Where are all the crowds?

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Punkrockbebop

Namaste! Be excellent to each other.
Joined
May 6, 2017
We’ve been at Carribean Beach from Tuesday 9/28 until Mon 10/4, and were in MK for the 50th anniversary and the day before. When we booked this trip in August 2020 my partner got this room, but realized not too long after booking that we really wanted to be closer to the magic. I kept trying different ways of looking, but it seemed like all the monorail resorts were booked and I couldn’t get a DVC room on our points or rented points either. There just wasn’t anything available, and furthermore there wasn’t really inventory in other resorts, either for this time.

So naturally, we expected massive crowds, but that just never happened. Our room check in was easy, there were not a lot of people. We went straight to Epcot on the 28th for our Passholder preview of Remy, then walked onto several attractions with virtually no wait. The next day, we went to Disney Springs. No big crowds there. There were a few more people than usual in the 50th anniversary area of World of Disney and the CoOp, but it was not really bad. We got almost all the 50th merch we wanted in DS, except for the Oct 1st exclusives. Then we hit food and wine at Epcot and it was a dream. Light crowds, no waits whatsoever for Food & Wine booths or rides, Creations shop was a little busy but again, not that bad. We got a great spot for the soft opening of the terrrible Bargemonious show with a normal to large crowd. The following day in Magic Kindgom almost everything was a walk on up to a 30 minute wait. Of course, Magic Kingdom was crowded for the 50th but like everyone else we were shocked by the low wait times. Hollywood Studios today was very light, and we walked onto most attractions. Only a 30 minute wait at Rise of the Resistance and maybe a little more for Slinky Dog. The buses have been mostly light, very few people in line for the skyliner, and the monorail, too. We hit a couple of resorts and there weren’t too many people.

The point I’m trying to make is, where the heck are all the people who supposedly booked up all the hotels? We are so puzzled by this, and have pondered a few theories. COVID or mask policy cancellations? Limited release of room inventory at the resorts due to staffing/cutbacks? People going to HHS instead of WDW during the rest of thier stay? Alternate universe? I don’t get it. I’d love to hear what other people think!
 

katyringo

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 21, 2017
Everything is purely speculation but my thoughts are:

1. people aren't coming. The Covid wave in Florida in late summer caused people to cancel and move trips. I see so much of "we moved to the trip to 2022.." 2022 will be the crowds.
2. lack of international travel.
3. I don't think resorts are at full capacity for booking and I think staffing is part of that. They have delayed opening of some resorts again I think.
4. my other data points are the after hours events. Boo bash May say sold out online but it's becoming well known you can purchase day of tickets at the windows.. it's not sold out. None of the Christmas party dates are sold out. You could argue that is due to cost and I would say that's partially true but I also know that past patterns would show up that folks fork over the dough.. I just don't think folks are coming.
5.People don't want to pull kids out of school this year either and many parents are waiting for the vaccine for their kids before traveling to Disney. I know that's my case. I'm going solo in November but our family trip isn't until next fall.

i think we will see a slow crowd build up from now until spring 2022 and then I would predict that from spring break 2022 through the end of the 50th we will see surges of heavy crowds.. I think there is a reason other than construction and pandemic delays why guardians isn't opening until 2022 and why Star Wars cruiser isn't opening until March. The purpose of new things is to bring new people and Disney knows they aren't coming this fall...
 

hildarumpole

DIS Veteran
Joined
Oct 20, 2006
We are former AP holders who visited 3 times/yr for years, considering ourselves Disney fanatics. Six days ago, we canceled a trip that was to begin on Tuesday, which included Boo Bash and 7 ADRs, and switched to Universal due to mask policy. Our last Disney trip was Jan. 2020, so we really wanted to return, and held out hope as long as possible, but the current policy is a non-starter for us. Hoping to return at some point in 2022. We'll wait to see how Genie+ pans out as well as overall improvement in service and offerings relative to value.
 
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kathy884

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 26, 2009
I looked at touringplans.com (crowd calendar). For the 50th at the MK they had predicted a crowd level 10, but based on time studies of lines for rides/attractions, they said it was actually a crowd level one. Some individual reports on this formum seem to say crazy crowds came in for merchandise and other things and to see the new fireworks show, but not much else. That's hard for me to fathom/understand??

If I had unvaccinated children who I thought would fairly soon be able to get a vaccine, I would probably delay travel too. I'm guessing a lot of families have done this with high Florida COVID rates. And break thru cases for the vaccinated and high hospital utilization rates (It's nice to know a hospital would have room for me or a member of my family if something non-COVID unexpectedly happened) have made some adult travelers reluctant too.

Unfortunately for us (since I have a March 2022 Orlando trip planned), I do think that is going to be a crowded time for sure and that 2022 like another poster alluded too is going to be busy. That's not a bad thing though if more people are vaccinated, Covid cases are down, and hospital bed utilization is at a more normal level. I go to Orlando almost every year or at least every other year and my March 2022 airfares based on supply and demand were higher than I have every paid from both Chicago and St. Louis (the two cities our group is flying from). That's my first indicator that lots of people are planning to go. The people going in my group are all Disney diehards who have a good time even at an insane time like Christmas week, so we will be OK. And March is my favorite time in Central Florida for weather, and we are still super excited to get back. I'm doing this one in March, but I think, I may for future need to rethink Orlando trips due to crowds -- knowing me and since I have relatives in the area, I'll probably still get down there regularly for a mini trip at least. We are even rethinking National Park trips and trying another place with natural beauty, but lower crowds than a national park for a second 2022 trip (actually we will be hitting one of the least popular National Parks in the country for one day on this trip too).

Travel thoughts for us these days and how we are thinking about things: (No one goes there nowadays, it’s too crowded. Yogi Berra).
 
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Lsyves

Grew up at Disney
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
We are former AP holders who visited 3 times/yr for years, considering ourselves Disney fanatics. Six days ago, we canceled a trip that was to begin on Tuesday, which included Boo Bash and 7 ADRs, and switched to Universal due to mask policy. Our last Disney trip was Jan. 2020, so we really wanted to return, and held out hope as long as possible, but the current policy is a non-starter for us. Hoping to return at some point in 2022. We'll wait to see how Genie+ pans out as well as overall improvement in service and offerings relative to value.
I am very curious when Disney will lower mask regs! I see numbers are finally decreasing nationwide. Fingers crossed.
 

igrsod

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 11, 2010
I think it's a combination of everything mentioned above. The inventory of rooms is probably reduced due to staffing issues right now. DVC is a different situation. Us DVC peeps are coming no matter what to use up our accumulated points over the pandemic, thus the lack of inventory. We have a Dec. trip planned and we are mostly just going to hang out at the resort by the pool etc. just to get away. Not going to the crowded parks during a pandemic, especially since we need a negative test in order to fly home to Canada.
 

igrsod

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 11, 2010
I am very curious when Disney will lower mask regs! I see numbers are finally decreasing nationwide. Fingers crossed.
Our numbers in Canada have always been lower than what the USA considers decreasing numbers, and our mask mandates, vaccine mandates and reduced capacity mandates are still in place with no end in sight. That's the thing, no one knows when the next variant or wave will come and I wouldn't want to lift those things and be caught off guard. Honestly, wearing a mask is not that big a deal. I do it all day at work. I kind of like it... I don't have to worry if anything is stuck in my teeth, lol.
 

Lsyves

Grew up at Disney
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Our numbers in Canada have always been lower than what the USA considers decreasing numbers, and our mask mandates, vaccine mandates and reduced capacity mandates are still in place with no end in sight. That's the thing, no one knows when the next variant or wave will come and I wouldn't want to lift those things and be caught off guard. Honestly, wearing a mask is not that big a deal. I do it all day at work. I kind of like it... I don't have to worry if anything is stuck in my teeth, lol.
I find it helpful when I'm talking to myself :)

Where I live (EU) I think masks will be around for a very long time as well. I guess Disney's lifting of the requirements this Summer made me feel hopeful for a mask-free vacation. I am a rule follower so no big deal here either, just tired of them.
 

snikki

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 9, 2021
Not all on site resorts are open yet either. Although it may seem that everything is sold out there are also 1000++ rooms not in inventory. That could make it seem worse when trying to book.
 

monica9

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 3, 2011
I find it helpful when I'm talking to myself :)

Where I live (EU) I think masks will be around for a very long time as well. I guess Disney's lifting of the requirements this Summer made me feel hopeful for a mask-free vacation. I am a rule follower so no big deal here either, just tired of them.
I’m predicting masks and social distancing will be around for the next 5 years
 

jthornton94

Mouseketeer
Joined
Sep 30, 2008
I think this upcoming weekend will be interesting. With many kids off school, some have a chance to travel , myself included. My kid is 16, so vaccinated. I’m so glad masks are still in place and hope that does hold the crowds down. I have watched room availability since we booked in July and for the most part, nothing available under $650 a night. We snagged ASMu when it first reopened, and we’re bumped to Caribbean Beach by Disney back in August. Just this weekend I finally saw suites at AoA pop up and rooms at Pop.
 

Punkrockbebop

Namaste! Be excellent to each other.
Joined
May 6, 2017
Our numbers in Canada have always been lower than what the USA considers decreasing numbers, and our mask mandates, vaccine mandates and reduced capacity mandates are still in place with no end in sight. That's the thing, no one knows when the next variant or wave will come and I wouldn't want to lift those things and be caught off guard. Honestly, wearing a mask is not that big a deal. I do it all day at work. I kind of like it... I don't have to worry if anything is stuck in my teeth, lol.

I can’t even imagine canceling a trip with such light crowds just because of a little piece of cloth, but we are used to it, too. In our job industry mask wearing is a requirement and we are tested 1-3 x a week, so it’s no big deal. I kind of like it, too. It keeps the sunburn away and every photo is flattering. Lol. As Ryno said in the Dis Unplugged this past week, we have treated it as just another fashion accessory that we match to our outfits. Lots of cute options.

That being said, I highly doubt the low crowds are because of the masks, I think that’s probably a minority group of travelers. One family ahead of us was so giddy about the low waits and said to us, “it’s totally worth wearing masks. We are having so much fun”
 

Dead2009

Horror Movie Guru
Joined
Nov 30, 2019
We are former AP holders who visited 3 times/yr for years, considering ourselves Disney fanatics. Six days ago, we canceled a trip that was to begin on Tuesday, which included Boo Bash and 7 ADRs, and switched to Universal due to mask policy. Our last Disney trip was Jan. 2020, so we really wanted to return, and held out hope as long as possible, but the current policy is a non-starter for us. Hoping to return at some point in 2022. We'll wait to see how Genie+ pans out as well as overall improvement in service and offerings relative to value.

You probably shouldnt travel then if you're still worried about indoor mask mandates in the middle of an ongoing pandemic.
 

Punkrockbebop

Namaste! Be excellent to each other.
Joined
May 6, 2017
Everything is purely speculation but my thoughts are:

1. people aren't coming. The Covid wave in Florida in late summer caused people to cancel and move trips. I see so much of "we moved to the trip to 2022.." 2022 will be the crowds.
2. lack of international travel.
3. I don't think resorts are at full capacity for booking and I think staffing is part of that. They have delayed opening of some resorts again I think.
4. my other data points are the after hours events. Boo bash May say sold out online but it's becoming well known you can purchase day of tickets at the windows.. it's not sold out. None of the Christmas party dates are sold out. You could argue that is due to cost and I would say that's partially true but I also know that past patterns would show up that folks fork over the dough.. I just don't think folks are coming.
5.People don't want to pull kids out of school this year either and many parents are waiting for the vaccine for their kids before traveling to Disney. I know that's my case. I'm going solo in November but our family trip isn't until next fall.

i think we will see a slow crowd build up from now until spring 2022 and then I would predict that from spring break 2022 through the end of the 50th we will see surges of heavy crowds.. I think there is a reason other than construction and pandemic delays why guardians isn't opening until 2022 and why Star Wars cruiser isn't opening until March. The purpose of new things is to bring new people and Disney knows they aren't coming this fall...

Thank you! This analysis makes so much sense. As to point #5, that is even the case for us, as six people in our family cancelled because my partner’s 3 year old nephew is not vaccinated and the parents had worries about the Delta Variant, and the reason the rest of the family was tagging along was that it was the child’s first trip. It worked out great for us, because it removed the extra pressure of everybody coordinating, and we could just relax and enjoy ourselves.
 

MICKIMINI

Love the Mouse!
Joined
Sep 6, 2003
We leave in about three weeks. I am hoping crowds are still light! I am finding rental car prices are coming down and I am able to get a large SUV (for six passengers) for $683 including gas and extra driver (adult son) for 11 days. I'm so glad I checked again and again as I was at about $1000 and can only relate it to supply and demand (finally). We've also been able to snag ADR's for Le Cellier, Chefs de France, Ohana and other hard to get restaurants - again IMO has to be supply and demand! We'll see!

:car:
 

DeeBee3

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 9, 2020
This is an interesting thread, especially as some of you are from outside the US. We went in August despite being hesitant due to FL's Covid pos numbers. However, we needed the mental break and we had masks that were not just cloth - highly recommend USA Mask or Lutema. Anyway, it turned out being the best trip ever. It was mid-August so crowds were thinning and we rarely had high wait times. However, we went into the trip with no expectations and did not wait for rides with long lines (with little kids, that was 30mins +). We also just loved being at a pool and walking around enjoying the sights.

Best decision we made. I wouldn't have chosen August, but it turned out what we got. Our kids were out of school for almost 15 months. I didn't really count the virtual as real school - it did not live up to our expectations. That's a story for another time. Anyway, that limited when we could go as we were certainly not taking them out now that they actually have REAL school. Yay!

Now that our covid numbers (where I live) are going up and FL's are going down, I have no idea what to expect for you all in the future. Pretty sure it's going to be cyclical for a long time to come.
 
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