The Truth Behind the Ghost Town at Disney World

Crowds are a part of life at Walt Disney World. Long lines and a sea of people have become synonymous with the Parks. The Magic Kingdom is the number one most visited theme park in the world so naturally, it’s wise to expect crowds. However, it was the lack of crowds ay Disney World that made news recently. 

Reports sprung up everywhere that Walt Disney World was a ghost town. News outlets published articles about Disney being empty and people posted photos to back up those claims on social media. 

Initially, Disney denied claims that the Parks weren’t experiencing a dip on attendance. CEO Bob Iger claimed there wasn’t any worry at all about Walt Disney World. Then just a few weeks later, the Q3 Earnings report told a very different story.

We reported that the report showed Walt Disney World Resort attendance significantly hurt the bottom line in the second quarter. That further backs up the claim that the Parks are empty but the real question is why? 

Disney Annual pass Disney parks dying crowds at Disney world

Credit: Disney Dining

Many have claimed it is due to recent boycotts of the Disney company due to its “woke agenda.” If that were true,we would expect to see a significant dip equally across  all fot he Resorts. Only Disney World seems to be suffering which suggests boycotts aren’t the reason for the drop in attendance.  

Others have blamed rising costs. While that is certainly a factor, it’s not enough to impact the bottom line. The truth is, no matter how expensive it gets to visit Disney World,  people are always going to pay exorbitant rates to visit…at least once. 

Pent-up demand is also certainly a factor. Trips were delayed during the pandemic and last year saw a surge in visitors who had put off vacations for health-related reasons. Now those people have traveled and there isn’t an influx of people making up for lost time anymore. That still isn’t the reason for the low crowd, though. 


epcot skyliner at international gateway

Credit: Becky Burkett

The real culprit behind the disappearance of the Disney crowds is much more nuanced than that: weather. Florida is currently experiencing their hottest summer in decades. It’s oppressivly hot and the humidity is through the roof making the air feel like a sticky soup. No one wants to spend their days outdoors when it feels that way. 

While summertime has historically been the most crowded time to visit Walt Disney World due to kids being out of school for summer break, the pattern suggests we see seeing a shift in attendance habits as a result of the rising average temperature in Florida.  

Florida temperature

Credit: VectorStock

Because of this, we wouldn’t say that Diisney is in trouble. It’s simply in a state of flux. The crowds will return in the fall and continue through the winter. The new pattern makes sense. With more people than ever working  (and studying) from home, there is greater freedom to go  whenever you like. 

As expensive as a Walt Disney World Resort vacation is, it only stands to reason trips would be delayed during this unprecedented heat. No one wants to be hot and uncomfortable. If you pay thousands of dollars for your vacation, you want to enjoy it. 

About Jill Bivins

Jill Bivins has been visiting Disney Parks since she was 2 years old and loves sharing her Disney adventures with the world. She likes to say Disney is in her blood and writing is in her bones — so any time she has the opportunity to combine these loves she is one happy camper! She has a deep abiding love for Epcot and as a die hard Star Wars fan has a serious love for Hollywood Studios as well. When she isn't exploring or writing about Disney Parks, Jill is homeschooling her 8 year old son, playing with her brand new baby son, or pretending to be a farmer on her family homestead (despite being unable to keep even a cactus alive). Find Jill on Instagram @minnieonmain.