Disney World Might Be Empty This Summer

in Walt Disney World

Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park with only a few people around it.

Credit: @ResortTV1 via @DisneyGlimpses

No data-based crowd calendar would predict low wait times at Magic Kingdom Park, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, or Disney’s Hollywood Studios during the summer months–and yet, a recently announced Walt Disney World Resort discount suggests the Central Florida Disney park is worried about 2024 attendance.

The summer of 2023 was one of the slowest in Walt Disney World Resort history. Even over the Fourth of July and Labor Day Weekend, when kids aren’t in school, and parents have days off, attraction lines were shorter than in previous years. The crowd lull was so noticeable that national news organizations like The Wall Street Journal and CBS News took notice.

Streetscape at Hollywood Studios
Credit: Disney

Many Disney Parks fans blamed rising theme park ticket prices and higher temperatures for the thinner crowds. Some on social media cited The Walt Disney Company’s ongoing battle with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the boycotts it inspired. Others blamed DeSantis himself, suggesting that LBTQIA+ and minority travelers heeded travel advisories and avoided Florida due to recently passed, oppressive laws.

While it’s impossible to know what caused Walt Disney World Resort’s slow summer, the Mouse seemed to anticipate it. They offered unprecedented discounts on Disney Park tickets, Disney Resort hotels, and even VIP Tours.

View of Spaceship Earth from World Showcase with buildings and trees in the foreground
Credit: Reinhard Link, Flickr

This year, they appear to be doing the same. On Tuesday, Walt Disney World Resort announced that Disney+ subscribers can get a free Disney Dining Plan when purchasing a non-discounted four-day, four-night travel package that includes Park Hopper tickets and a Disney Resort hotel room. Guests’ arrival date must be between July 1 and September 30.

Walt Disney World Resort offered free dining pre-COVID before it disappeared for four years. While sometimes offered during the summer, it was only available to guests arriving on select nights and, in 2018, required a 6-night Disney Resort hotel stay. This Disney+ subscriber offer has no block-out dates and applies for shorter stays, indicating that the Disney park wants more guests to take advantage of it.

Moana crosses her arms in front of Animal Kingdom's Tree of Life
Credit: Disney

Will Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney Springs see another slow summer? Is this the only discount Walt Disney World Resort plans to offer for the season? Follow Inside the Magic for updates on theme park crowd levels and vacation deals!

Are you planning a Walt Disney World Resort vacation with the Disney+ subscriber free dining offer? Share your tips for a summer trip with Inside the Magic in the comments! 

Comments Off on Disney World Might Be Empty This Summer