Disney World CAN’T Return to “Normal” — Here’s Why

As the situation with COVID-19 continues to change and develop, AllEars will be bringing you the latest relevant news that could affect a theme park visit.

When Disney World shut down in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the parks were irrevocably changed.

Magic Kingdom

Never in history had Disney World been closed for 15 days in a row (looking back, how naive were we?). Little did we know we would be faced with a closure nearly eight times as long — a total of 117 days. And although the parks and hotels have reopened, Disney World is far from its normal operating state. In addition, new technology and guest experiences have been implemented that some would argue have also changed Disney World forever. We’re taking a look at why Disney World just can’t return to “normal.”

Staffing Shortages

Despite most of Disney World having reopened, there are still quite a few experiences that remain closed, including restaurants, merchandise locations, and even special enhancements. Disney previously stated that staffing shortages were the main reason for this.

Souk al Magreb closed in EPCOT

Although Disney didn’t explicitly state a reason for the staffing issues, the United States as a whole has been faced with a labor shortage since the global pandemic halted life as we once knew it. Workers have a higher desire for flexibility and work from home jobs, plus a demand for higher pay and better benefits.

Big Top Souvenirs closed in Magic Kingdom

Recently, the Centers for Disease Control raised the COVID-19 Risk Category for Orange and Osceola Counties, where Disney World is located. It’s possible that some people just aren’t ready to enter the traditional workforce again in the wake of another potential surge in cases.

Click Here to See Everything That Is CLOSED in Disney World

Increased Crowds

When Disney World shut down operations, many guests and families were left dealing with having to postpone their trips — or cancel them altogether. Since the parks reopened, we have seen a huge increase in crowds and wait times throughout the parks.

Magic Kingdom is CROWDED!

Not only that, but overall leisure travel has increased throughout the country, with many travelers wanting an escape from their day-to-day reality.

Why Disney World Seems So Crowded Right Now

Supply Chain Issues

If you’ve noticed low stock on certain items at your local stores, you have the global supply chain crisis to thank for that. Unfortunately, Disney World — although magical — is not immune to commerce conniptions.

So many ears!

Much like with staffing issues, Disney has not come out with any statements on whether or not the global supply chain crisis has affected them directly, but we’ve noticed it around the parks.

Several stores remain closed.

Stores occasionally have empty shelves, or are straight-up closed altogether. Not only that, but Disney foods have been affected as well, with restaurants having to re-imagine dishes or scrap them completely.

10 Stroller Accessories We’re Never Traveling Without

Health & Safety Guidelines

As we previously mentioned, the CDC recently upgraded the Risk Category for the counties where Disney World is located as a result of the ongoing global pandemic. Although they aren’t what they once were, health and safety guidelines are still in effect in Disney World.

Face Mask Sign

Currently, the Disney World website states that guests exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 “must not enter Walt Disney World Resort,” and face coverings are “recommended for guests who are not fully vaccinated” indoors and on enclosed transportation, though not required.

Mask signage removed from monorail entrance

Disney’s Park Pass Reservation System is still in place as well, with guests now having to make reservations for the date they plan on visiting the parks instead of just being able to visit on any given day. The new system isn’t going away any time soon, as Disney has confirmed it will stick around through 2024.

Check Out the Easiest Disney Park Pass Reservations to Make in 2022

Not to mention that Disney World is constantly changing and being updated to include the latest innovations and technologies. With the addition of Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, we’ve experience a whole new type of roller coaster. Plus, MagicBand+ will be rolling out in the parks soon, offering guests an entirely new interactive experience during their park visit.

Here’s Everything You Need to Know About MagicBand+

It’s possible that Disney World will never truly return to “normal,” but that doesn’t have to be a negative thing. With change comes exciting new things to experience, and we can’t wait.


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7 Replies to “Disney World CAN’T Return to “Normal” — Here’s Why”

  1. Things like huge crowds are definitely Disney’s fault. They don’t have to let so many people in. They know how much staff they have, they know what ride and food service capacity is, they know how long lines will be and how disappointing the experience will be but the hype machine keeps selling it and I’ve no doubt Disney is expecting goodwill and nostalgia to see them through this period of profit taking and they’re probably right. But maybe not. Will next year see sudden sales and discounting and free Genie+ for resort stays in the midst of recession or inflation driven belt tightening with guests? We’ll see.

  2. Their political positions and broadcasting them have also hurt their image and stock price. They hurt themselves instead of just doing business.

  3. Health and safety guidelines at wdw have been basically non existent for months so they can stop using that excuse. If they could accept a slightly smaller profit margin and pay their employees better, that may help alleviate their staffing shortage.

    1. Carol, I agree. I don’t buy the food shortages either. Grocery stores are pretty much back to normal. Maybe it’s higher prices they don’t want to shell out. After all, they have cut back on portion sizes according to one of their v.p.’s. I just don’t think they are operating with full staff because they don’t want to. Plenty of people need jobs. Disney is trying to make profit and get by on minimum employees, food choices, no disney express, no delivery of purchases to hotels, less experiences in order to increase the profits. Not to say that they have increased park entry prices, added Genie Plus, which is an absolute waste of money and extra charges for lightning lanes.

    2. Amen to that! I worked in accounting for 30 years and I just can’t wrap my head around the choices they have made! It looks almost like they want a quick fix. But they are really not looking down the road. And I’m afraid they are going to see what’s really happening too late.

    3. Carol you hit the nail on the head. I was at WDW in May and contracted COVID while there but that was a risk I was willing to take. I’ve been to WDW 16 out of the last 18 years and was most disappointed with this visit due to the many changes that have been implemented…none of which are improvements for the vacationer.