Disney World parks are experiencing far larger crowds than expected over the last several months. September, typically the lowest month for attendance was high this past year as well.
It seems that price isn't keeping anyone out of the park. Now there are a few things to consider when it comes to park prices. Many guests have already planned their vacations to Disney so the recent increase in pricing isn't having a major effect on visitors just yet but that could change next year or over the initial 2024 months.
Another issue is that during the holiday months from mid-September to January, crowds naturally rise. The start of Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party began in August this year and ramped up with more days added as the calendars turned to September and then October.
Disney's Magic Kingdom closes at 6:00 p.m. on event nights. Foot traffic is typically lower on these days at M.K. but this year that hasn't been the case. On non-event nights, crowds have been ridiculous at times so far this year and it isn't going to change until next year.
So why are crowds booming? One theory that we have seen floated around is the fact COVID kept so many people at home for two years they were able to save money that typically they didn't and now that guest restrictions at the park are back to normal, they can travel and afford it.
Will this change in the future? That is hard to say but Disney remains as popular if not more so than it was pre-pandemic. New attractions to parks are also a big draw as well and even the construction at EPCOT hasn't deterred visitors from going.
Over at Hollywood Studios where the park typically is one of the lesser trafficked parks, there has been a high volume of traffic over the last six months or so. There have been a lot of rumors and reports about the night show Fantasmic changing and that could be one of the draws as well.
Of course, any events at the Disney World parks will drive visitors and that isn't going to change.
One question many want to know is how long will this continue. The answer is that it will always be like this. On a rare occasion, you might hit a park and find it to be unusually slower than normal and when that happens, you should feel like you hit the lottery.
With prices increasing maybe parks start to level out and if that happens we should see that effect next year but my guess and prediction is that it will not change anything. Disney is the biggest family oriented theme park in the world and that isn't going to change in our lifetime.
So is the experience at Disney being ruined? Long wait times at beer carts to a ride to food and merchandise, have guests standing around longer than they anticipated. They are spending longer days at the parks because that is the only way to take everything in and ride everything that is offered.
There isn't anything anyone can do about it. Disney isn't going to lower capacity limits because that makes no sense to do so. They are not going to operate the rides differently to move guests onto the attractions quicker, and the Genie+ and Lightning Lane pay options are doing quite well...for Disney.
If there is good news, Disney isn't going to raise the capacity limits beyond what they currently are because of codes. They are operating at pre-pandemic levels.
With new attractions coming to the parks in the next four or five years there may be a slight drop off but in reality, the parks are not going to suddenly get slower. These numbers are likely here to stay for quite a while unless the price increases have an impact in 2024 with pre-vacation planning.