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.