This Crowd Calendar update is a bit different from our normal monthly updates. Since the Florida Disney parks re-opened in July 2020, we assumed that Disney’s “enhanced health and safety measures” would stay in effect. Now that COVID-19 vaccines are approved and started being administered we can start looking at Disney returning to “normal.” We are making the assumption that vaccines will be widely available by April and that “normal” will start to return to Walt Disney World in the summer of 2021. We have no inside information about Disney’s plans for the return to “normal.”
Ever Changing Conditions
Disney’s “enhanced health and safety measures” have been evolving since the parks reopened. Park capacity has slowly increased. Currently, the parks are at 35% capacity. By the summer we expect capacity will be closer to 50%, which is close to the average capacity on an average day. As time has gone on, more Disney hotels have opened; by the fall all hotels should be open. With more people returning to Walt Disney World, more restaurants and experiences will return. Disney keeps finding ways to increase attractions’ capacity. With increased capacity expect to see FastPass+ return. The increased capacity will also foster extended park hours and the return of Extra Magic Hours. Face masks and hand sanitizer will likely be around for most of 2021. Dr. Fauci believes that large gatherings will return in the fall. Only time will tell how long it takes for Disney to return to normal.
Starting on June 1, 2021, the TouringPlans website and TouringPlans Crowd Calendar are showing Park Hours, Extra Magic Hours, Show Times, Parties, and Events. These are all estimates based on 2018 and 2019 data. As Disney releases its plans and schedules, we will update our website.
Vacations have been put on hold for many people during the pandemic. Once travel restrictions are lifted it is expected that travel will come back strong. People are sick of being trapped in their homes.
The recovery from the recession caused by COVID-19 will impact who will travel to Walt Disney World and how Walt Disney World will operate. New resorts, attractions, and events have been postponed, canceled, or modified. It is expected that there will be a K-Shape Recovery. Some people and industries will recover faster than others. Expect Disney to be minimizing expenses even after the pandemic is over.
Pent-Up Demand vs. The Economy
It will be interesting to see how pent-up demand and the economy work with each other. Disney will likely be stingy with discounts if the demand for travel is high. If bookings are strong for the fall, don’t be surprised if free dining does not return. Do expect that add-on experiences to be offered as Disney will be aggressive about increasing revenue.
Dates before June 1, 2021, have crowd levels assuming the current social distancing and other health and safety measures are in place. Starting on June 1, the crowd level predictions are based on pre-pandemic data. As the year progresses, we will have a better idea of how the economy is shaping up and see people’s travel habits. Expect that Crowd Levels will change.