How Disney World Park Crowds Have CHANGED Over the Past Three Years

Last Updated: November 21st, 2022

There is no doubt that theme parks have changed a lot over the last few years.

Magic Kingdom

From COVID-19 to increased Disney pricing to increased travel pricing, it’s of little surprise that theme park attendance has changed. It might surprise you how it’s changed though!

Recently, the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) released the 2021 statistics on theme park attendance. The study, called the Global Attractions Attendance Report, focuses on reporting annual attendance for the themed entertainment industry and the museum industry. After 2020, it’s no surprise that these industries were in recovery but these recently released statistics show some promising results.

Cinderella Castle

According to John Robinett, the Senior Vice President of AECOM Economics and Advisory, the “total attendance in some areas of the world was in reach of pre-pandemic levels.” While it’s great to hear about the rise in overall attendance, we were still curious as to how the attendance at Disney World was impacted.

Disney World is getting busier

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom topped the list in 2021 with a total of 12,691,000 guests in the park. This was an 82% increase from 2020, which was closed from March 2020 to July 11th,  2020. 6,941,000 guests attended in 2020. While over 12 million is an impressive number, it still isn’t close to the attendance numbers from 2019. In 2019, Magic Kingdom boasted an attendance of 20,963,000 guests.

Magic Kingdom crowds in 2022

Magic Kingdom is currently undergoing some expansion projects that can be expected to impact the park attendance there. Projects like the TRON Lightcycle Run ride and the potential new lands based on movies like Coco and Encanto could have the possibility to really increase park attendance but for now, we can only guess as we finish up 2022.

We can’t wait for TRON to take off!

Hollywood Studios

Coming in second place for attendance was Hollywood Studios, which can seem like the busiest park at Disney World. Studios had 8,589,000 guests in the parks in 2021 which was an increase of 134% from 2020 which had 3,675,000 visitors.  In 2019, Studios had over 11,483,000 guests attend the park.

Look at those crowds in 2022!

While Hollywood Studios didn’t receive any major announcements at D23 this year, the fan-favorite show Fantasmic! has recently returned! This nighttime firework show has not returned since the park closures in 2020.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios will also be adding a new restaurant in Toy Story Land called Roundup Rodeo BBQ which Disney has currently not announced an opening date for.

Roundup Rodeo Construction Wall

EPCOT

EPCOT came in a close third for attendance in 2021 by welcoming 7,752,000 guests. This was a 92% increase from 2020 which only had 4,044,000 guests visit. In 2019, EPCOT welcomed 12,444,000 visitors. 

Crowds at EPCOT

EPCOT is currently undergoing a large expansion that includes plans to add The Journey of Water – Inspired By Moana, a walk-through attraction at the center of EPCOT. EPCOT will also see the addition of CommuniCore Hall and CommuniCore Plaza which will serve as different things like concert areas and guest experiences in the future. These projects should be finishing up in 2023 and 2024 which could impact park attendance. EPCOT also has two new rides — Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.

Cosmic Rewind

Animal Kingdom

The Disney park with the fourth highest number of visitors was Animal Kingdom. In 2021, Animal Kingdom had 7,194,000 guests come through the gates.  From 2020 to 2021, Animal Kingdom saw a 73% increase in park attendance with only 4,166,000 guests visiting in 2020. In 2019, Animal Kingdom had 13,888,000 visitors attend.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom crowds

Animal Kingdom could also undergo some significant changes, however, nothing concrete has been confirmed yet by Disney. At the 2022 D23 expo, Disney announced the possibility of DinoLand being rethemed into Moana and Zootopia lands. While Disney is still exploring these ideas, we can expect that these rethemes would impact park attendance.

2022 Crowds

With the way crowds have been feeling lately, we won’t be surprised if we see a significant increase in the 2022 attendance numbers when those statistics are released next year.

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One Reply to “How Disney World Park Crowds Have CHANGED Over the Past Three Years”

  1. In 2019 there was no reservation system for the parks, correct? And the attendance was much higher than in 2020 or 2021 at each of the parks. Higher to the tune of several million visitors. So if attendance has not returned to 2019 levels (and one would assume attendance was also higher in the years prior to 2019 than in 2020 or 2021), why the need for reservations which were not required prior to the pandemic? Maybe I am wrong, but I don’t recall there being any lines for rides back then on the order of 4 hours. If so it was like 1 ride at all the parks combined. So I guess I am wondering what the reservation system accomplishes? And what Genie+ accomplishes if the lines are just as long for the rides, if not longer, with far lower attendance? The theory being reservations and Genie+ manage the crowds better, but it seems like they don’t. Is this the best the genius minds at Disney can do? But then again, Disney is making lots and lots, more than in prior years, of profit with far fewer guests. Hmmmm. How are they doing that? Oh, wait, I know…..