When Walt Disney World Resort reopened after its temporary pandemic-related closure in July 2020, it was with a number of noticeable changes.
Guests age 2 and up are now required to wear face masks (unless actively eating or drinking in a stationary position), social distancing is enforced, and certain experiences — such as nighttime fireworks spectaculars — remain suspended.
Furthermore, Walt Disney World’s four theme parks — Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios — are all operating at limited capacity at this time. In November, when Disney executives last updated Guests, capacity was at 35% (it was set at 25% when the theme parks opened last summer). There has not been an announced capacity increase since then.
Now, however, as officials look ahead to Walt Disney World Resort’s 50th anniversary celebration, which begins on October 1, 2021, they might be eyeing a major capacity increase over the summer months.
In a recent interview with CNN’s State of the Union, top Biden administration medical advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci, shared details about what Americans can expect by July 4 if the current downward trajectory of COVID-19 — and increased vaccine rollout — continues in its current direction.
Fauci indicated that a “considerable degree of normalcy” can be anticipated. He stated:
“If by the time we get to the Fourth of July, with the rollout of the vaccine, we get the level of infection so low – I’m not going to be able to tell you exactly what the specific guidelines of the [United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] are, but I can tell you for sure [restrictions/guidelines] will be much more liberal than they are right now about what you can do.”
It is important to note, of course, that Disney has not confirmed anything about relaxed guidelines by the height of summer. However, Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek and other high-ranking Disney executives have frequently espoused that the company’s theme parks are abiding by CDC regulations.
Thus, it serves to reason that if the CDC relaxes its pandemic guidelines, the Disney Parks are likely to relax their guidelines, too — and capacity at Walt Disney World Resort could increase significantly.
A noticeable summer capacity increase would be beneficial for Disney for a few reasons — it would allow them to gauge Guest reactions to more people in the parks, it would give Cast Members time to readjust to working in fuller theme parks before the 50th anniversary begins, and it would allow Disney’s brass to make any necessary adjustments prior to capitalizing on large crowds for The World’s Most Magical Celebration.
Remember, if you plan to visit Walt Disney World Resort this year, you will need a valid park ticket or Annual Pass and a Disney Park Pass reservation for entry. At this time, Park Pass requirements have been extended into 2023.
The Disney Springs shopping and dining district does not require a reservation for entry, but does have a capacity limit. If you are interested in eating a specific Disney Springs restaurant, check that establishment’s policies regarding table reservations.
What do you think? Should Disney World capacity increase this summer?
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