Disney World confirms increased capacity, parks are 77% booked for holiday season
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Disney’s CEO Bob Chapek confirmed what many had been suspecting: Disney World’s has quietly increased guest capacity.
And while some of what Disney announced in its Nov. 12 fourth-quarter earnings call is not particularly surprising (revenue is still way down, though less so than in the previous quarter), there were some interesting facts shared that shed light both on current park operations and future planning.
Here are three things we learned today about Disney Parks and operations.
For more TPG travel news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our free daily newsletter.
Disney World is indeed busier
During the earnings call, Chapek stated that the previous “… 25% capacity constraint which was our industrial engineering estimates to keep six-foot social distancing, now has been able to increase to 35% of capacity.”
Having visited Disney World on reopening day in July and then again in October, there’s no question that the October visit was significantly more crowded with many rides posting wait times of an hour or more.
While a jump from 25% to 35% capacity may sound relatively minimal, that actually represents up to a 40% increase in guests. And note that Disney World very rarely reached 100% capacity pre-COVID, so this is not 35% of a normal pre-COVID crowd.
It does feel busy now on many days, but it is not typically wall-to-wall people as it was on some pre-pandemic days. Disney did not state when the jump upward from 25% to 35% capacity was made.
Disney World is 77% booked for the holidays
For the company’s first-quarter (which we are currently in and will run through the holiday season), the park is already 77% booked in terms of park pass reservations. Thanksgiving week, in particular, is said to already be booked “close to capacity.”
If you are trying to get a park pass reservation for an upcoming Disney World visit, note that availability is somewhat dynamic. Recently, more availability opened up for many December dates, so keep an eye on availability if you aren’t currently able to get the park days or parks that you want.
Disneyland not expected to reopen in 2020
While there was good news in terms of demand for Disney World, the news isn’t nearly as rosy for Disneyland.
The original Disney theme park, Disneyland in Anaheim, California, is the only one of the company’s parks that has yet to reopen at all. Some of the international Disney parks have opened and closed again at times over the last eight months, but the gates of Disneyland have remained consistently locked since mid-March.
On the earnings call, Chapek stated, “We are extremely disappointed that the state of California continues to keep Disneyland closed despite our proven track record.” Disney does not expect Disneyland to reopen in its current fiscal quarter, which takes us through the end of 2020.
However, Disney California Aventure Park will soon partially reopen its Buena Vista area for dining and shopping.
Disney World in Florida has been successfully reopened for four months and demand seems to only be growing. Time will tell if that trend holds as the country, unfortunately, seems to be experiencing a resurgence in COVID-19 cases.
At this point, I’m not sure that the parks can support more visitors without making operational changes to potentially bring back FastPass+ or lean into more virtual queue opportunities. However, at least for now, Disney World seems to have found a way to thread the needle of making money, while maintaining adjusted operations and capping capacity at a lower number of guests than usual.
Featured image by Summer Hull/The Points Guy
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Earn 2x total points on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases per month from November 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. Includes eligible pick-up and delivery services.