Has Walt Disney World Increased Capacity?

Has Walt Disney World Increased Capacity?

The answer is “yes”, but far less than you think. And there are many factors involved in that answer. In this podcast and post we go into great detail to explore the challenges. Join us as we consider factors that are playing against Disney’s ability to increase capacity. We look at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in depth to understand what those challenges look like. From retail to food & beverage; from entertainment to character meet ‘n’ greets; from attractions to shows, we look at what Disney is doing, and what challenges it faces increasing capacity.

You can find our podcast here on PodbeaniTunesSpotifyMyTuner, and ListenNotesKey notes and photos are below, but you’ll find most of my commentary on the podcast.

Key Points

Attendance and Capacity are two different things. Disney can set a limit on capacity. That means the attendance will not go above that. But it doesn’t mean that it will approach it. In the first few weeks of park opening, this was especially the case.

People think Disney has increased capacity because they see longer stated lines. Queue lengths match or even at times are longer than before COVID.

Longer queue lengths are due to several major factors:

  • COVID restrictions
  • Ride & show performance challenges
  • Because of those using the FastPass line to bypass the standard queue (DAS, Club 33 and Disney VIP Tours)
  • Weather–Lighting strikes reduces hourly capacity, increases queue lengths at other times of day
  • Because there are more people (to include Cast Members)
  • Operating hours

Disney can increase capacity under certain conditions. Those conditions involve being able to meet bottom line costs and guarding against COVID.

Disney is still severely limited by issues around COVID that prevent creating greater capacity.

Disney increases capacity by adding additional attractions, entertainment, shops and food & beverage options. But adding capacity increases Disney’s costs, and they have committed to breaking even.

More people are attending, filling Disney’s capacity. But that doesn’t mean Disney has necessarily increased improved the bottom line as well. Disney is still struggling with more people staying on property and purchasing tickets as well as annual passes. Without the incremental revenue, it is harder for them to increase capacity.

While the line may look longer, Disney hotels are still far below occupancy levels they once were. Many hotels are even closed and will be for some time. If it’s bad on property, it’s worse on International and 192 and elsewhere. And annual pass holders are only doing so much. That can be seen in the parking lot which is filled largely by annual pass holders and by those coming from off property.

Let’s look at the capacity restraints Disney is under by visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

General Capacity

Only about 14 rows of general parking were taken up for both days plus a few small rows for those parking in handicapped areas and in premium parking areas. Roughly this comes to somewhere under a third of the parking lot at best. And much of the incoming traffic after noon came in and filled up the gaps left by the those who had filled those rows. That means a lot of guests are probably leaving because they haven’t gotten Rise boarding passes, and/or they feel they’ve done it all.

Yellow indicates where guest parking has taken place. Pink represents area where Disney Cast Members park.

A similar dilemma is felt in the bus lots. Buses have a very restricted capacity, allowing at best a small percentage compared to motor coaches that had standing room only. Then you have resorts that aren’t running buses. Add to that the same dilemma for off-property hotels.

Skyliner only allows one party per cab. Again, a reduced capacity. To add insult to injury there is no more Minnie vans. The numbers arriving are simply much lower all around. There are a lot of people NOT coming.

Hollywood Boulevard can look busy as 10 am approaches. But the same doesn’t hold true at around 2 pm.

Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


Good news! Keystone Clothiers has re-opened. Now, all retail has completely re-opened on Hollywood Boulevard. You’ll recognize the Star Wars merchandise that premiered when the store was completely re-done last year.

Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Only now half the store is dedicated to Marvel merchandise.

Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Bad news: Beverly Sunset Boutique is still not open, as is so many other retail experiences.

Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

The Challenge at Tatooine Traders is you have people coming in on both sides of the store. Does that limit your capacity for the number riding the attraction?

Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Retail experiences not currently available in the parks:

  • Kat Saka’s Kettle
  • It’s a Wonderful Shop
  • Stage 1 Company Store
  • Beverly Sunset Boutique
  • Star Wars Launch Bay
  • Disney Studio Store
  • In Character

Food & Beverage

F&B Missing in Action

Each of these following shots showcase a food and beverage operation open to guests and one that is closed to guests.

Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Food & Beverage experiences not currently available in the park:

  • Oscar’s Refreshment Stand
  • Dockside Diner
  • Tune-In Lounge
  • Oasis Canteen
  • Neighborhood Bakery
  • Woody’s Lunch Box
  • Catalina Eddie’s
  • Fairfax Fare
  • KRNR The Rock Station
  • ABC Commissary–Soon to open

Challenges with Open F&B Locations

Good news is that Backlot Express is open until 5:00 pm instead of 4:00 pm

Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Bad news is that you’ll wait outside for your order, and because of limited capacity, you may be eating outside as well.

Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Also bad news is Ronto Roasters now closes at 3:00 pm. Good news is you can still have breakfast starting at 9:30. Remember that Oga’s Cantina still has strict capacity issues. Also, PizzeRizzo now closes at 5:00.

Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Poison Apple Treat at Trolley Car Cafe is green apple mousse, caramel mousse, a chocolate nest of what seems to be granola and a red “mirror” glaze.

Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Meet ‘n’ Greet

Here is meet ‘n’ greet experiences not currently available in the park:

  • The Edna Mode Experience
  • Mickey and Minnie Starring in Red Carpet Dreams
  • Celebrity Spotlight: Olaf
  • Chip ‘n’ Dale at Sid Cuehenga’s
  • Woody, Buzz and Jessie at Toy Story Land
  • Green Army Men
  • Chewie and Darth Vader at Star Wars Launch Bay
  • BB8 Droid
  • Disney Junior Meet ‘n’ Greets
  • Mike and Sully at Walt Disney Presents

That is some 16 individual meet ‘n’ greets that could easily do 100+ an hour. That’s some 2,000 per hour of missing capacity.

Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


Entertainment not currently available in the park:

  • Citizens of Hollywood
  • Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple
  • Fantasmic!

The path to Fantasmic! is currently an overflow for Tower of Terror.

Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Attractions & Shows

In the podcast I share my experience in a 35 minute stated wait for riding Tower of Terror.

Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Note the immense crowds at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.

Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Note how empty the space is just a few feet away.

Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Perhaps the worst line you can wait in mid day. I explain why in the podcast.

Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Meanwhile, relatively short waits at Toy Story Mania.

Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

On the podcast I talk about how this was literally a walk on in the middle of the afternoon.

Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Also in the podcast I share how the enormous standby queue for Rise sits empty when guests are waiting in lines elsewhere.

Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

StarTours was a 25 minute wait, but it took only 10 minutes to get boarded.

Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Guests waits at Runaway Railway are huge, but mid-day are slowed up by guests entering through the FastPass+ entrance.

Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Rides & shows not currently available in the park:

  • Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
  • Voyage of the Little Mermaid
  • Star Wars Launch Bay Theater
  • Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage
Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


In the podcast we talk about the re-opening of the Frozen sing-along show. My comments are in the podcast.

Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

There’s Much More!

Thanks for joining us. Make sure you check out the following:


It’s where we take best-in-business ideas from the “Happiest Place on Earth” and help apply them to your business organization. Visit DisneyatWork.com


It’s our place for videos and more at my YouTube channel J. Jeff Kober

J. Jeff Kober

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