance from one another (recommended at least six feet between parties).
Park reservations hard to come by
With more and more people wanting to visit Walt Disney World, it may become harder for some to snag a required Disney Park Pass reservation for specific parks. For example, Disney’s Hollywood Studios is easily one of the most high-demand parks ever since Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway opened up. For many of the days throughout the remainder of 2020, Disney’s Hollywood Studios is already booked up with no availability left for Guests.
Deceiving with wait times
With more and more Guests flocking to the theme parks, and with no parades, fireworks, or certain shows, Guests are lining up to ride their favorite attractions, causing wait times to increase.
On October 1, the average wait times for Magic Kingdom ranged from 25-55 minutes and the average wait times for Disney’s Hollywood Studios ranged from 30-60 minutes. However, something very important to keep in mind is that several Guests are saying that the amount of time they actually wait is about half of the posted time.
Without the famous red cards Disney used pre-pandemic to calculate wait times and with lines being socially distanced, the wait times seem much longer than they actually are. And even though you will likely wait for less time than the My Disney Experience app says, those deceiving wait times may affect how you decide to spend your time in the parks.
So, when we say “the crowd levels at Disney World May actually be good thing,” you most likely immediately questioned us. Well, keep an open mind and then you can let us know your thoughts.
Back to normal?
Though being inside the theme parks with little to no crowds was incredible, seeing Guests eager to go back to the theme parks is a nice sight to see — it is back to a bit of normalcy after several months of quarantine and the pandemic.
Good for the company and Cast Members
With all of these Guests coming to Disney World once again, it is good for the company. With more and more people traveling to visit the Most Magical Place on Earth, it is bringing in revenue for The Walt Disney Company after loosing so much during the temporary closures.
This is also good news because with the recent announcement of Disney laying off 28,000 Cast Members, the more revenue Disney brings in and the more demand there is for the theme parks, (presumably) the more Cast they can keep on staff.
No cases linked to Walt Disney World
A recent report from The Orlando Sentinel, COVID-19 cases have continuously dropped and even reached a sustained low percentage. So what does this mean for Disney World? Well, it lends many to believe that that all of the safety measures put in place are working!
And on top of this, there have not been any major COVID-19 outbreaks directly linked to Walt Disney World Resort, which again, means that everything Disney is doing to keep their Guests safe — social distancing, hand sanitizer, plexiglass dividers, etc. — is likely to be working.
Remember, wait times aren’t actually as long as they seem
Without Disney’s FastPass+ system, the lines for the attractions move at a steady pace. When Disney World had its FastPass+ system up and running, the regular queue line would stop periodically for short lengths of time, in order to tend to those Guests who had secured a FastPass+ time.
By standing still for short periods of time, it could put people at high risk — Therefore, Disney eliminated the FastPass+ system and allows Guests to continuously walk through the queue and onto the attraction as quickly and efficiently as possible.
And remember, even with the wait times posted at almost an hour long for some attractions, several Guests are saying that the amount of time they actually wait is about half of the posted time.
So how do you feel about the crowds at Disney World? Do you still plan on visiting the Walt Disney World Resort in the near future? Let us know in the comments below.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Inside the Magic overall.
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