WDW Crowd Calendar Update: August and September 2021, Again

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Only 12 days ago we did a Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar update. We lowered our predictions for August and September, and we were a bit worried we were being too aggressive with reducing the crowd levels. Well, it turns out that we were not aggressive enough. Since the last update, we have been seeing Crowd Levels of 1 at all parks, with a few days hitting a 2 at the Magic Kingdom. With kids returning to school, and the COVID-19 Delta variant raging across the country we do not expect rising crowd levels before October. Jennifer’s blog post goes into all the signals we are seeing that supports our belief that crowds will remain low.

The charts below show the observed crowd levels for 2019 and 2021. The black line is the 2-week trend over time.




The Delta variant of COVID-19 and the return of masks indoors at Walt Disney World have taken their toll on attendance. Without an end in sight, we do not see high crowds returning to Walt Disney World.

Data is suggesting a plateau in the number of new COVID-19 cases in Florida. Knowing that cases are still rising across the country and many Florida schools are returning without a mask mandate, I expect to see new cases will increase in two weeks.

Blue bars show daily cases. The red line is the 7-day average of cases. The orange line represents the 7-day average of the number of prevalent patients hospitalized with confirmed COVID-19. Source: CDC.gov

October and Beyond

At this time we are not adjusting crowd levels beyond September. People are canceling vacations after September, but at this point, we don’t know when guests will feel comfortable traveling to Florida or Walt Disney World. We know some guests have been holding off their vacation until the 50th anniversary, and some will want to be at Walt Disney World on October 1, for the anniversary. Any bump in attendance will be short-lived. Disney’s celebration is going to last 18 months, and more attractions will be open in 2022. If you are going to visit Walt Disney World once during the 50th anniversary, 2022 is going to be a better choice.

Let us know in the comments if you have changed your plans for visiting Walt Disney World.

 

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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.

16 thoughts on “WDW Crowd Calendar Update: August and September 2021, Again

  • August 24, 2021 at 8:49 pm
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    Did Rise of the Resistance really open a standby queue last week? And at one point, was it really a walk-on??

    Reply
    • September 26, 2021 at 11:53 am
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      So are you still predicting a low October? We’re planning 10 days in the area starting October 15 and are wondering if we should cancel due to busy crowds for 50th.

      Reply
  • August 24, 2021 at 9:30 pm
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    So we do not think the holiday weekend in 2 weeks will draw a bigger crowd??

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    • August 25, 2021 at 8:52 am
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      Not under the current circumstances, no. With most schools back in session by labor day, any crowd increases that weekend will be driven by locals. At this point, the majority of locals seem content to wait for (a) the resumption of annual pass sales, and (b) the end of mask rules.

      Reply
      • August 25, 2021 at 9:38 am
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        Thank you for your reply! That makes complete sense. I forgot they still haven’t brought AP back yet.

      • August 25, 2021 at 12:38 pm
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        Thanks Andy!

        Labor Day weekend never has been a big holiday for crowds. Either it is just before or after most students are going back to school. There are more reasons this year for families not to travel and potentially mess up this school year.

  • August 25, 2021 at 12:41 am
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    Thank you for the update! As our long-waited end of year trip slowly approaches, I really appreciate the detailed explanation you guys provide.

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  • August 25, 2021 at 12:21 pm
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    Right now you are still predicting high levels on Wednesdays and low levels on Thursdays in mk specifically in october. If that is due to the past pattern with Halloween parties then it would be good for us to know. I know you can’t predict October too early but you could remove predictions you know where based on things that aren’t true this year. I already needed to make my 60 day dining reservations based on what day I’m going to the park. But perhaps you can take a quick look and we can make changes. I did mention this a couple months ago On this blog and have recently sent a question in as well. I’m currently betting that you guys are wrong and I am not comfortable doing that!! 🙂

    Reply
    • August 25, 2021 at 12:36 pm
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      October on is using the 2019 data as a baseline, but using the actual park hours. This should adjust for not having early closing times due to the parties. I’ll take another look and fix this problem.

      Reply
      • September 17, 2021 at 8:50 am
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        Hi Steve- thanks for all the updates! I’m curious, Will you guys be altering what you use for the baseline moving forward given what you are seeing? If so, how far do you think you would do that for, I.e. until spring break, Christmas? Or do you think that it is still better to stay with the 2019 baseline?

      • September 17, 2021 at 2:01 pm
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        At this point, we are staying with the 2019 baseline. Once we see the effect of Genie, Genie+, and Lightning Lanes, on wait times we will adjust the baseline. Hopefully, December will be close to normal, and we will see peak wait times with the new queuing systems. Then we will have data to adjust the baseline.

  • August 25, 2021 at 6:59 pm
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    We have already postponed 300 of our DVC Points as much as we can. While it is not our ideal time to visit, we don’t want to lose out any more and may not even bother visiting any of the parks. After 18 months of Cabin Fever, DW and I just want to get away.
    Since crowds are so low for last two weeks of September, we figure to just play it by ear while we are there.
    Continued thanks for the updates and excellent information. Our yearly subscription to Touring Plans / Lines is of great value!

    Reply
  • August 30, 2021 at 10:57 am
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    I am international traveler and will be visiting WDW during Sept 26 until Oct 2

    I have read that week will be very busy

    With latest data, is still a long crowd week?

    Reply
    • August 30, 2021 at 2:53 pm
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      There will be a spike in Crowds around Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary. October 1, is the beginning of the celebration, but the celebration is going to last for 18 months. The new attractions that were planned to be a part of the celebration will not be open until spring or summer 2022.

      Reply
  • October 11, 2021 at 9:11 am
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    Hi – we have a trip planned for Jan 16-22. I know it’s too soon to do any updates for those dates, but do you have a “standard” time frame of when you’d update? We want to try to snag a dining reservation at Tusker House so I’d like to make sure I’m choosing my park passes well! Thanks!

    Reply

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