Travel Tuesday: Walt Disney World reduced hours are good thing

(Photo by Matt Stroshane/Walt Disney World Resort via Getty Images)
(Photo by Matt Stroshane/Walt Disney World Resort via Getty Images) /

Walt Disney World reduces its operating hours and it isn’t the end of the world.

The re-opening of theme parks, like Walt Disney World, has been filled with heated debates. From mask-wearing policies to annual pass holders access to Disney Parks to crowds and attendance numbers, it seems that the most magical place on Earth has become the most hotly debated place on Earth.

With this new announcement about reduced operating hours, the voices are raised yet again. From people feeling that they are not getting enough value for their admission fee to feeling that they are missing out on the whole Disney experience, it seems that the complaints are louder than the final chorus of “Let It Go”.

When thinking about the reduction of Disney Parks hours, the news isn’t necessarily gloom and doom. In truth, there are some positives with these lessened park hours. In a way, it is all about perspective.

Looking at the Disney Parks announcement, the reduction in hours isn’t shutting down the theme parks for half a day. Truthfully, it is an hour or two in the morning and in the evening.

The reduced evening hours also make sense. Since there are no more fireworks or nighttime entertainment, the “fun” of being at the theme park at night isn’t as exciting. Additionally, walking around in a mask at night can be more difficult. While the temperatures might be less hot, darkness and masks might not be a winning combination.

The reduction of morning hours can be a little more difficult. Mornings at Animal Kingdom are always a special time, particularly as the animals tend to be more active during that time of day. The difference between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. might make a difference at that Disney Park.

Truthfully, theme park fans believe in that old phrase, the early bird gets the worm. Many people know that guests can often check off some popular rides first thing in the morning before crowds get too big. It is always better to make a mad dash for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at 8 a.m. then wait till noon when the wait is hours long.

Still, the reduction of an hour in the beginning and the end of the day does present some challenges. Guests might need to prioritize attractions. Without fast passes, a few attractions could be missed during a visit.

While Rise of the Resistance has a virtual queue twice a day, it is just luck if you get a boarding pass at 10 a.m. or 2 p.m. Even the best cellphone connection does not guarantee a boarding pass for your group.

The fact remains that the reduced hours do funnel more people into a park at a given time. For example, some hotel guests would go to the Disney Parks in the morning, head back to the hotel for an afternoon break, and return to the theme park at night. That option is now off the table. More people will be at the parks all day long.

Although Walt Disney World has reported fewer expected guests, the theme parks are not empty. During a recent visit to Hollywood Studios, there were larger sized crowds. While most people did their best to social distance, it was busy. People needed to be aware of their surroundings and distance to others.

While people will complain about the reduced hours, there is an alternative. Disney could have closed one theme park a day or created other cost-saving measures. Even though Walt Disney World is the most magical place on Earth, it is a business and effective business decisions are vital for a company.

In the end, people will get over the reduction in theme park hours. It might be a little hotter during a visit and there might be more people, but many Disney fans will still line up for the rope drop and enjoy every possible hour in the parks. Given the alternative of the parks being closed, shouldn’t people who want to attend be grateful that the gates are open?

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