October Mid-Month Crowd Calendar Update

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Crowd levels are up at Walt Disney World. On October 12, 2020, Disney’s CEO Bob Chapek said in a CNBC interview that the parks remain capped at 25% of their capacity. While those two statements might sound like they’re at odds with each other, both can be true, because Chapek is referring to 25% of maximum capacity.

In normal years, the parks rarely if ever hit their maximum capacity. In a normal fall, for example, park attendance is closer to 50% of maximum capacity. And when Walt Disney World re-opened in July, attendance was closer to 5-15% of its capacity.

One thing that makes the parks feel crowded is that there is less space for people. Many restaurants and stores are either closed or have reduced capacity, and some attractions – such as stage shows – are closed. The attractions that are open are running with 50-60% of their normal capacity. And because of social distancing, their queues are often extended into walkways. Finally, shorter park hours are causing people to arrive at park opening and stay until the closing, without a mid-day break that would reduce crowds.

In mid-September we counted people in the parks and extrapolated that attendance for the month to date was around 12-15% of their maximum capacity. Based on our September estimates, Disney has room to increase attendance and still stay within Chapeks’s cap of 25%.

Estimated September Average Daily Attendance Maximum Capacity Percent Capacity
Magic Kingdom 12,000 90,000 13%
EPCOT 18,000 110,000 16%
Hollywood Studios 6,500 60,000 11%
Animal Kingdom 8,000 60,000 13%

With increased attendance, we don’t expect to see any 1’s at the Magic Kingdom or Disney’s Hollywood Studios. With more locals going to Walt Disney World, the weekends will be busier than weekdays. Thanksgiving will have the highest crowds since the parks re-opened.

Steve Bloom

By helping TouringPlans.com continue to reach the most accurate crowd level predictions, Steve finally found a way to meld his training in statistical analysis with a lifelong passion for Disney. He first visited the Magic Kingdom in 1972, just a few months after it opened. Now he enjoys frequent trips with his two kids. At age four his son insisted on wearing cowboy boots to reach the height requirement for Test Track, and his daughter believes that a smoked turkey leg and Dole Whip make a perfectly balanced meal. Even though she doesn't quite get it, Steve's wife is supportive of his Disney activities.

21 thoughts on “October Mid-Month Crowd Calendar Update

  • October 14, 2020 at 10:05 am
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    I’m confused… You say you don’t expect to see any 1s at Studios, yet for every day of my tracked trips (Jan 6-11 and July 19-24), you have reduced Studios to a 1. What am I missing??

    Reply
  • October 14, 2020 at 10:16 am
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    It looks like the update has not made it to production. Should be fixed shortly.

    Reply
  • October 14, 2020 at 10:34 am
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    Are your new crowd level updates based on the 25% capacity level? So now if you say a park is at a 10/10 crowd level that means that park is at 25% capacity. Just trying to understand how Magic Kingdom can be at a 9 but only at 25% capacity. Thank you!

    Reply
    • October 14, 2020 at 11:05 am
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      Yes, all the predictions are assuming all COVID-19 health and safety practices will stay the same. If Disney increases capacity levels, or change social distancing rules, we will modify our predictions.

      Reply
    • October 14, 2020 at 11:09 am
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      Crowd Levels are based on attraction wait times, not attendance in the park. Fewer attractions are open, and attractions are running with lower capacity. So even with 25% of people in the park, wait times are going to be high on a crowd level 9 day.

      Reply
  • October 14, 2020 at 10:41 am
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    The email that was sent out this morning for October 18th crowd level changes – is this correct?
    Doesn’t match website:

    October 18th
    » Magic Kingdom Park Hours:
    9:00 AM-8:00 PM
    ▵ Magic Kingdom Crowd Level increased from 3 to 7.
    » EPCOT Park Hours:
    11:00 AM-9:00 PM
    ▵ EPCOT Crowd Level decreased from 6 to 2.
    » Hollywood Studios Park Hours:
    10:00 AM-7:00 PM
    ▵ Hollywood Studios Crowd Level increased from 1 to 2.
    » Animal Kingdom Park Hours:
    8:00 AM-6:00 PM
    ▵ Animal Kingdom Crowd Level increased from 2 to 4.

    Reply
    • October 14, 2020 at 10:57 am
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      The web site is correct now. You should receive a 2nd email that matches the website. Sorry for the confusion.

      Reply
  • October 14, 2020 at 10:42 am
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    I received an email showing changes in crowd levels for our park days, but when I go into “crowd levels“ on touring plans website, they show different numbers. Which one is correct? Thanks

    Reply
    • October 14, 2020 at 10:57 am
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      The web site is correct now. You should receive a 2nd email that matches the website. Sorry for the confusion.

      Reply
  • October 14, 2020 at 10:44 am
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    Just curious why MK has increased in crowd predictions on Sundays in late October but EPCOT has decreased. We have been watching closely during the food & wine festival and it seems that EPCOT consistently is busier on Sundays than MK.

    Reply
    • October 14, 2020 at 11:02 am
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      Between 9 and 10:15 this morning there was a data problem. EPCOT has been 6’s and 7’s on most weekends, and currently, 6’s and 7’s now. MK and HS had any 1’s were increased.

      Reply
  • October 14, 2020 at 11:05 am
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    Thank you so much for confirming. Love your website and thank for all the work you and your team does for it!

    Reply
  • October 14, 2020 at 11:22 am
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    So just to confirm, the 7 for MK on 11/1 from the email was a false alarm? It’s still a 2?

    Reply
    • October 14, 2020 at 11:54 am
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      The web site is correct now. You should receive a 2nd email that matches the website. Sorry for the confusion.

      Reply
  • October 14, 2020 at 11:46 am
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    The email I received linking to this blog post says that, for my trip in April, DHS crowds are down to a 1. But the website still says 2. I’m confused about which to rely on. Separately, are the parks really expected to see such low crowds for Easter week?

    I love your site, and I swear by it for my planning. Just want to make sure I’m relying on the right information. Thanks!

    Reply
    • October 14, 2020 at 11:53 am
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      The web site is correct now. You should receive a 2nd email that matches the website. Sorry for the confusion.

      Reply
  • October 14, 2020 at 12:02 pm
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    I received an alert email that MK increase on Sunday, Nov 15 from a 3 to 7. The website is still showing a 3 and I didn’t receive an email that shows it’s correction. Which is correct?
    Thanks for your help! Love your site!

    Reply

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