Guests Abandon Universal Orlando as Crowds Return to Walt Disney World

in Universal Orlando, Walt Disney World

universal orlando resort

Credit: Universal

Theme park attendance hasn’t followed the usual pattern this summer.

While the summer months usually mean peak crowds at Walt Disney World Resort, guests seem to have ditched Disney’s Florida parks this year. We’ve heard multiple reports of low attendance at Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom, with even the Fourth of July failing to bring in the same numbers as usual.

Empty Magic Kingdom on July 4
Credit: @DisneyGirlRo via TikTok

Although Disney CEO Bob Iger has denied attendance issues, Josh D’Amaro – Chairperson of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts – has admitted that Disney World is experiencing a decline in demand, especially in comparison to the higher than average crowds at Disneyland Resort over in Anaheim, California.

There are a few explanations as to why guests have ditched Disney World this summer. The biggest is that Orlando has experienced extreme heat – even by Florida standards – over the past few months. Standing in line for Slinky Dog Spin or racing across the park to make your Lightning Lane for Space Mountain isn’t half as appealing in 100 degrees.

Exterior of Cinderella Castle
Credit: Disney

However, it seems like this exodus may be coming to an end. As we recently reported, crowds are starting to flock back to Disney World. Wait times are soaring across all four parks, despite back to school season typically meaning the opposite.

At the same time, it seems like the crowds are starting to thin out at Universal Orlando Resort. Disney’s rival theme parks are currently experiencing significantly lower wait times – including waits of less than an hour for Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. Yep, it’s that extreme.

Guests ride Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
Credit: Universal

Related: Beloved Universal Coaster Dismantled, Found in Ruins

A parkgoer shared a screenshot of Islands of Adventure wait times on Reddit – specifically the 55 minute wait for Hagrid’s – and noted, “Dayum that’s the lowest I’ve personally ever seen. Where everyone at?”

As other guests noted, this is the usual pattern in Florida come end of August. “Schools back on in Florida,” said Burywmore. “Not a lot of people in the rest of the country take summer vacations this late, and those that do, aren’t wanting to be in Orlando in August.”

According to Thrill Data, wait times are on par with the same week in other years. That’s in contrast to Disney World, where attraction wait times are trending above the last few years and are instead comparable with pre-pandemic visitation.

Have you noticed a difference in crowds at Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort this week? Let us know in the comments!

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