Signs Are Pointing to a Very Slow Summer for Disney World

in Disney, Walt Disney World


Credit: @DrewDisneyDude

Crowds are a big part of any Walt Disney World vacation. Knowing how to navigate Disney World and the best time to go is a part of planning for any trip.

However, some troubling signs for Disney World point to lower-than-expected crowds this summer, and guests have some concrete reasons for traveling elsewhere this year.

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

Related: Disney World Crowds Disappear For the Start of Summer

First and foremost, Disney CEO Bob Iger admitted that he expects crowds at Disney Parks to decline through 2025. During Disney’s third-quarter earnings call in March, Iger said things are “starting to normalize” post-COVID.

What exactly does that mean? Sure, Disney Parks saw a 10 percent increase in revenue last quarter, but Bob Iger does not expect that trend to continue as the post-COVID boom is ending.

But even worse for Walt Disney World was its Memorial Day weekend crowds, which saw historically low wait times at all the parks on what is traditionally one of the busiest weekends of the year and the traditional kick-off to summer.

Even worse for the Walt Disney World Resort is that travel costs are up seven percent over last year and 14 percent over 2022. At a time when families are struggling with inflation, this is just another example of people being squeezed out of a vacation at a Disney Park.

EPCOT looking empty
Credit: @innoventioneast via Twitter

Trends point to two destinations for guests who have previously headed to Disney World: the beaches and Europe.

According to Allianz Partners, bookings to Europe are up 34 percent since last summer. Visit Florida is expecting another year of record tourists to the state; however, it expects those visitors to head to Florida’s beaches, not its Central Florida theme parks.

Why Not Disney World This Summer?

In short, the Walt Disney World Resort has very little new to offer guests this summer. Sure, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is opening at Magic Kingdom in late June, and a new nighttime drone show opened at Disney Springs, but will that be enough to fill every Disney Park for the summer? That seems unlikely.

EPCOT will open CommuniCore Hall, but it will also lose Test Track later this month. This will also be the first post-COVID summer that EPCOT will not have a festival to draw crowds. The Flower and Garden Festival ended in late May, and the Food and Wine Festival won’t open until the end of August.

Disney World monorail at EPCOT during the International Flower and Garden Festival
Credit: Disney

Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios do not have any significant new offerings for guests. Animal Kingdom at least has a concrete plan for the future, while the other Disney Parks just have speculation.

While Walt Disney World makes no announcements about the future, Universal Studios Orlando will open Epic Universe in 2025. Many visitors will delay their trip to Central Florida when Universal Orlando Resort opens Epic Universe.

So, with tourists heading to other destinations this summer, the crowd level at Disney World may be at an all-time low. However, these lower crowds won’t stay this way forever, especially with residual crowds from Universal Orlando Resort coming to Disney theme parks next summer.

Disney fans now might be the best summer you’ll have to head to the Walt Disney World Resort.

Are you expecting large crowds if you’re heading to Disney World this summer?

in Disney, Walt Disney World

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