In recent weeks, guests have reported longer lines and wait times at Walt Disney World theme parks. We now have the answer to why that has been the case. Disney CEO Bob Chapek has just announced on Thursday that the Florida parks will be increasing their operating capacity to 35% from the previous 25%. Disney accredits this increase to their ability to go above and beyond in health and COVID safety initiatives.
Disney’s health and safety measures include
- Plexiglass dividers on most rides
- Mask requirements
- Social distancing in lines
- Fever checks at entrances
- Disney Park Pass reservations for entry
- No park hopping allowed
In September Florida entered “Phase 3”, which allowed for most businesses to open at full capacity. In October, Disney World parks announced that they were still limiting the parks to the 25% capacity limit and had made no changes in their safety requirements for guests.
There has not been an exact date shared as to when Walt Disney World shifted to the 35% capacity, however, it can be speculated that this increase may have happened a few weeks ago at the same time that the park began to be more crowded and wait times increased.
This change in park capacity may be in response to the higher demand for attendance due to the festivities held during the holiday season. Although more guests are allowed in at any given time, Disney and it’s cast members are making sure that all social distancing guidelines and mask requirements are being observed. Guests also will still need to reserve their park entry as well as their table-service dining.
At the beginning of November there was an unfortunate glitch in the reservation system that services the Walt Disney World parks. This glitch caused an increase in the available reservations. After Disney discovered this glitch they had to cancel many of the reservations booked during that time and issued $25 gift cards to canceled parties for the inconvenience. This spurred Disney to release a statement that they will not be increasing the table-service dining capacity at this time. This allows them to maintain proper social distancing and cleaning protocols.
As always, Disney is going above and beyond to allow visitors access to the park in a safe and mindful way.