Monday, March 20, 2023

Spring Break Crowd Report

After a few weeks of (relative) calm at Walt Disney World recently, Spring Break season has arrived.  Last month, we took a look at crowds over President's Week, one of the busiest weeks of the year.  There were some interesting trends observed in that post, so I wanted to see if the trend we saw there carried over to another of the busiest times of year for the parks.

Spring Break is a harder time to pin down, due to schools having all different break schedules.  This generally leads to elevated crowd levels from mid-March all the way through mid-April and sometimes beyond.  Depending on where Easter and Passover fall, a lot of schools work their breaks around one or both of these holidays.  But this past week was really the start of Spring Break season, as many colleges (and local K-12 schools) were off from 3/13-3/17.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Tron Lightcycle Run Soft Open And More

A couple of months ago, Disney announced that Tron Lightcycle Run, their shiny new coaster in Magic Kingdom, would open on April 4.  In the last few weeks, there have been various previews for Tron - cast member, annual passholder, etc.  Since the previews began so early, the question for many people was whether there would be a "soft open" to the general public before April 4, and as Disney announced today, the answer is yes - a soft open will take place between March 20th and April 2nd.

A soft open is a good way to test out a new attraction before the official opening date.  Expectations are lower, and if there are any issues, people usually chalk those up to working out the bugs and are more forgiving than they would be once the actual opening day comes along.  Is that the case here?  I'm not so sure, honestly.  The question is more about why the opening was so late, rather than why the previews are so long.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Disney News: New Meet and Greets, Epcot Nighttime Update, Disney100

Picture courtesy of Disney Parks Blog

Disney dropped a bunch of news tidbits today about what's coming soon to Walt Disney World.  In the post I wrote just yesterday, I talked about how there would be a lag between announcing a major project and actually seeing it come to fruition.  In the meantime, though, a bunch of other, smaller changes can happen which will breathe new life into the parks and that's what's happening here.  As I said in that post, with the 50th anniversary celebration coming to an end, it made sense to entice guests with new offerings rather than risk a lull.

To that end, let's talk about what was mentioned today.  First are some new meet and greets.  Disney has slowly worked these back into the parks as things returned to normal post-Covid.  Even if you aren't interested in meet and greets, they give the parks an alive feel, and (more cynically) soak up some crowds who are waiting in line to meet characters.  That's a win for everyone, in my opinion.  Most recently, Enchanted Tales with Belle returned to Magic Kingdom, and while it's not a meet and greet in the traditional sense, I'm happy that it's back to use its dedicated space and show off some cool technology.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow: Beyond The Fiftieth Anniversary Celebration


Walt Disney World's 50th Anniversary Celebration (aka "The Most Magical Celebration on Earth") is ending on March 31.  If it seems like the celebration has been happening for a long time, it's because it is.  As I've said before, no one loves a celebration like Disney, and they managed to take an event that happened on October 1, 2021 stretch out for the next eighteen months.  Not that I blame them - this gave everyone a chance to join in, as they were able, over that extended timeframe.

Since we're finally nearing that end date, I thought it would be nice to take a quick look back and (more importantly) a longer look forward to what's beyond this celebration.  Since Disney World is a year round operation, there is no such thing as "down time" or "the off season" (as crowd levels will generally attest), so "what's next" is always a question the company is examining.