magic kingdom crowds
Credit: TIME Magazine

Disney makes a HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT about park capacities at Disney World

Disney’s Chief Financial Officer made a huge announcement about park capacity at Walt Disney World on Monday as she participated in a Q&A session at Morgan Stanley’s 2022 Technology, Media & Telecom Conference.

christine mccarthy walt disney company cfo

Credit: The Walt Disney Company

Christine McCarthy, CFO of The Walt Disney Company, was asked about Disney’s Parks, Experience, and Products division. Specifically, she was asked about experiences and about park capacity.

“We are coming back towards full capacity, we’re not yet there,” McCarthy said. “But one of the things we were able to do when the parks were closed was really look at some of the underlying technologies for how we could run the business better and give a better consumer experience.”

magic kingdom crowds

Credit: TIME Magazine

McCarthy touted the Park Pass Reservation System, which was unveiled when Disney World reopened in July 2020 after an almost four-month closure in response to the coronavirus pandemic. McCarthy said that the system was necessary as Disney dealt with capacity limitations as the parks reopened. But she says the company realized quickly that the system could continue to be used after those limitations were gone as a tool to “manage attendance.”

In fact, she made a huge announcement in the midst of all the questioning and answering that took place during the conference. She said that the parks will not be returning to pre-pandemic capacity levels. She even said that Disney doesn’t want the parks “bursting at the seams.”

During the conference, McCarthy was asked, “What does full capacity mean looking forward?” She answered, saying that the parks aren’t currently operating at full capacity. (Tell that to Guests who’ve visited lately and have returned with photos of massive crowds at Disney World!)

But if you’re thinking that Disney wants Guests comfortable with lots of wiggle and elbow room while they’re visiting the parks, think again. It’s much more probable that Disney wants you to have just enough room to reach for your wallet. When attendance (aka “crowds”) is managed (by the aforementioned Park Pass Reservation System), Guests have more room–spending room. They enjoy the parks more and feel freer with their money.

RELATED: Many “no-show” Guests will now be penalized, thanks to Disney Parks’ “no-show” policy 

Think about a time you visited Disney World and it was so crowded, you couldn’t think. Crowds make us more easily frustrated, on edge, etc., and when we feel that way, we’re frustrated about spending money. But if we’re more at ease during our visit, our wallets seem to open more easily as well.

And thanks to the Park Pass Reservation System, Disney can continue to create more and more demand for its products and experiences: in this case, admission to Disney World.

McCarthy talked about several things that seem to play a role in Disney World’s “new normal,” including Genie+, Lightning Lane, character meet-and-greets, and other things, such as the upcoming debut of Guardians of the Galaxy: COSMIC REWIND attraction at EPCOT this summer.

Character Experiences at Disney World

Credit: TripSavvy

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McCarthy talked about the recovery of the company’s parks division, saying it was driven by ticket prices and by Guests’ spending while in the parks as well.

“Part of it is because people could not go to our parks for a long period of time, especially in California, and when they came back, they wanted to spend money,” she said.

RELATED: Disney Parks Guests are spending more, despite outcry over price increases

The company’s latest earnings reports show a massive increase in revenue in its parks division–nearly $7.2 billion earned in just one quarter.

About Becky Burkett

I'm an enthusiastic writer who finds joy in random things like cold weather, snow, "I Love Lucy," "The Andy Griffith Show," journals full of blank paper, countdowns to Christmas, the month of December, "Toy Story," "Sleeping Beauty," my 4 kids, my 4 shih tsus, Disney Parks history, Imagineering and visiting the parks. I think Walt Disney is the standard against which genius should be measured. I love to write about Disney Parks, Disney history, all things Imagineering and PIXAR. I adore the colors, story and art direction of Disney's "Sleeping Beauty" (Team Make it Blue!), and "Toy Story" is life (minus "Toy Story 4"). I believe Walt Disney was so much more than an entertainment and theme park tycoon; I believe he was a savant with a vision for life and how it could be if happiness and kindness are strived for. I love Biergarten at EPCOT and 1900 Park Fare at Disney's Grand Floridian. You can find me croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room, chillin' on the PeopleMover or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. I'm always looking for Imagineers in the parks, and I'd rather meet Joe Rohde and Tony Baxter than anyone in Hollywood! Hey, if you dream it, you really can do it!