Thoughts on why crowds are lower this summer so far??

We're going in the middle of July (yeah, we know it'll be miserably hot, but we're from Florida so relatively used to it). It's the only time we had to go before our son heads off to college. I've been very surprised at the ADR availability a month out. Things that are hard to get most of the year are available with multiple time slots: Le Cellier, Chef Mickey's, 'Ohana, CRT, Be Our Guest -- all available for the time we'll be there. So to me, that points to lower crowds. Hoping so, anyway.
 
We are planning on going for a longer trip at the end of August this year. Last year we went for a few days and while it was incredibly hot, we did well adjusting to our normal style when we go in cooler months. Hoping the crowds are lighter when we visit as it makes such a difference!
 
I happened to be at Universal and Disney for six days that included Memorial Day. Crowds fluctuated at both parks but were never low. Living with the Land and Figment had wait times as high as 50 minutes. E.T. also had wait times at 50 minutes during certain parts of the day.

I don't follow crowd data. My report is based on personal observation and comparison to past trips. The crowd did not appear to be smaller or bigger than my previous Memorial Day trips.

The heat, however, was noticeably worse.
Reports from WDW were generally low wait times over then so I’m thinking you may not have the best of luck timing wise…
 
Summer hasn't been super popular for some time now. There was a time when many FL resident passes were blocked out all summer (we had the silver pass), then one summer they unexpectedly lifted the blockouts for part of the summer due to lower crowds (pre-covid!), and now I don't think any of the passes are blocked June-Aug.

I think the heat plays a big role, personally. It's why we went in May and won't return until fall. And we have annual passes, vacation time, and funds to travel but the heat is just miserable for us. We'd rather hit the beach during the summer and visit WDW other times of the year.
 
I don't fully buy the heat reason as people book Disney vacations months to a year out. I fully believe price of a Disney vacation especially when you add in Genie+ and the amount rooms go for now it's too much for most people.

MCO saw record breaking travelers for Memorial Day weekend yet Disney had low crowds. People are still traveling just not to Disney
The other thing is people can remote work now, it is a thing that factors into versatility of vaction planning.
 
We're going in the middle of July (yeah, we know it'll be miserably hot, but we're from Florida so relatively used to it). It's the only time we had to go before our son heads off to college. I've been very surprised at the ADR availability a month out. Things that are hard to get most of the year are available with multiple time slots: Le Cellier, Chef Mickey's, 'Ohana, CRT, Be Our Guest -- all available for the time we'll be there. So to me, that points to lower crowds. Hoping so, anyway.
I made a post earlier today about this exact thing. It's unbelievable how many typically-hard-to-get dining reservations are still available IN ABUNDANCE for mid-July.
 
None of that is any different than it has been for many years.
As a teacher, I disagree. Post-Covid, families are waaaaay more likely in my district to take off randomly during the school year compared to before. I thought it might level out but the number of students taking vacations during the school year is increasing in my experience. There isn't as much of a stigma to pull your kids out mid-year. This leaves fewer families willing to suffer through Florida's summer heat if they can easily visit during the other 3 seasons.
 
Just from observation I definitely notice more people shifting their trips from summer months to fall/winter. January is busier than it was previously.
Demographics are changing too. There’s a large increase in retirees, empty nesters and double-income no-kids visiting WDW, and those may have a higher preference and ability to avoid the worst time of year in Orlando.

We fall into the category of empty nesters. Late Oct thru early April seems to be the sweetest spot. Our rationale is even if crowds and prices are lower in summer, WDW is still expensive and makes no sense if not enjoyable. Summer isn’t more convenient for our schedule now. Our stamina and weather tolerance is less than years ago. I can’t stand the sunscreen battle.

We bought APs in Feb. Squeezing in a summer trip would get a ‘free ticket’ trip and it’s still a “No thank you!”
 
For some of us in-state APs, I would say the extreme heat recently has kept us away. LOL. That said, we are going Sunday and will hopefully get to ride Tiana's Bayou Adventure AP preview. Thankfully the heat did break earlier this week and while still hot, it's back in the more normal range.
 
Just came back from a 14 day universal-disney trip. I did notice lower crowds at disney, but I have not visited in the summer since 2018. Usually we go late October early November but the crowds in June were mostly the same if not lower at disney this time. For universal the crowds did seem significantly higher than my late October trip.
There was a stretch of 6-7 days of 100 degree weather which made me say never again to visit this time. And we are from Texas, but it was not enjoyable at all.
 
Demographics are changing too. There’s a large increase in retirees, empty nesters and double-income no-kids visiting WDW, and those may have a higher preference and ability to avoid the worst time of year in Orlando.

We fall into the category of empty nesters. Late Oct thru early April seems to be the sweetest spot. Our rationale is even if crowds and prices are lower in summer, WDW is still expensive and makes no sense if not enjoyable. Summer isn’t more convenient for our schedule now. Our stamina and weather tolerance is less than years ago. I can’t stand the sunscreen battle.

We bought APs in Feb. Squeezing in a summer trip would get a ‘free ticket’ trip and it’s still a “No thank you!”
This post resonates with me. Longtime DVC (BCV) and AP holders. We too used to sneak in a midyear, discounted rack rate stay to take advantage of AP. Expensive ?, sure. But there is no way I’ll pull that trigger anymore due to resort expense. Live in New England, so my only attendance months are Nov - April. Go Celts.
 
I've been looking at the stats and live crowd numbers so far this June. It appears that they have been much lower than the last several years. We have been early to mid-June many times and they were consistently crowds of 6-8, even during rainstorms and extreme heat as summer often brings. In particular, Magic Kingdom has reported crowds of 2-3 the majority of the month so far.

Thoughts on this?
People are struggling financially, and Disney prices have skyrocketed.
 
None of that is any different than it has been for many years.
The willingness to take kids out of school, especially in older school years, is different since the pandemic. I have friends and family who are teachers and school administrators, and they all talk about this.

As a parent myself, I feel it too. We used to hem and haw over whether to take the kids out for longer than a few days in a given school year.

Now? It’s much more like, “What’s two weeks in the grand scheme?”
 
I made a post earlier today about this exact thing. It's unbelievable how many typically-hard-to-get dining reservations are still available IN ABUNDANCE for mid-July.
ADRs are easy now due to lack of use of a TS dining plan. The new dining plans are WAY overpriced and not nearly as popular. And some popular places are still impossible to get. And I honestly think the two hour cancellation policy has helped. Now I know it’s more likely I could get something last minute, so I am less likely to book. Also, with Genie+ and LL costs, I am spending way less money on food to offset the price of those expenses. Spending 15-45 dollars per day on those killed my food budget.

I also think the 100+ degree temps FL has had the past couple of summers are scaring folks off. Disney’s new places, Galaxy,s Edge and Toy Story Land, weren’t built with enough shade options. The walk to the buses from HS is brutal in the hot sun and there is no shade.

Also, are crowds really lower? Summer hasn’t been packed since the the late 201x’s.
 
ADRs are easy now due to lack of use of a TS dining plan. The new dining plans are WAY overpriced and not nearly as popular. And some popular places are still impossible to get. And I honestly think the two hour cancellation policy has helped. Now I know it’s more likely I could get something last minute, so I am less likely to book. Also, with Genie+ and LL costs, I am spending way less money on food to offset the price of those expenses. Spending 15-45 dollars per day on those killed my food budget.

I also think the 100+ degree temps FL has had the past couple of summers are scaring folks off. Disney’s new places, Galaxy,s Edge and Toy Story Land, weren’t built with enough shade options. The walk to the buses from HS is brutal in the hot sun and there is no shade.

Also, are crowds really lower? Summer hasn’t been packed since the the late 201x’s.
While a lot of that is true, I do think price is playing a factor. While the parks may still be somewhat busy, the bigger concern is the availability at the resorts through Christmas.
 
















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