For Disney, it’s the worst case scenario: reopen Walt Disney World during the COVID-19 pandemic and allow for 30% capacity at the parks and hotels. Assume you will hit that mark right away. Wrong.
Since opening July 11th Disney has not even come close to their 30% mark, something they hoped they would increase slowly, over-time due to demand. Except so far that demand hasn’t come yet. And I don’t expect it to come until late fall 2020 or early 2021.
Recent numbers suggest that Walt Disney World is running at about 10% capacity when they have planned for 30%. And it’s not Disney who’s causing the slow crowds. It’s guests simply choosing not to go to the parks right now, especially with Florida’s outbreak of COVID.
Guests who are visiting the parks are experiencing an anomaly: no lines, short wait times and decent pricing. While not everything is open at all the parks, most attractions and shows are, providing plenty for guests to do. Major attractions like Flight of Passage, Everest, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, Soarin’, Test Track, Tower of Terror, Rise of the Resistance, Slinky Dog Dash and more are all open and have very short wait times.
Most closures have come in the form of dining which is somewhat limited, particularly are resort hotels. Disney has even stopped the Disney Dining Plan for now.
In recent weeks, I’ve come to realise that Disney themselves might not be that invested in 2020 for the parks as I had thought. During my last visit they had a sale on 2020 merchandise (you heard right) at buy one get one free. This almost never happens.
And in the past few days it’s come out that Disney will be lessening their park hours for the fall. While it’s not by much, it’s a few hours here and there depending on the park. Also there are no extra magic hours for early entry for resort hotel guests.
This means guests can expect to go into the parks around 9-10am and leave around 5-6pm. There are no firework or parade shows currently operating. While this might seems like very short hours, with little to no wait times guests can expect to get a lot done during the day.
Disney has had a rough go at it for 2020 (like everyone else) and I suspect that with all the cancellations (Halloween parties, food events) they aren’t too invested in this year but looking forward to a brighter 2021.
If you are interested in visiting the parks this year be sure to read my Journal Series on their reopening and what to expect for a post-COVID visit.
A word of caution: if you do end up going this year, you will be spoiled. Every visit after this will never be the same as the time you visited and there were no lines.
If you really want to make your vacation magical, check-out some of these special offers on tickets and hotels to help save you some money.
Dean has been writing and blogging for over 10 years. He specializes in Disney theme park news including updates, openings, special events and general advice for travelers. He doesn’t shy away from the good, the bad and the ugly. His previous work includes being a Cast Member at Disneyland and working as a travel agent.