Travel Tuesday: Could Labor Day theme park crowds change holiday outlooks?

(Photo by Gerardo Mora/Getty Images,)
(Photo by Gerardo Mora/Getty Images,) /

With Labor Day theme park crowds hitting capacity, could the holiday outlook change?

Over the holiday weekend, the Labor Day theme park crowds were a big change of pace. Although all of the Orlando theme parks currently have capacity limits, there haven’t been many days where any of them hit those limits. With more guests returning to their happy places, could this event change the holiday outlooks?

Orlando and its theme parks are driven by tourism dollars. Although some people are not yet ready to travel, the Labor Day weekend showed a dramatic change. With Universal Orlando resort theme parks hitting capacity on multiple days and Disney theme park reservations full, it seems that many people were looking to spend the final summer days surrounded by magic, wonder, and thrills.

Although the spike in attendance is due to the holiday weekend, it could also mark a change in people’s comfort levels. With the theme parks’ safety measures, people’s willingness to wear a mask, or attendees just being tired of sitting at home, the holiday weekend was busy. Even if the attendance was smaller than a previous holiday weekend, it was a bigger attendance number — and that could change the holiday outlook.

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While Halloween events, like Halloween Horror Nights and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, have been canceled, both Universal and Disney have yet to announce their holiday plans.

For many people, that winter or Christmas vacation is a Florida theme park escape. From the spirited holiday decorations around the theme parks and hotels to the special events, there is a touch of Santa’s wonderland all around the theme parks.

If guests were willing to travel for the long Labor Day weekend, they might be willing to travel for the holiday season. When guests are willing to visit, theme parks might be more willing to bring more of their unusual merriment.

While many people hope that Epcot’s Candlelight Processional will happen and Universal’s Merry Mischief will return, no announcements have been made. Although one popular attendance weekend brings hope, the other closures temper with a dose of reality.

From hotel closures to limited hours, the future continues to be uncertain. After the end of the summer holiday, people’s outlook might change. At the same time, the theme parks’ plans can change, too.

While there have been ticket deals, hotel specials, and other incentives, many people are uncertain about travel. Last week, the annual IAAPA trade show, which brings in huge crowds from across the globe, was canceled. It seems that this two-steps-forward, two-steps-back dance will continue far longer than anyone would like.

Still, the spike in theme park attendance gives some people in the hospitality industry hope. When guests come back to the theme parks, tourism jobs can come back into the economy. Bringing people back to work could be the best holiday gift for many struggling families.

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Do you think that the Labor Day theme park crowds could spark a change in the holiday outlook? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!