It’s been three months since the Walt Disney World theme parks reopened. During that time, I’ve talked quite a bit about crowd levels. As I mentioned last week, I was gone for about three weeks so that I could safely see my parents. I thought I’d talk a bit about what the crowd levels are like, now that I’m back.
So far I have been back to three of the four theme parks. Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the one that I’m missing, and I’m headed there later this week. I can’t go now because I don’t have any openings for Disney Park Pass Reservations. I don’t know what things are like there right now, but I’m sure that it will be similar to the other three.
I visited Epcot on a Wednesday. I was there twice that day, first in the morning/early afternoon and then again an hour or so before it closed. While the crowd level was heavier than before, the park still did not feel crowded. Wait Times were slightly higher, but still reasonable.
It was on a Friday afternoon that I went to the Magic Kingdom. This was part of my Grand Floridian stay, and my daughter was with me. The park stayed open until 8:00, and we wanted to see Cinderella Castle after dark. (Who doesn’t? It’s so beautiful!) I also wanted to watch the Mickey pumpkins “dance” to the music for a little while. That’s one of the little things that I’ve missed.
The Wait Times were high, but they weren’t unreasonably long. I noticed that the posted times were close to being accurate. We were able to ride several rides, enjoy a Mickey Pretzel (I start with the left ear, how about you?) and watched a beautiful sunset.
We got in line for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad a few minutes before the park closed, which is such a fun ride after dark. We were off just a couple of minutes after 8:00, and then we headed to Main Street, U.S.A. It was busy, because we weren’t the only ones who wanted to see Cinderella Castle after dark! We had a great time.
We went to Disney’s Animal Kingdom the next day. The crowd level was way up. I’m pretty sure that capacity had been reached in at least two of the three categories. The park was still doable. The problem with Animal Kingdom right now is that without the shows, there aren’t all that many attractions. Expedition Everest was down, which made it worse. One thing that you need to know before you head to Florida is that whenever possible, Disney is keeping the queues outside. That’s why you’ll see pictures of crazy long lines. Disney’s Animal Kingdom was not designed for this, which made some of the lands feel packed. There were Cast Members who were specifically working on crowd control, trying to keep the flow of traffic moving in one direction.
The crowd at Disney’s Animal Kingdom did calm down a bit as the day went on. By the time the park closed the Wait Times were half of what they were when I arrived. I also think that sometimes Wait Times are inflated at the end of the day, hoping to discourage people from getting into line.
Even though the crowds are a bit heavier now, Walt Disney World is still magical. Even on the weekend when there are more people it’s possible to hit all of your favorites and more. Remember, we’re at 25% capacity, but that means capacity by the fire department’s standards. It does not mean 25% compared to October last year. There have only been a few days that capacity has been reached in all three parks. I was there for one of those days, and it wasn’t nearly as crowded as I expected it to be.