Disney World Flipped on Its Head, Becomes “Ghost Town” in 2024

in Walt Disney World

A captivating view of a fairytale castle with spires, under a dramatic sky with scattered clouds and beams of sunlight, surrounded by lush greenery.

Credit: Becky Burkett, Inside the Magic

When planning a vacation to Walt Disney World Resort, we all hope that crowds will be light, but no one could expect that they’d be this light.

Walt Disney World Resort, known globally as “The Most Place on Earth,” is typically a bustling hive of activity, particularly during holidays and weekends. Guests from around the world flock to experience the magic, resulting in long wait times for its iconic attractions.

Guests walking in Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom behind Cinderella Castle
Credit: Ed Aguila, Inside the Magic

The Typical Scene at Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World, encompassing the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, is no stranger to crowds. On any given day, especially during holidays, Disney park guests can expect substantial wait times for the park’s most popular rides and attractions. Families take advantage of these peak times to enjoy the myriad of experiences Disney World has to offer.

Attractions like Space Mountain, Haunted Mansion, and Pirates of the Caribbean are often at the top of visitors’ must-do lists, resulting in wait times that can easily stretch to an hour or more. The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Peter Pan’s Flight, being among the most beloved rides, usually see some of the longest lines, with wait times frequently exceeding an hour and a half.

This scene of long lines, bustling crowds, and a palpable sense of excitement is what regular Disney-goers have come to expect.

People walk through a busy, colorful theme park area with futuristic decor and attractions. Shops and rides line the path, and various families and individuals can be seen, some with strollers and others taking photos. The atmosphere is vibrant and lively.
Credit: Christian Lambert, Unsplash

An Unprecedented Turn of Events at Disney World

However, in an unprecedented turn of events, Disney World was flipped on its head recently, with astonishingly low wait times across its major attractions.

A screenshot from the My Disney Experience app captured in the afternoon revealed wait times so short they seemed almost unbelievable. The usually crowded Pirates of the Caribbean had a wait time of just 5 minutes, the Jungle Cruise 10 minutes, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad 15 minutes, Space Mountain and Haunted Mansion each 25 minutes. The longest waits were a mere 40 minutes for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Peter Pan’s Flight.

Can anyone explain today’s MK wait times?!
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This remarkable occurrence happened on Memorial Day, a time traditionally marked by crowded walkways, extended queues, and the hum of excited chatter as families and friends navigate their way through the expansive parks. Memorial Day weekend, signaling the start of the summer vacation season, typically draws even larger crowds.

This year, however, the scene at Walt Disney World was dramatically different. Reports and screenshots from the My Disney Experience app showcased wait times that would make any seasoned Disney visitor do a double-take.

The image showed Pirates of the Caribbean with a 5-minute wait, Jungle Cruise at 10 minutes, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at 15 minutes, and Space Mountain and Haunted Mansion each at 25 minutes. Even the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Peter Pan’s Flight, which usually see the longest waits, were only at 40 minutes.

seven dwarfs mine train entrance
Credit: Inside the Magic

These wait times were almost surreal, a stark contrast to the usual Memorial Day congestion. Guests could hardly believe their luck, enjoying some of Disney’s most popular attractions with little to no wait. The typically packed walkways were more navigable, and the atmosphere was noticeably more relaxed.

Possible Reasons for the Low Crowds

Several factors may have contributed to this unexpected phenomenon:

  1. Expectations of Heavy Crowds: Many people likely expected the crowds to be particularly heavy on Memorial Day, as is typical for this holiday. Anticipating long lines and crowded spaces, potential visitors may have decided to stay home or plan their visits for another time, leading to a surprisingly lower attendance.
  2. Hot Temperatures: Florida’s summer heat can be intense, and Memorial Day often signals the beginning of this scorching season. Many families might prefer to avoid the extreme temperatures by scheduling their vacations for cooler times of the year. The prospect of spending hours in the hot sun could have deterred visitors, contributing to the lower crowd levels.
Lines outside Peter Pan's Flight attraction line cutting at Watl Disney World Resort
Credit: Inside the Magic

For those who did decide to spend their Memorial Day at Walt Disney World, the experience was nothing short of magical. The low wait times allowed for a more leisurely exploration of the parks. Families could enjoy more attractions in a shorter amount of time, dine at popular restaurants without the usual long waits, and take in the atmosphere without the typical hustle and bustle.

Guests shared their surprise and delight on social media, with many commenting on how they had never seen the parks so empty on a holiday weekend. The shorter wait times not only enhanced their enjoyment but also made for a more relaxed and less stressful visit.

View of the entrance to Disney World, featuring a railway station in the background, bustling with visitors under a cloudy sky.
Credit: Frank Phillips, Flickr

This unusual occurrence raises questions about the future of crowd management and visitor experience at Walt Disney World. While it’s unlikely that such low crowd levels will become the norm, Disney’s ability to manage and adapt to fluctuating visitor numbers will be crucial. The company has already shown resilience and adaptability in various situations, and this Memorial Day could serve as a learning opportunity for better crowd control and enhanced guest satisfaction.

What do you think of these insanely low wait times at Disney World? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments!

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