Low Attendance at Walt Disney World on Veteran’s Day May Signal Bleak Holidays

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Yesterday was Veteran’s Day in the United States — a holiday that often sees a bump in local attendance at Walt Disney World. In the year 2020, however, the parks were very, very light. That has some analysts worried.

To give you some understanding of what crowd levels were like on a holiday, Runaway Railway in Hollywood Studios is an attraction that runs very long wait times now. That’s especially true given its reduced capacity. Since reopening the theme parks, the new ride has had an average wait time of somewhere around 90 minutes… which means at its peak, it’s easily a two hour wait. So how about on Veteran’s Day? Well, first you have to know that Disney overestimated the official wait time dramatically all day long. In reality, the wait time on average was under an hour.

Over at Magic Kingdom, even with Disney inflating the official wait times by even double, the Magic Kingdom had average wait times under half an hour when you look at all attractions. And again, this is with those rides running at reduced capacity. On a normal day pre-pandemic, these lines would equate to a 15 minute wait time… on a holiday.

For Magic Kingdom, let’s use the notoriously long-line attraction, Peter Pan’s Flight. Yesterday, Disney posted – on average – a 30 minute wait time for the attraction. However, Touring Plans notes that the actual wait time was 56% of that number. So it looks like if you wanted to ride Peter Pan’s Flight, on a holiday, it would take you about 17 minutes. For that ride, it’s unheard of.

Wait Times for Disney World on Veteran’s Day 2020

So here’s the bad news, good news, bad news:

The first bad news is, it seems the rising pandemic numbers are keeping guests at bay and not moving through Disney’s turnstiles. Running abysmal numbers on a holiday is not a good sign. The good news is it looks like a vaccine will be here and readily available in the coming months… probably not later than spring of 2021. The bad news that finishes out this report is that Disney is going to be stuck with a rising pandemic for the 2020 holidays with no vaccine available just yet (outside of possible emergency use). So although we don’t know what the numbers will be for Disney World come Thanksgiving week and then the Christmas season, Veteran’s Day as a bellwether looks frankly awful.

Conversely, if you’re a guest interested in rides, rides, and more rides… and a lack of fireworks or big parades doesn’t bother you… this is likely the best time of your life to go to Walt Disney World. Of course that hinges on you not minding the masks nor being concerned about the pandemic. But my guess is there are quite a few people out there who fit that description, and this is practically a Disney World paradise for them.

Stick around for more news on Disney, especially with the Earnings Report coming out this afternoon/evening EST. In the meantime, let us know what you think in the comments below. Would you venture out to Disney World while numbers are rising, or is it time to be safe rather than sorry?


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