Year over year, Walt Disney World breaks records when it comes to increased attendance. Though nearby Universal Orlando Resort has been gaining in percentage growth in recent years, the four parks that make up Walt Disney World have all seen consecutive year over year growth, and the number of visitors that will flow through the #1 theme park destination in the world is expected to reach critical mass in the near future, especially with Epcot’s new Frozen ride set to debut in 2016, Pandora: The World of Avatar opening in 2017, and Star Wars Land farther out on the horizon.
Though many current guests complain that Walt Disney World is too crowded as it is, these new attractions will bring more visitors to the resort than ever before, which sounds like a recipie for disaster. Fortunately, Walt Disney World has a multi-pronged strategy for dealing with the massive influx of guests that are predicted to flood the resort over the next few years.
1. A new entrance for Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Though Disney's Hollywood Studios is on the cusp of a major reboot that will include new attractions and a new name, it looks increasingly likely that a new entrance will be part of that plan too. Currently, the main entrance to Disney's Hollywood Studios is off of World Drive, which is a terrible location that creates massive traffic backups during special events and during park closing on crowded days.
Fortunately, it looks like work has begun on a new entrance that will help direct traffic away from World Drive. In the above image (taken via Google Earth screenshot) it is clear that trees are being cleared to make a pathway from Victory Way to the Disney's Hollywood Studios' parking lot. Though the image above is likely a few weeks old, several Cast Members have said (unofficially) that they have been informed that a new entrance is on the way soon that should relieve the traffic snarl that the World Drive entrance causes on a regular basis.
2. Additional parking at the Magic Kingdom
A frequent factoid trotted out by tram operators when guests are en route to the Ticket and Transportation Center from the Magic Kingdom parking lot is that this lot is the second largest in the US, dwarfed only by the Mall of America parking lot. However, Walt Disney World may be giving the Mall of America lot a run for this title, as plans are in the works to expand their already massive parking lot.
When the Richard Petty Driving Experience attraction is removed (which is rumored to happen in the very near future) work will begin on making the area formerly occupied by this third-party experience into more parking spaces. Though most guests might not see a need for extra parking spaces, those of us who have been to Walt Disney World during the holiday season know that this massive parking lot does indeed fill up. Last year, during the Christmas-New Year's period, Cast Members actually resorted to parking guests on the lawn behind the Mulan section of the parking lot, which was pretty crazy considering this grassy area is quite far from a tram stop!