It’s no secret that Walt Disney World is one of — if not the most — visited places in the world. Guests come from all different countries just to get a glimpse of Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom. But the time of year can impact exactly how many individuals are visiting the theme park at any given time.
For example, the summer months and the holiday season are easily the most crowded times of the year, while January typically is one of the least crowded months. Additionally, when the Walt Disney World theme parks reopened to the public in mid-July 2020, the company also announced they would be operating under a limited capacity with no FastPass system in place, unlike how it was prior to the pandemic.
With all of this being said, wait times have been one of the most common things on people’s minds when trying to decide if they want to visit Walt Disney World.
During the 2020 holiday season, the theme parks saw a lot of crowds, including hitting the limited capacity on several different days. With the number of people in the parks, and with FastPass+ still suspended, Guests saw higher wait times at the theme parks — Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and EPCOT — than they expected.
However, after the holidays came to an end, the wait times started to decrease.
In fact, earlier this year, around January 20, 2021, we reported that some of the more popular attractions at Walt Disney World, such as Pirates of the Caribbean and Space Mountain in Magic Kingdom, Soarin’ Around the World in EPCOT, and Star Tours – The Adventures Continue in Disney’s Hollywood Studios all had average wait times that were decently short, all clocking in at about a 15-minute wait each. This was pretty surprising for many as on a typical day, these popular attractions can see wait times as long as an hour — or even longer!
Other attractions such as Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom, Test Track at EPCOT, and Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, were all averaging a 30-35 minute wait time.
However, as we get further into 2021, it looks as though more people are beginning to visit the theme parks as average wait times are beginning to increase. Keep in mind, though, that capacity is still limited.
As you can see in the screenshots below, the wait times for attractions such as Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train on February 5 are clocking in at 45-60 minutes.
And as we continue to check My Disney Experience, these numbers continue to increase.
It is important to note that with new safety measures and social distancing measures, wait times at Walt Disney World can sometimes be unpredictable. Ever since the phased reopening began in mid-July, Disney World has implemented several different protocols at their theme parks — Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and EPCOT — in order to operate safely amid the pandemic. One of these included social distancing in ride queues.
Additionally, Disney World used to predict ride wait times with a red card, which was given to a Guest at random and clocked how long said Guest waited before boarding. But, with the current pandemic, the red card system is not in place. Therefore, Disney has to estimate the wait time based on the queue, which is also socially distanced.
All of this being said, please keep in mind that if you are visiting the Walt Disney World theme parks in the near future, at this time wait times can be a bit unpredictable. We actually tested how long wait times actually were compared to the posted wait times on our recent visit in January, which you can read more about here.
If you want to visit Disney World on your next family vacation, but need help planning, don’t hesitate to reach out to our friends at Academy Travel — get started today!