By now you already know that 2016 hasn’t exactly been the best year for Walt Disney World in terms of attendance levels. Quarter after quarter, The Walt Disney Company has been reporting lower than expected growth at Walt Disney World, and while we won’t know the full picture of the Orlando resort’s attendance in 2016 until next year, Disney has wasted no time reacting to this news enacting a number of changes around the resort in response to this increasingly-pervasive trend. And though we discussed some of the side effects of this year's attendance slowdown earlier this year, the past few weeks have seen even more changes come to the resort, some of which you may have already noticed...
1. Reduced hours are coming to a handful of Walt Disney World attractions for the end of 2016
Earlier this year anti-fans rejoiced when it was revealed that one of the most reviled attractions in history, Stitch’s Great Escape, was going to be closing permanently in the new year. However, according to the rumor mill it seems like plans to create a new VR experience based on Wreck-It Ralph have been put on hold (potentially indefinitely), which means Stitch’s Great Escape could be sticking around for a little bit longer. However, instead of opening this attraction back up for regular operation, Disney will be keeping it shuttered for all but the busiest operational days at the Magic Kingdom, making this an attraction one that will continue the strange and somewhat frustrating trend of Disney keeping attractions standing but not operating. And while there probably won’t be too many tears shed over the (potentially) untimely shuttering of this attraction, there are some other places where guests will notice some cost-saving operational changes around Walt Disney World as well.
Over at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, two attractions will be getting a new operating schedule for the rest of the year. Kali River Rapids will now be open from 10:00 AM-5:00 PM from December 4th through the 17th and then when high season kicks up later this year, the attraction will be open from 10:00 AM –though 7:00 from on December 18th-24th. Finally, during the busiest time of year, this attraction will return to a nearly full-day schedule, opening from 9:00 AM-7:00 PM from December 25th-31st. In addition, the park’s Minnie and Mickey meet and greet will now only be available from the park opening until 4:30 PM daily for the foreseeable future.
Though these changes are only happening at two Walt Disney World parks, we expect more reduced hours to come to other attractions in the coming weeks as Disney looks to streamline its operations as much as possible in the coming weeks as 2016 finally draws to a close.