Several months ago during an earnings call Disney executives said that they did not anticipate a slowdown of demand when the theme parks reopened, as their research showed that guests were very excited to return to Walt Disney World and the only issue they anticipated was strictly enforcing capacity limits. However, Walt Disney World has now been open for over a week, and outside of opening day, and thus far foot traffic has been very slight. Perhaps more worrying for Disney though, is the fact that hotel bookings are also down from what they were likely hoping for, which would seem to indicate that park traffic will continue to be slow for quite some time.

However, in an effort to try and get as many guests back to the park as possible, Disney is deploying a number of tried and true strategies to get its most loyal fans back to Walt Disney World this summer.  

1. Room discount now available for Florida residents, Cast Members and Annual Passholders

Image: Disney

One of Disney's most tried and true strategies for pumping up attendance is offering room discounts, and it was recently announced that they will be offering some of their most loyal guests the chance to save big on hotel room reservations: 

  • Florida residents now have the chance to save up to 35% on resort hotel rooms on most nights from now through September 30th. The maximum discount applies to select Deluxe Resorts and Villas, with up to 30% off for Moderate Resorts and 25% for Value Resorts.Tickets and/or annual passes are not required to book these discounted rooms and this deal cannot be combined with any other discount or promotion.
  • Cast Members can save 60% off on most nights in September, and select dates in July and August at select Disney Resort hotels if they book between now and and September 30th.

2. Annual passholders can now book more days

Image: Disney

Though Disney originally said that annual passholders might have a hard time making reservations due to a large umber of guests trying to get into the resort at one time. However,  Disney has announced that additional Disney Park Pass reservations have been made available for annual passholders this summer, as there has been less demand than anticipated for regular day park tickets during this period, which means there are more opportunities for annual passholders to visit the theme parks. 

In addition, Disney has made some changes to how Annual Passholders can make their reservations as passholders staying at select Disney Resorts can now make Theme Park reservations for each day of their resort stay, in addition to holding up to 3 days of Theme Park reservations at a time. Disney has also opened up park passes to passholders on a rolling basis, which means once a passholder uses a Theme Park reservation, they can then make another reservation for a future date immediately with no waiting. 



Whether they like it or not; this will continue until the masks go no matter which side of the political aisle you sit. Even if you think you should "wear them or stay home," the reality is - people will choose the latter (mask for a child, still a primary demographic, in 100+ degrees will not work). This is moreso than any other factor...look how divided this issue is without the heat - that could be up to 50% of possible guests. This isn't my attempt at arguing out politics, nor would I want to / my family won't go until more than the masks go or return to normal; but I think the mask being there is going to be the biggest issue - period / argue whichever way you will. The NBA will stop the bleeding some more in a week and a half, but park attendance will continue to suffer (I have read so many of the stories of people going to Disney Springs and after ... x time ... in the sun with the mask, they opt to leave; now more restrictions with walk and eat haulted ... it will get much worse before it gets better; like it or not.

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