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Did Disney World Increase Its Capacity or Are the Crowds Finally Letting Up?

The Walt Disney World Resort has been operating under the Park Pass reservation system, which requires Guests to book a reservation at each Disney theme park they plan to visit after purchasing their tickets since the Resort’s reopening in 2020.

The reservation system has been met with mixed reviews at best from fans, with many Guests missing the spontaneity of years past when they could decide which Disney Park to visit on each day of their vacation without fear that it will have already reached capacity.

Disney recently made some updates to the Park Pass reservation system that should make navigating the planning process easier for Guests; however, the system is likely to stick around for the foreseeable future.

As such, we’ve been checking the Park Pass availability calendar to let our readers know which dates are booking up fast so you can make your reservations asap. After our last peek at the calendar though, we actually found that most dates still have availability at all four theme parks well into 2023. Here’s what this could mean for your next Walt Disney World vacation.

Disney PArk Pass Reservations

Credit: Screenshot from DisneyWorld.com

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Except for only one Park being sold out each day for the immediate future, the next days on the calendar where only some Parks are available are not until mid-October during the holiday week. And on those dates, only Magic Kingdom Park is fully booked, while the other three Disney theme parks remain available.

Of course, October 10, 11, and 31 are also nights when Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party takes place, so it could be possible that Disney is offering less capacity for day Guests in the Parks on those dates as everyone without a party ticket will need to exit by 6:00 p.m. (while conversely, Guests attending the party may enter the Magic Kingdom at 4:00 p.m.)

This time last year, availability on the Disney Park Pass calendar was booking up quickly, with many fans lamenting anything resembling a “slow season” at Walt Disney World as September and October had historically been. But this year, availability is largely open through the end of the year.

cinderella castle

Credit: Disney

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The reason behind the change? Either Disney has increased capacity to the extent that there is once again a “slow season,” or there actually is a “real” slow season. What we mean is, that Disney World is never really quiet, so even past slow seasons did include some instances of crowding in the Parks.

Or, we could consider that since the Walt Disney World Resort reopened, several restaurants, shops, and attractions have remained closed, which theoretically would cause larger crowds as there are fewer things for them to do. On this front, Disney’s international programs have begun to return, which should eventually solve the issue of closed restaurants and shops in World Showcase in EPCOT. We have also seen other locations reopen around the property throughout the summer.

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Credit: Disney

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What does this mean for Guests planning a trip to Walt Disney World? We hope that the open availability means either fewer crowds are visiting the Parks this fall or that Disney knows that a lot more currently paused experiences are returning and the Parks will be better equipped to handle crowds.

If you are planning a trip now through the end of the year, though, we still recommend booking your Park Pass reservations as soon as you know which dates you would like to visit each Park. And as for those returning experiences? Disney may share announcements on what Guests will soon see as a return to the Parks at this year’s D23 Expo, which runs September 9-11, 2022. In that case, we will keep you updated here on DisneyTips.

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a New England-based writer focused on the history of the Walt Disney World Resort. She is the author of "Red, White, and Disney: The Myths and Reality of American History at the Walt Disney World Resort," and "Brittany Earns Her Ears."