I have closely watched the Availability Calendar since it was first released before Walt Disney World reopened. Before I go any further, I have not noticed any patterns in when days are added. If there is supposed to be a pattern that’s news to me! What I have noticed, though, is that days that were unavailable will sometimes end up having spots! I have a couple of theories on why this happens. None of this is official, it’s just guesswork on my part, and I could be wrong.
I’ll start with the one thing that we do know. Annual Passholders were upset because at first it was so hard to make reservations. I complained about that myself. I went to Disney’s Hollywood Studios on the day that it reopened, and it was over a month later when I was able to go again. That is still the hardest park to obtain a reservation for, especially if you are an Annual Passholder, although I’ve been lucky enough to return several times since. But I digress. For a while Passholders had a legitimate gripe, especially since there was full availability for Resort Guests and regular Ticket Holders. Disney listened to our complaints, and moved some spaces around to make it easier to grab a spot. At the time they said that they had not increased park capacity to make those spots available to Passholders.
Onto my theories. The first is the one that I kind of lean towards. I don’t think that the Availability Calendar shows the whole story. My guess is that there are spots that are held back, and then released once the dates get closer. That will allow Disney to decide where the spots should go. If there are a lot of resort reservations, they could get some extra spots. If resort reservations or ticket sales are down, those spots could go to Passholders. This could be why there is often availability all of a sudden just a few days before a date. Unused spots aren’t going to make Disney any money.
My second theory is that Disney has slowly started to increase capacity. We don’t know what the percentage is (educated guesses are usually 25-35%) but Disney could slowly be adding to the number. An extra 200 people in a day will not make a huge difference in the feel of the parks. It could be that the extra spots on the Availability Calendar mean that capacity has been increased ever so slightly.
It could also be a combination of these, or it might be something that I haven’t thought of. Whatever the reason, the Availability Calendar is going to be around for a while. I’m not a huge fan of it, but that’s because I’m a local Passholder who really wants to go to a park tomorrow, but I can’t because I have three reservations booked and those dates are more important. But I’m not complaining, at least not too much. I’m grateful that the parks are open again, and I realize that the Disney Park Pass Reservation System is helping to keep the parks safe.