Walt Disney World draws crowds year after year as families around the world want to catch a glimpse of Cinderella Castle in person. And even with the current pandemic, Guests travel from all over to visit the Most Magical Place on Earth.
With a limited capacity currently in place at Disney World to keep Guests and Cast Members safe, some are wondering how busy the theme parks really are. Pictures surface on social media showing crowds gathering in certain areas of the theme park and without FastPass+ and with social distancing measures in place, the queue lines and wait times for certain attractions can seem unbearable.
Well, thanks to Thrill Data on Twitter, we can take a look at a side-by-side comparison showing just how long the average wait times were for each theme park pre-pandemic compared to what they are like now. You can see in the Tweet below, there are four different graphs that showcase average wait times from April 2019 through March 2021, except for April-June 2020 since the theme parks were closed during that period of time.
— Thrill Data (@ThrillData) March 20, 2021
Let’s break down these graphs by park so we can really see a side-by-side comparison of what wait times were like pre-pandemic compared to now.
When looking at Magic Kingdom, in the graph below you can see that in 2019 and early 2020, the average wait times would tend to sit, and even sometimes go above 40 minutes.
However, once the theme parks reopened in July 2020, the average wait time at Magic Kingdom has rarely gone above 30-minutes.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
When looking at the graph for Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you can really see the difference in average wait times. Pre-pandemic, the average wait time, especially in late 2019 and early 2020, would sit at over one hour whereas now, it rarely goes above 35 minutes.
Over at EPCOT, the average wait times tend to go up and down. Before the pandemic, in the spring and summer of 2019, EPCOT had an average wait time that never went above 30 minutes. But, towards the end of 2019, and during the holiday season, EPCOT’s average wait time typically sat above 30 minutes.
Once the theme parks reopened in July 2020, for two months the average wait time never went above 15 minutes, but as we get into 2021, it looks as though those average wait times are nearing what they were in late 2019.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
And lastly, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which some say is the busiest theme park due to the demand for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, pre-pandemic, the average wait time would get as high as 55 minutes. However, now with the limited capacity in place, the average wait time has never exceeded 45 minutes.
More on Wait Times at Walt Disney World
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 during the pandemic. One of these included social distancing in ride queues.
Additionally, Disney World used to predict the average ride wait times with a red card system, which Guests themselves actually timed. How it worked was a Disney Cast Member would select a Guest at random and handed them a red card. This card clocked how long that 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 visit in January, which you can read more about here.
Have you been to Disney World since the reopening in July 2020? How has your experience been with wait times? Let us know in the comments below.
If you want to plan a vacation to Disney World, but aren’t sure where to begin planning, don’t hesitate to reach out to our friends at Academy Travel. Get started with your free quote today!