Walt Disney World has added a number of extra ‘Good-to-Go’ Days in Winter 2024, providing a powerful sign that the corporate is forecasting an attendance slowdown (albeit temporary!) within the coming weeks. This takes a take a look at the newest take a look at the park reservation calendar and discusses what that would imply for crowd ranges for the remainder of this month and February.
As background, Walt Disney World launched “good-to-go days” for Annual Passholders and Forged Members earlier this month. On these “good-to-go days,” Annual Passholders and Forged Members might go to theme parks while not having a park reservation. Though the corporate is looking them good-to-go days in AP and CM communications, they’re listed as “reservations not required” days on the precise calendar.
Good-to-go days take the place of bonus reservations, and like bonus reservations, are added periodically and could also be launched days or even weeks prematurely. If an Annual Passholder has an upcoming park reservation that turns into a good-to-go day, the reservation will likely be eliminated and now not depend in opposition to their most reservation maintain, however they’ll nonetheless be capable of view their earlier reservation within the My Plans part in My Disney Expertise.
There was a little bit of a backlash and disappointment when Walt Disney World launched the primary batch of good-to-go days and it solely included 6 dates over the course of two months. These dates have been January 16, 18, 23-24, 28; February 1, 2024. Many Annual Passholders had a “why hassle?” response, and felt that Walt Disney World had (once more) overpromised and undelivered.
For our half, we predicted a whole lot of good-to-go dates for Annual Passholders…ultimately. Our expectation was that Walt Disney World would begin slowly and scale up, including a handful of winter low season dates on January 11, 2024 and seeing how that goes. If the parks are usually not inundated and overwhelmed by reservationless APs (they usually gained’t be), they’ll add an increasing number of good-to-go dates to the calendar.
We’d be prepared to wager that by the point late April 2024 rolls round, a minimum of half the dates in early summer season will likely be good-to-go for Annual Passholders. It wouldn’t be in the slightest degree stunning if each single day is good-to-go for Animal Kingdom and EPCOT, and reservations are solely mandatory for Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. By late summer season/early fall, it wouldn’t be stunning if between 75% and all dates are good-to-go for all parks.
Through the second half of the 12 months, it’ll in all probability be simpler to listing the dates that aren’t good-to-go somewhat than those which can be. For that, our preliminary prediction could be that reservations will likely be required for less than (roughly) the ‘worst’ dates in our listing of the 10 Greatest and 10 Worst Weeks to Go to Walt Disney World in 2024 & 2025.
These have been our predictions again previous to the discharge of the primary good-to-go days earlier this month, and we primarily stand by all of that. Admittedly, what we did not count on was the elevated crowd ranges that we’ve encountered in mid-to-late January 2024 (see Winter (Nonetheless) Is Not Off-Season at Disney World).
That’s why this newest batch of good-to-go days is barely shocked, and may very well be a optimistic signal. To that time, right here’s a take a look at the newly-added good-to-go days:
It ought to in all probability go with out saying, however Walt Disney World goes so as to add good-to-go days when their inner projections counsel that there will likely be extra capability–that means decrease attendance. Disney makes use of a wide range of information for this, from date-based ticket gross sales to resort reservations. I’d additionally assume they share with third events–MCO quantity projections, Mears reservations, third social gathering lodge bookings, and so on. (Even when this isn’t shared, Disney actually has the assets to reverse-engineer it.)
That is an imperfect science, and Disney will get it mistaken once in a while–and is typically gradual to appropriate issues or entice individuals to go to at instances which can be much less busy. For instance, we first famous that Saturdays and Sundays have been changing into the least busy days of the week final 12 months round this time. That development actually solidified by March and was patently apparent after Easter.
And but, Walt Disney World saved blocking out weekends on subsequent resident ticket offers and retained elevated resort costs for Friday and Saturday nights with the discharge of 2024 charges (resort pricing arguably wasn’t a mistake given that almost all of company come from off-site and there’s a rising disconnect between resort occupancy and attendance).
In any case, that is one in every of a number of examples of Disney being reactionary to shifting attendance patterns or just lacking them. So one thing like that may very well be taking place right here, too. I believe it’s not, and that the following couple of weeks are going to see a little bit of a slowdown from the reasonable to excessive crowd ranges noticed at Walt Disney World for a lot of the year-to-date.
That’s excellent news for vacationers who deliberate to go to throughout one in every of our 10 favourite weeks of the 12 months: January 28 to February 3, 2024. Or those that learn the commentary to that entry, which additionally indicated that the primary full week of February also needs to be within the “dialog” when debating which of those nice dates to decide on.
We expect the following couple of weeks to be higher than the previous few, but in addition should admit that they’ll nonetheless in all probability be barely worse than anticipated when making that listing of dates. As mentioned in the newest crowd report, our expectation was that pent-up demand would proceed to exhaust itself pretty constantly with final 12 months’s development line, that means one other year-over-year drop (particularly for winter, since revenge journey didn’t actually begin to burn off till after Easter). That has not occurred up to now, and doubtless gained’t this winter to the diploma forecast.
Nonetheless, we’ve heard from some apprehensive readers questioning in the event that they’ve picked dates that may now be unhealthy. Walt Disney World’s new launch of those as good-to-go days sends a powerful sign that the interior forecast is decrease–in order that must be reassuring.
Truthfully, even within the absence of this, we’d stand by the advice of late January or early February 2024 as a good time to go to Walt Disney World. Our listing of greatest weeks is each quantitative and qualitative, that means it’s not simply on the premise of crowds. Whereas these weeks must be fairly favorable on steadiness, they’re additionally really helpful for excellent climate, EPCOT’s Competition of the Arts, good park hours (no party-shortened days), and simply an general nice time to expertise the parks.
As we’ve stated earlier than, anybody singularly targeted on crowd ranges ought to merely go to from mid-August by means of mid to late September. If the listing have been completely data-driven, like 5 of one of the best weeks could be mistaken that timeframe. These weeks are constantly the slowest of the 12 months, and the “best” to forecast as a result of (in contrast to different stretches) that has by no means actually modified.
However anybody who visits then is likely to be disabused of the notion that crowds are the one factor that issues after their first day of triple-digit ‘seems like’ temperatures lasting till 9pm. (When you’re on the fence about this tradeoff, see Is It Nonetheless Value Visiting Through the Early Fall Offseason at Walt Disney World? for a better dialogue of climate vs. crowds.)
Suffice to say, now continues to be a subjectively nice time to go to Walt Disney World. If there are new tendencies which can be going to lead to elevated crowd ranges in 2024 as in comparison with 2023, they’re in all probability not going to be confined to the months of January or February anyway. Expectations would possibly have to be adjusted upwards for a lot of the 12 months, that means that the winter wait instances may find yourself being ‘good’ relative to the weeks and months to return. Or what we’re seeing now may very well be a blip, with extra good-to-go days signaling an finish to that very quickly.
No matter all that, don’t count on any good-to-go days within the second half of February 2024. This newest batch might be the final till early March (or maybe the previous few days of Feb). As soon as Mardi Gras, Presidents’ Day, and Princess Half Marathon Weekend roll round, crowds will choose up fairly considerably. (See Keep away from Ski Week Crowds at Disney for extra–or just check with the ‘worst’ facet of that 10 greatest & worst weeks listing.)
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What do you concentrate on Walt Disney World including ‘good-to-go’ days for Annual Passholders in late January and early February 2024? Assume because of this, internally, the corporate is forecasting decrease attendance for these weeks? Are you wanting ahead to having fun with the nicer climate, higher park hours, EPCOT Competition of the Arts, and (hopefully!) low-to-moderate crowd ranges at Walt Disney World in Winter 2024? Any questions we may help you reply? Listening to your suggestions–even while you disagree with us–is each fascinating to us and useful to different readers, so please share your ideas beneath within the feedback!