Park Overcrowding, is it Disney’s Fault

Disneylover99

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 17, 2012
Next time you're there and you're bummed because of all the people there realize they are looking at you and thinking the same thing and if Disney limited capacity more to reduce crowding you would be here complaining that MDE shows no availability. Every choice has a cost , pick the one you want to pay.
I can deal with crowds. Christmas/New Years is my favourite time to travel to DW.

So I would 100% pick the flexibility of having no park reservations.
 

lovethesun12

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 5, 2017
It is 100% Disney's fault. I've been there multiple times during Easter week in prior years with huge crowds but it could be managed. Why?

Park hours. Few thing work better to reduce crowds than longer park hours IMO.

I don't understand the narrative that they're understaffed so it isn't their fault. It's supply and demand. Just like consumer prices go up when demand increases, salaries should increase when there is a demand for workers.

They don't like giving any income from increased prices toward salaries and would rather go understaffed - illustrated by what they are currently doing.
 

juuuliebeth

Mouseketeer
Joined
Apr 30, 2018
This isn't in direct response to the OP. Just a general musing about this topic.

I work in a Broadway theater. It amazes me how many people are surprised by the long lines at the bathrooms (or bar) during intermission. People will say to me, "Can't they do something about this?" And I want to respond, "What's to be done?" We have 15 minutes for ~1500 people to take a break. These are landmarked buildings, which means they're old and you can't change much about them without having to file mountains of paperwork with the city. Each bar has 2-3 people working. How many more are we supposed to staff for a 15 minutes period of time?

Perspective is a wonderful thing. If you go into an experience understanding that you're not the only one there for a good time, and you're not the only one who needs to use the bathroom or buy a drink or see a show, then you'll understand that lines are a fact of life. Is it ideal? No. But are some experiences worth it? For me, yes. For others, maybe not.

Walt was actually known for not liking that famous photo of him under the Disneyland castle with no one else in the park around him. (I personally love the photo.) He said Disneyland was made for people to attend, and that without people Disneyland is dead. I've taken that perspective into my trips to the parks, and it really has helped me cope with the mountains of people that are there with me.

Personally, I have switched from scheduling my trips around expected crowds to expected weather. Unfortunately, it worked best for my friends to go in September this year, but I'm now firmly a January-April tourist at WDW if I'm making the plans. (Disneyland has better weather at other times of year.) Heat and humidity do more to ruin a trip for me than crowds do. And weather, while unpredictable in its own right, is much easier to anticipate than Disney crowds. Crowd patterns are so different than they were 10 years ago.

All of that to say this -- if you properly prepare your expectations, crowd size doesn't have to ruin your trip. Pack your patience and have a good time!
 

piper28

Earning My Ears
Joined
Nov 5, 2018
It's simple. Disney can reduce attendance by doing one of two things - drastically raising prices, or drastically limiting the number of slots available for people to book the park. Which do you think is going to cause no complaints from people? If you chose c, none of the above, you're right. People complain disney is already not affordable for families, but realistically, the best way disney has to control crowds is to raise prices until people don't want to come (I'm not saying I don't feel it's already too expensive already myself, just that this is simple economics). Limiting the slots available on a given day obviously can have a significant impact on income, and it's not going to win favors with people, because everyone who can't get in the parks would just complain (and to be honest, to make a significant difference, you'd have to drastically cut the number of people allowed in the parks down, like maybe half of what they have now or less).

I just got back from Disney. I'd say the heat right now is the biggest limiting factor for attendence, because it's just brutal in the middle of the day. I will say the beginning of our week long (actually about 9 days) trip there seemed less crowded than the end portion. I did feel it was noticeable. But I also felt that we did pretty good with getting on what we wanted to ride using genie+, and in particular, if you were in a lightning lane, generally the waits on those rides were pretty short (I'd go so far as to say shorter than the waits were 5 years ago when I was last there with fast pass). ROTR is actually fairly doable in an hour from entering standby line to end of ride if you time it right (I did that twice and hint - this is one disney really likes to lie about the wait time on). The other paid LL's are probably the worst for finding standby times that are reasonable outside of maybe ropedrop.

I also thought that I found it was easier to find seating at counter-serve restaurants than it was the last time I was there (5 years ago). We didn't necessarily do a lot of counter serve eating in the parks, but I just remember last time having a lot of problems at some of the same places we were at this time.
 

nicksinger8

Mouseketeer
Joined
Apr 19, 2014
This isn't in direct response to the OP. Just a general musing about this topic.

I work in a Broadway theater. It amazes me how many people are surprised by the long lines at the bathrooms (or bar) during intermission. People will say to me, "Can't they do something about this?" And I want to respond, "What's to be done?" We have 15 minutes for ~1500 people to take a break. These are landmarked buildings, which means they're old and you can't change much about them without having to file mountains of paperwork with the city. Each bar has 2-3 people working. How many more are we supposed to staff for a 15 minutes period of time?

Perspective is a wonderful thing. If you go into an experience understanding that you're not the only one there for a good time, and you're not the only one who needs to use the bathroom or buy a drink or see a show, then you'll understand that lines are a fact of life. Is it ideal? No. But are some experiences worth it? For me, yes. For others, maybe not.

Walt was actually known for not liking that famous photo of him under the Disneyland castle with no one else in the park around him. (I personally love the photo.) He said Disneyland was made for people to attend, and that without people Disneyland is dead. I've taken that perspective into my trips to the parks, and it really has helped me cope with the mountains of people that are there with me.

Personally, I have switched from scheduling my trips around expected crowds to expected weather. Unfortunately, it worked best for my friends to go in September this year, but I'm now firmly a January-April tourist at WDW if I'm making the plans. (Disneyland has better weather at other times of year.) Heat and humidity do more to ruin a trip for me than crowds do. And weather, while unpredictable in its own right, is much easier to anticipate than Disney crowds. Crowd patterns are so different than they were 10 years ago.

All of that to say this -- if you properly prepare your expectations, crowd size doesn't have to ruin your trip. Pack your patience and have a good time!

I agree with the sentiment about being realistic and having realistic expectations. And ultimately this is a market issue - the people are deciding with their wallets and I am sure Disney are making a very healthy profit. If they don't provide a great service or go for too much profit over service, then they may find attendances, and in the long run, profits down. A constant balance. That said I think Disney has not built attractions to keep up with demand, especially at DHS. Magic Kingdom is better but across WDW lines are getting longer and longer, prices are going up and to experience attractions you have to pay more and more. Genie + and then individual Lightning Lane on top is a very annoying model as a consumer - I find it ridiculous that I have paid £2200 for tickets including Genie + but I still may not be able to get on RotR without spending 2 hours - I don't want to queue that long for anything. I understand why people are annoyed especially regulars who were used to Fastpass. But again - people are voting with their wallets. Disney, however, needs to listen and they are tinkering all the time it seems.
 

nicksinger8

Mouseketeer
Joined
Apr 19, 2014
It's simple. Disney can reduce attendance by doing one of two things - drastically raising prices, or drastically limiting the number of slots available for people to book the park. Which do you think is going to cause no complaints from people? If you chose c, none of the above, you're right. People complain disney is already not affordable for families, but realistically, the best way disney has to control crowds is to raise prices until people don't want to come (I'm not saying I don't feel it's already too expensive already myself, just that this is simple economics). Limiting the slots available on a given day obviously can have a significant impact on income, and it's not going to win favors with people, because everyone who can't get in the parks would just complain (and to be honest, to make a significant difference, you'd have to drastically cut the number of people allowed in the parks down, like maybe half of what they have now or less).

I just got back from Disney. I'd say the heat right now is the biggest limiting factor for attendence, because it's just brutal in the middle of the day. I will say the beginning of our week long (actually about 9 days) trip there seemed less crowded than the end portion. I did feel it was noticeable. But I also felt that we did pretty good with getting on what we wanted to ride using genie+, and in particular, if you were in a lightning lane, generally the waits on those rides were pretty short (I'd go so far as to say shorter than the waits were 5 years ago when I was last there with fast pass). ROTR is actually fairly doable in an hour from entering standby line to end of ride if you time it right (I did that twice and hint - this is one disney really likes to lie about the wait time on). The other paid LL's are probably the worst for finding standby times that are reasonable outside of maybe ropedrop.

I also thought that I found it was easier to find seating at counter-serve restaurants than it was the last time I was there (5 years ago). We didn't necessarily do a lot of counter serve eating in the parks, but I just remember last time having a lot of problems at some of the same places we were at this time.

They really need more attractions. And actually find a way to keep attractions working. Not easy to pull out of a hat, but it is poor planning especially at DHS. Prices are high enough. Limiting attendance is probably their best bet until then.
 

Praying Colonel

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 16, 2004
Besides controlling the number of gates and number of attractions at each park, Disney controls park crowd levels and controls at what capacity park attractions operate. They manage costs that way. What we see as a glitch, Disney sees as a feature.
 

Genie+

You can never spend enough
Joined
May 12, 2022
They like it feeling crowded. Crowded reinforces the perception it’s such a popular must-do experience. More importantly, crowded sells upgrades like fireworks packages, ILL/G+, party tickets, ADRs that guarantee a seat in the AC, minnievans, hoppers, etc. Recently someone asked which 2 parks don’t have trams still because now they plan to upgrade to preferred parking.

So it’s become a contest of wills. They are doing everything to optimize and squeeze out every possible dollar from every possible angle. I react by doing whatever is necessary to extract maximum experience from what we budget. They seem less interested in protecting guest experience so I will increase focus on ours. If spending needs to be heavily scrutinized now regardless, I will make it worth my while to do so. The more they manipulate, the more I will defend. Game on!
 

juuuliebeth

Mouseketeer
Joined
Apr 30, 2018
I find it ridiculous that I have paid £2200 for tickets including Genie + but I still may not be able to get on RotR without spending 2 hours - I don't want to queue that long for anything.
In talking with my sister about going to see Bruce Springsteen, we were confronted with tickets that were over $400+ and also behind the stage. I'd rather pay that much for a few days at Disney World. When compared to other avenues of entertainment right now, you get much more bang for your buck at a Disney Park than elsewhere. Especially when you compare to Hamilton tickets -- several hundred dollars for 3 hours vs. 8-12 hours at a Disney Park. The Music Man with Hugh Jackman is charging $76 to STAND for the entire performance (2-3 hours) and price tickets only go up from there. As long as social media fuels the FOMO culture, companies will charge large amounts for what they're selling. Especially when there's a limit to what they can provide.

I can get hours of enjoyment out of a book that I paid $5 for, but access isn't restricted by physical spaces and limited supply. We're talking about luxuries here. Entertainment is a luxury, unfortunately, in this modern age. And in my ideal, progressive world, we'd all have tons of disposable income to pay for these things. Until then, I'll budget through the year so I can splurge every now and then.

They really need more attractions. And actually find a way to keep attractions working. Not easy to pull out of a hat, but it is poor planning especially at DHS. Prices are high enough. Limiting attendance is probably their best bet until then.
I do agree with this. They need some real people-eaters out there. (The more dark rides, the better IMO.) I don't want a fifth gate. I want the existing parks to be built out and have more attractions. It's why I argue Disneyland is better than Magic Kingdom, comparing park to park. Both the atmosphere and attraction lineup are so much better in CA, in my opinion. I also hear Genie+ is working better out there for that reason. It's been a while since I've read about that, so I may be wrong.
 

ScottOKW2K

No Chick Flick Moments
Joined
Jun 24, 2000
It is 100% Disney's fault. I've been there multiple times during Easter week in prior years with huge crowds but it could be managed. Why?

Park hours. Few thing work better to reduce crowds than longer park hours IMO.

I don't understand the narrative that they're understaffed so it isn't their fault. It's supply and demand. Just like consumer prices go up when demand increases, salaries should increase when there is a demand for workers.

They don't like giving any income from increased prices toward salaries and would rather go understaffed - illustrated by what they are currently doing.

Every indication is that we're possibly heading towards and economic slowdown. In the past two decades when that has happened WDW has had to lay off people, sometimes thousands. I'm quite sure that many of the executives and workers there remember that and would try to do their best not to repeat it. Many people here are wanting a long term solution ( increased hiring ) for what may be a short on mid term problem ( heightened travel demand ).
 

RSHale

Earning My Ears
Joined
Apr 21, 2006
In talking with my sister about going to see Bruce Springsteen, we were confronted with tickets that were over $400+ and also behind the stage. I'd rather pay that much for a few days at Disney World. When compared to other avenues of entertainment right now, you get much more bang for your buck at a Disney Park than elsewhere.

I used to love to combine the two. About 10 years ago, I flew to WDW for a few days and drove over to Tampa for a Springsteen show. The concert ticket was about $120 including TM fees. A night at Pop Century was about the same. Airfare was reasonable. I had an out-of-state WDW Annual Pass that cost about $550 with tax. Good times.

I haven't been to a concert since before the pandemic (July 2019). I looked at Springsteen's ticket prices for his 2023 Orlando show and was honestly kind of shocked. I've seen him more than 20 times, but I'll probably be skipping this tour. Instead, I just grabbed a ticket to see Elton John in October for one of his final U.S. stadium shows. I've never seen him, and it's close enough that I can drive home that night after the concert. The ticket wasn't cheap, but I got a decent lower stadium seat on an aisle for much less than it would cost me to see Springsteen.
 
Last edited:

juuuliebeth

Mouseketeer
Joined
Apr 30, 2018
I used to love to combine the two. About 10 years ago, I flew to WDW for a few days and drove over to Tampa for a Springsteen show. The concert ticket was about $120 including TM fees. A night at Pop Century was about the same. Airfare was reasonable. I had an out-of-state WDW Annual Pass that cost about $550 with tax. Good times.
Man. Those were the days. :)

I get a lot of the frustration with Disney. I do. I'm just better able to rationalize it, I guess. TicketMaster, though? That's just one big scam. I can't stand them.
 

jade1

I spend half my money on WDW, and waste the rest.
Joined
Dec 30, 2001
Their fault for making the product too desirable.

wwz1.gif
 

lovethesun12

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 5, 2017
In the past two decades when that has happened WDW has had to lay off people, sometimes thousands. I'm quite sure that many of the executives and workers there remember that and would try to do their best not to repeat it. Many people here are wanting a long term solution ( increased hiring ) for what may be a short on mid term problem ( heightened travel demand ).
That is possible. At the same time though, I think Disney are the ones that decided on a long term solution (layoffs) to a short term problem (short shutdown).

They did not have to lay people off, they decided to. Maybe that is what is best for them. I would like to know what the impact of these issues have on guest satisfaction though. To be honest, I don't really mind the crowds, it's that so many things I like to do are closed. What is the cost to them of not having the disney dining plans, Akershus/1900 Park Fare/etc, princess tea parties, bibbidi bobbidi boutique, early morning magic, fantasmic, dessert parties, dining packages, disney dining plan, etc etc etc not operating.

Anyway, I digress. We will have to agree to disagree, I think this is a problem they created. I also think they could easily solve it.
 

lovethesun12

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 5, 2017
It's simple. Disney can reduce attendance by doing one of two things - drastically raising prices, or drastically limiting the number of slots available for people to book the park. Which do you think is going to cause no complaints from people? If you chose c, none of the above, you're right. People complain disney is already not affordable for families, but realistically, the best way disney has to control crowds is to raise prices until people don't want to come (I'm not saying I don't feel it's already too expensive already myself, just that this is simple economics). Limiting the slots available on a given day obviously can have a significant impact on income, and it's not going to win favors with people, because everyone who can't get in the parks would just complain (and to be honest, to make a significant difference, you'd have to drastically cut the number of people allowed in the parks down, like maybe half of what they have now or less).

I just got back from Disney. I'd say the heat right now is the biggest limiting factor for attendence, because it's just brutal in the middle of the day. I will say the beginning of our week long (actually about 9 days) trip there seemed less crowded than the end portion. I did feel it was noticeable. But I also felt that we did pretty good with getting on what we wanted to ride using genie+, and in particular, if you were in a lightning lane, generally the waits on those rides were pretty short (I'd go so far as to say shorter than the waits were 5 years ago when I was last there with fast pass). ROTR is actually fairly doable in an hour from entering standby line to end of ride if you time it right (I did that twice and hint - this is one disney really likes to lie about the wait time on). The other paid LL's are probably the worst for finding standby times that are reasonable outside of maybe ropedrop.

I also thought that I found it was easier to find seating at counter-serve restaurants than it was the last time I was there (5 years ago). We didn't necessarily do a lot of counter serve eating in the parks, but I just remember last time having a lot of problems at some of the same places we were at this time.
They could also just go back to increasing park hours which was typical in the past. I've found nothing spreads out crowds better than an increase in park hours.
 

lovethesun12

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 5, 2017
I used to love to combine the two. About 10 years ago, I flew to WDW for a few days and drove over to Tampa for a Springsteen show. The concert ticket was about $120 including TM fees. A night at Pop Century was about the same. Airfare was reasonable. I had an out-of-state WDW Annual Pass that cost about $550 with tax. Good times.

I haven't been to a concert since before the pandemic (July 2019). I looked at Springsteen's ticket prices for his 2023 Orlando show and was honestly kind of shocked. I've seen him more than 20 times, but I'll probably be skipping this tour. Instead, I just grabbed a ticket to see Elton John in October for one of his final U.S. stadium shows. I've never seen him, and it's close enough that I can drive home that night after the concert. The ticket wasn't cheap, but I got a decent lower stadium seat on an aisle for much less than it would cost me to see Springsteen.
It's much different than Springsteen, but I absolutely loved Elton John. It was my favourite of every show I've ever seen. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
 

RSHale

Earning My Ears
Joined
Apr 21, 2006
Man. Those were the days. :)

I get a lot of the frustration with Disney. I do. I'm just better able to rationalize it, I guess. TicketMaster, though? That's just one big scam. I can't stand them.
Same here. I took a short trip to WDW in January with three days in the parks. I hate some of the changes (especially park reservations), but overall I had a good time and was happy to be there even though I'm not yet sure when I'll go back.

If what I'm seeing with the Springsteen tickets is the future of concerts, I might be about done. I've been fortunate to see a lot of great shows over the years, but things like dynamic pricing, "Platinum" seats, and TM Verified Resellers have taken a lot of the fun out of it.
 

HIRyeDVC

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 17, 2021
It's not in Disney's interest to keep the parks NOT crowded. If it was, they would raise the prices significantly.
 

RSHale

Earning My Ears
Joined
Apr 21, 2006
It's much different than Springsteen, but I absolutely loved Elton John. It was my favourite of every show I've ever seen. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
Thanks. I'm looking forward to it, and I think it will be fun. It'll be nice to see someone I haven't already seen. I passed on a couple of his arena dates earlier in the farewell tour, but I'm really in the mood for an "event" type of concert, and I expect that this will definitely be an event. Recent setlists and reviews have looked good, and I figure it's probably now or never.
 








GET A NO-OBLIGATION VACATION QUOTE

Dreams Unlimited Travel is committed to providing you with the very best vacation planning experience possible. Our Vacation Planners are experts and will share their honest advice to help you have a magical vacation.

Let us help you with your next Disney Vacation!

Top