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Does full hotels at Walt Disney World mean heavy crowds?

by Mike
(Batavia, IL)

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“The 2 weeks after Thanksgiving are flagged low crowds on many Disney blogs/sites, but when trying to get a WDW hotel room, not a lot of availability during these dates. Is this something to be worried about if attending one of these weeks? If no rooms available, does full hotels at Walt Disney World mean HEAVY crowds or can Disney still be consider low crowds although low room availability? Maybe many stay offsite? Love your thoughts on this observation.”

The Pop Century will be one of the full hotels at Walt Disney World

The Pop Century will be one of the fullest hotels during that time – Photo by Laurie Sapp

Mike, your going to Disney World at Christmas. That’s so cool. I love Christmas at Disney World. It’s my favorite time of the year.

Dad’s Christmas at Disney World page

So, let’s talk about the week after Thanksgiving. For the last, I don’t know, since I started up until this year, I started doing my best time to visit Disney, the week after Thanksgiving’s been my number one choice for years.

Dad’s Best Time to Visit Disney World page

I will say, if you look at the November and December crowd calendars, if you look at my November and December crowd calendars, you’ll see that the week after Thanksgiving I’ve still got it as a slow week. Very light crowds all week.

Dad’s November Disney World Crowds page
Dad’s December Disney World Crowds page

The next week is a little busier because that’s Pop Warner week. So, if you’re trying to make room reservations for two weeks in one setting, if you’re trying to put the two weeks together, make reservations for two weeks, you’re probably coming up against those Pop Warner crowds.

That is a very busy time for the Value Resorts. The Value Resorts are full with the Pop Warner, and the Pop Warner kids take over the All-Star Resorts pretty much. That bleeds over into the Moderate Resorts. Yes, the Pop Warner teams are even in the Moderate Resorts. With the Value Resorts booked up with Pop Warner teams, people that would have book there end up in the Moderate Resorts and they fill up. That pattern continues into the Deluxe Resorts.

So, the resorts are fuller during that time, but the parks are not so much. The parks don’t get quite as busy, because you don’t have the Pop Warner kids in the park all the time. They will be sometimes in the evenings, but it’s just not that bad. It’s moderate crowds.

If you look at my December crowd calendar, you’ll see that it bumps up into heavy a little bit a couple of days, but that’s just right on the lines between moderate and heavy. So, really the crowds aren’t that bad during the Pop Warner week, because the kids are doing their competitions. Those two weeks are still really good weeks to go.

Now, let’s talk about the hotel rooms and Walt Disney World resorts. There are roughly 28,000 hotel rooms at Walt Disney World in the Disney Hotels. The average party size is 4, so if you figure four to a room, that’s 132,000 people. 132,000 people sounds like a lot.

When you figure that a moderate day at the Magic Kingdom is about 55,000 people, EPCOT’s probably 35,000, Hollywood Studios is probably 30,000, Animal Kingdom’s 30,000 on a moderate day. So let’s do a little math. 55 plus 35 plus 30 plus 30, I get 150,000 people at WDW on a moderately busy day.

Really, you can have all the hotels full at Walt Disney World and still have a light to moderate crowd day if every room is full. That includes those high-end rooms, the bungalows, those 1,000, $2,000 a night suites. If you fill every hotel at Walt Disney World, you’ve only got a moderate day.

Now, when you count the added people that come in from the hotels outside from the other hotels around Disney World, yeah, that gets to be more people. Typically, if the Disney Hotels are all full, then yes, you are going to have a busy day.

You might give our partners at Destinations to Travel a shout. They might be able to help you find something. They are pretty good at figuring out the best plan for hotels at WDW.

Dad’s Destinations to Travel Page


Destinations to Travel LLC.

Dad’s Bottom Line

Mike, just because you can’t find a cheap room, especially that second week, the first full week in December, that’s not an indicator of heavy crowds. That is more the Pop Warner championships are in town. Those two weeks are still going to be light to moderate.

I will say that and last year that week after Thanksgiving was a little heavier crowds than it’s been in the past, but I still think those are going to be light to moderate weeks. Maybe a couple of days where they’re heavy crowds, but it’s going to be on that light/moderate to the end of those two weeks.


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