Will Disney World Raise Capacity Now That Florida Is in Phase 3 of Its Reopening Plan?

Several days ago, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced that the state would immediately move to Phase 3 of its reopening plan.

Main Street, U.S.A.

Under Phase 3 of the Governor’s “Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step Plan,” “theme parks may return to normal operations with limited social distancing protocols.” 

But what does that mean for Disney World? Like other Florida theme parks, Disney World reopened this summer with a variety of new policies and practices due to the pandemic, including limited capacity, which was implemented through the Park Pass reservation system.

Cinderella Castle

While Phase 3 would certainly allow Disney and other Florida theme parks to dramatically change some of their current policies, like park capacity limits, will this move actually result in any major, immediate changes in Disney’s policies and procedures? It seems Disney World does not expect to make any immediate changes to its operating procedures for the time being. In an email sent to Fox35News, Disney made the following statement:

“We received the Governor’s executive order and are evaluating it to determine what it may mean for our business. We are not making any immediate changes. As a reminder, face coverings are still required at Walt Disney World Resort.” 

Molly Back in Disney World!

According to Fox35News, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said that “he anticipates the theme parks will take their time.” Fox News Business Contributor Gary Kaltbaum also said that he thinks the theme parks want to be careful “because you don’t want another episode or a blow-up of the virus and they have to go backwards again.”

Slinky Dog Dash Queue

Masks are currently required at Disney World parks for guests two years of age and older. Guests can only remove their masks, according to the current Disney policy, when they are stationary. All guests are also required to undergo temperature screenings before they are allowed to enter the parks, and there are markers throughout the parks to contribute to ensure social distancing.

Mexico Pavilion Social Distancing Markers

Since Disney World reopened, we have noticed crowd levels have been increasing somewhat. It’s unclear if that’s a result of gradual increases in capacity limits or simply increases in park attendance, or if it’s happening for other unseen reasons. But, on Labor Day weekend we saw some of the highest wait times for attractions in Magic Kingdom that we’ve seen since the reopening.

Magic Kingdom morning crowds on its official reopening day

We’ve also seen Park Pass reservations filling up for upcoming holidays like Halloween. So capacity may not have been increased, but it is definitely feeling more crowded in the parks these days.

Labor Day Weekend Crowds

In terms of other Orlando theme parks, according to a statement made by SeaWorld Orlando to Fox35News, SeaWorld Orlando has noted that they will “continue to evolve their procedures and manage capacity to maintain compliance with state and local government recommendations, while prioritizing the safety of our ambassadors, guests, and animals.”

SeaWorld

For now, it looks like Disney World and other theme parks in Florida will likely not be making any immediate changes with respect to capacity limits as a result of this transition to Phase 3.

We’ll keep our ears open for more news regarding the theme parks and the impact of the global pandemic as the situation continues to evolve, so be sure to come back for all the latest updates.

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3 Replies to “Will Disney World Raise Capacity Now That Florida Is in Phase 3 of Its Reopening Plan?”

  1. Just got home from a week in Disney on 9/27. Crowds were much higher than I had seen reported, especially over the weekend. IMHO, Disney must open more restaurants before they increase attendance. The “crowds” outside places such as Cosmic Rays waiting on their mobile order to “ping ready” were the most concerning places I witnessed inside the parks, as far as social distancing is concerned. Disney Springs was basically a free for all in the open areas with no possibility of social distancing. All of the major stores and dining options had outside wait lines throttling entry into the stores, with World of Disney having the worst lines exceeding 45 minutes at times while we were there.

  2. Attendance seems to have risen over the last month. Not sure if that’s due to Silver Passes or increased capacity. Perhaps they were not at capacity earlier this summer. Like you said we will never know. I still feel safe now. I will not be going back if they increase seating at the restaurants. I feel safe in lines with our masks on and in Disney’s well designed socially distanced restaurants (both quick and full service). It’s actually the only place we have been out to eat since March. I would not be comfortable eating in a full capacity restaurant anywhere. The science is clear that it is not safe. Hopefully Disney will listen to the science.

  3. Disney World would have to be crazy to go very far in increasing crowd sizes. We are entering what may be the worst time for this virus. The virus numbers are increasing across the country. It is one thing to live in Orlando and go to a bar , restaurant, or even Disney. It is another thing all together to live in the midwest where numbers are surging and get away from all the spreading virus by heading to Disney. I emailed Disney to ask about apparent cases from Disney attendees as a function of total attendance. What do you think their answer was ? “We don’t release attendance figures and we ask all park goers to wear masks and social distance”. In other words? We will never know. I doubt very much Disney wishes to go back to square one. Florida is rolling the dice. Will Disney do the same?