Once Walt Disney World and Disneyland reopened to Guests after temporarily closing due to the ongoing pandemic, the theme parks implemented a new reservation system to help monitor Park capacity called the Park Pass system. In order to enter a theme park at Walt Disney World or Disneyland, Guests must not only have valid Park admission, but a valid Park Pass reservation.
As we continue to fight the ongoing pandemic, more families are eager to get out and travel again, meaning that Park Passes are continuing to book up quickly, leaving Guests disappointed and not able to visit select theme parks on select days. We have seen a massive increase in crowd levels at Walt Disney World, for example, over the last few months. In fact, many are saying that Walt Disney World is operating its attendance on a pre-pandemic level, but we now have confirmation that is not true.
Although the Parks are crowded, the Parks are still operating under a reduced capacity. At the time of publication, we still have yet to hear an exact number when it comes to Park capacity, but that last confirmed number was 35%, which was released in early 2021. It is clear that the capacity level is much more than 35% due to the current crowd levels at the theme parks, which some Guests are actually complaining about.
The shocking thing is, Disney has recently confirmed that the despite the current crowd levels at the Parks, they are still not operating at full capacity, and it seems that they never will again.
During the Morgan Stanley’s 2022 Technology, Media & Telecom Conference, Disney CFO Christine McCarthy stated that Park’s capacity would never return to normal as they are “managing things differently now”. She went on to explain that they do “not want to have the Parks bursting at the seams”, and by keeping a reduced capacity in place, Guests can have a more enjoyable time.
One of the main downfalls to full Park capacity never returning is that prior to the reduced capacity put in place, Guests rarely had to deal with an “at capacity” Park. Now, however, Disney Park Passes are booking up extremely quickly, meaning Parks are at capacity frequiently.
We recently reported that during one week in March when many students are out of school, Disney is nearly already at full capacity which eliminates the option to visit pretty quickly.
Another main issue is that with the number of people in the Parks right now, it seems more crowded than it may be simply because not all of the offerings at Walt Disney World have returned yet. Inside the Magic reader Chris pointed this out, saying:
I think they need to keep the maximum number of people allowed as it is right now, but bring back all attractions, shows, restaurants, etc. and that includes all attractions presently under construction.
The maximum number of people allowed in the parks should not increase until after constructions begins and finishes on an another attraction that is not presently announced or under construction. This will spread the crowds out more.
And let’s face it, before COVID, the maximum capacity was way too high in all of the parks. So, not returning to that would be a good thing.
Another Inside the Magic reader, Kelli, is getting frustrated with Disney and stated that Universal will be getting her money moving forward:
Just returned from there. If they are not at full capacity then I would truly hate to see them at full capacity. With wait times for rides upwards of two hours and multiple rides breaking down while we were in lines, Disney is not capable of handling full capacity anymore. If their machines cannot even handle the amount of people that were there (which in my opinion was far too many) then they need to reevaluate how many people they are letting in. Been going to Disney yearly for 25 years and it is no longer what it used to be. The experience used to be wonderful and magical. Clearly the almighty dollar has taken over their priorities and it shows. Guests and their experience is not their priority anymore. This is one Disney fan they have lost. Universal will get my money.
Another Inside the Magic reader, Josylin, recently visited Disney World and felt the amount of people inside the Parks was too much to handle and ruined the magic:
Well I was just there last week and in my opinion it was difficult to have a great time in this magical place because of the amount of people. Waiting in lines for two hours with a five year old is nuts. Takes the fun out of it. Two, I needed to rent A ECV. None available. Really for the amount of people you let in the park you really need more. Thank good or hotel was great we had a good time there. The whole experience was a little disappointing. Let’s talk about no trams or buses from the pushing lot. Yup, the first day I walked even though I needed to ride. The next few days days I paid the ridiculous price thst is charged for premium parking, but no ECV’S. I wish it was magical but I think Walt and Roy are turning over in their graves. Sorry. For what I paid, I needed a little more magic.
When it comes to wait times for rides, many were hoping that Disney World would bring back its FastPass+ option, which allowed Guests to choose a time frame for select rides to bypass the standby line. However, last year it was announced that FastPass+ would be retired and, instead, Lightning Lane would be implemented through Disney Genie.
With this being said, Inside the Magic fan Kent stated:
The Disney Parks already believe that riding 3 attractions in a day is a bargain for $100. Myself and my friends have experienced this since 2000. Too many people for an enjoyable day.
How do you feel about the current crowd levels at Disney World? Do you want to see full capacity return? Let us know in the comments below.