WDW Crowd Calendar Update for Summer 2021
This Crowd Calendar update just affects June – August 2021. Changes are relatively minor, with the biggest increase in crowd level at Hollywood Studios. With the relaxation of health and safety measures, Disney will increase park attendance.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Disney has been limiting attendance with the Park Pass Reservation System. With the reservation system, crowd levels are being limited by low capacity limits, not purely based on demand. Hollywood Studios is typically the first park to distribute all park reservations. Surely if the availability of Hollywood Studios Park Passes increases, crowd levels will increase. EPCOT has the most guest space and is typically the last park to distribute all of their Park Passes. Increased capacity is going to have less impact at EPCOT.
Crowd Level ≠ Attendance Level
Here at TouringPlans, we measure Crowd Levels based on attraction wait times. Since Disney does not publically release daily park attendance, we, nor anyone, can validate attendance prediction accuracy. Basing Crowd Levels on average posted wait time is quantifiable. We try to be very transparent with our predictions and accuracy. At the Touringplans.com website, you can go to any day in the past and see our predicted and observed wait times at all attractions and see how they relate to the Crowd Level.
Attraction wait times are a function of the number of guests in line, and the operation of the attraction. This past weekend, May 21-23, 2021, we saw unusually low wait times. The most likely explanation for the change is that Disney has increased attractions’ capacity. The increased ride capacity can be accomplished by filling empty seats or increased ride vehicles. Also as Disney increases entertainment, restaurants, and shopping, this gives people more options and reduces the number of people standing in long lines. When FastPass+ returns, the capacity for the standby queue will be reduced, causing wait times to increase.
As Disney returns to normal operation and increases attendance we will see a pull and push on wait times.
Fall 2021 and Beyond
We expect life and Disney will be back to normal this fall. We have been collecting school schedules for 2021-2022 and they all are planning for a normal school year. Pent-up demand will likely be a boom for the travel industry for late 2021 and 2022. Once we see travel patterns in June and Disney releases party dates, we will have a better idea what the future crowds will be like.
9 thoughts on “WDW Crowd Calendar Update for Summer 2021”
Thanks for the article and detailed explanation.
Based on what you know today, do you think that Disney will keep park reservations in place through the end of August ? Or later? My assumption is that park reservations are removed when all capacity restrictions are lifted.
When you say “pent up demand will likely be a boom … for late 2021 and 2022”, what months do you consider late? October? November? Earlier?
Lastly, do you expect to make similar updates to your Universal Orlando predictions?
Disney CEO Bob Chapek Chapek today specifically stated that the Disney Park Pass theme park reservation system would remain in place beyond the scope of the pandemic. (https://wdwnt.com/2021/05/ceo-bob-chapek-confirms-disney-park-pass-system-virtual-queues-are-here-to-stay/)
I expect pent-up demand will start this summer. I also don’t expect people will be taking kids out of school as they did in the past. Fall Break, Winter Break, and Spring Break will be huge travel times.
Universal has been pretty stable. Fred will probably have a Universal Crowd Calendar update next week.
Wow! Many of my June days went from a 3 to a 7!!!
Do you think they will increase capacity by mid June? Epcot is the only one available for 6/20 and I really do not want to purchase a park hopper just to get into Magic Kingdom!
I would not be surprised if more capacity is added.
Well, my late June crowd levels increased, but I have a touring plan! We will conquer WDW and have a great vacation! (Just less pool time!) In the minority, but hope park pass availability does not increase in June! This is a same time next year from cancelled June 2020- when I had the perfect dining reservations and fast passes!
“When FastPass+ returns, the capacity for the standby queue will be reduced, causing wait times to increase.”
-I’m still putting my money on FP+ as we knew it never returning. Every other theme park operator makes their line-cutting service an upcharge offering and/or an exclusive to their hotel guests, including WDW’s most direct competitor (UOR). Disneyland was already charging extra for superior access to their FP system. Combine all that with Chapek’s singular focus on revenue, and it feels inevitable that WDW follows suit. Some day a ride reservation service will start making use of those fastpass entrances again, but anyone else think the system will be as equitable as it once was?
“Once we see travel patterns in June and Disney releases party dates, we will have a better idea what the future crowds will be like.”
-Do you just mean MVMCP dates? With the ‘Boo Bash’ events not starting until 9/9:30pm (and not offering anything particularly compelling), would you expect them to impact MK crowd levels in the same way that MNSSHP does? It’s not like there’ll be later closings and fireworks on non-party nights or anything.
By the end of June, I expect we will have an idea how quickly Disney is returning to normal. Disney needs more capacity (rides, restaurants, entertainment, … ) in the park before they go to normal attendance levels.
It is likely the days without the “Boo Bash” will have longer park hours. If this is true, those days will be more popular and have higher crowd levels. In June tickets for the “Boo Bash” will be available, and park hours around the “Boo Bash.” Time will tell if there will be the MVMCP or “Holiday Bash.”
Thanks as always for this, Steve! It’s a little early but do you all have any insight into when crowds will start increasing for the 50th anniversary on 10/1? Looking at going for a couple of days around the weekend of 9/25. Do we think there would be an appreciable difference between going 9/23-9/26 vs. 9/25-9/28 in terms of crowds arriving for the 50th?