Disney CEO Bob Chapek and Disney CFO Christine McCarthy spoke about theme park capacity during Disney’s recent earnings call with investors. The two reiterated that they’re in a constantly evolving situation, but the current plan is to continue to increase attendance at Walt Disney World.
Chapek initially stated that 70% of Walt Disney World’s hotels have reopened to guests. He also mentioned that daily attendance caps, which increased throughout the past quarter, were reached almost daily. On a separate note, Chapek made it very clear the park reservation system is here to stay.
Meanwhile, McCarthy spoke about Disney’s plans for the remainder of 2021. Summarized, she anticipates Walt Disney World will be at 100% by the end of the year.
“We’re expecting the parks to be fully staffed by the end of the calendar year 2021. We’re going to be increasing capacities as we have the demand and we’re also being able to thoroughly train our employees as they come back in. This is an ever-changing landscape with COVID. We’re going to be particularly careful and also going to bring our capacity online aggressively and measured. We’re not going to just open up the doors and fling them open. We’re doing this in the measured fashion for the health and safety of not only our guests, but also our cast members in the parks.”
Large crowds have already returned to Walt Disney World this summer. Though the parks aren’t at 100%, reduced entertainment and limited offerings have compounded the feeling that the parks are busy. Lines for popular attractions and hordes of people waiting for fireworks are reminiscent of 2019.
As Disney increases capacity, questions are inevitably raised about FastPass+. This old program will likely be replaced by whatever comes with the Disney Genie, Disney’s multi-tiered service that will impact guest planning. More information about the Disney Genie is expected soon.
Guests planning an upcoming visit to Walt Disney World should brace for heavy crowds, particularly around the 50th anniversary on October 1.