Restaurant capacity and live entertainment restrictions are currently limiting Walt Disney World theme park attendance according to Bob Chapek

Feb 09, 2022 in "The Walt Disney Company"

Posted: Wednesday February 9, 2022 5:23pm ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

In this afternoon's earnings call with analysts, Disney CEO Bob Chapek briefly commented on theme park attendance at Walt Disney World.

Bob raised two areas of theme park operations that are impacting the return to pre-COVID levels of attendance, food & beverage and live entertainment.

Staffing culinary roles continues to be a problem, resulting in food and beverage operations running below optimal levels. Secondly, Chapek said that live entertainment continues to be restricted, "because we don't want our guests to feel an excessive level of density."

He continued, "The self-imposed capacity constraints are really a function of our food and beverage sort of mitigation, if you will. But the second one is live entertainment. And we're working towards restoring both of those so that we can get up to something that would be more similar to what we've seen in the past in terms of the number of people we put into our parks. But I must tell you that our ability to increase our guest experience through a reservation system and a very carefully managed demand ticketing system has been something that we really like, and I think guaranteeing our guests that they have a great experience no matter when they come, whether it be the Christmas holiday or whether it be in the middle of the month of September, that's really important to us. And so we're going to self-manage this to optimize the guest experience, but at the same time we know we have head room, whether do it international or expansion and reinstatement of things like live entertainment."

Disney is continuing with the return of live entertainment at Walt Disney World in the coming weeks, with the new 'Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade' opening at Magic Kingdom this week, followed by the return of the castle show - 'Mickey's Magical Friendship Faire' at the end of the month. 

Looking further ahead, Magic Kingdom will see the return of Festival of Fantasy Parade in March, and later this spring a return of Fantasmic! at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

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drizgirlFeb 17, 2022

What restrictions are they working under?

spock8113Feb 17, 2022

"Restaurant capacity and live entertainment restrictions are currently limiting Walt Disney World theme park attendance according to Bob Chapek" Translation: "Lift the restrictions so we can make the money we lost until the next COVID Wave appears at our shorelines!" Limiting attendance=limited proceeds. Limited proceeds=lower share returns Lower share returns=CEO firings

dovetail65Feb 16, 2022

There were guests waiting 130 minutes for Mine train yesterday. I walked right on. All I have to say is if all those people want to wait in line go right ahead, my wife are on day 15, we went on ROTR and SR three times the SAM DAY. Smugglers Run had a 5 minute wait time, yep posted, FIVE minutes and on the very same day people waited over 2 hours. We are lucky to be able to be patient and not have to worry like most guests that if they don't stand in those long lines they will never get on. If they preplanned and did some research they might have the guts to walk by those long lines and wait for the right time to get in line. It's called planning and not worrying about paying 7 or 20 bucks instead if waiting 2 hours. Hey complain if you want, don't go to WDW if you don't want, you can be dead before any price decrease happens. I am here now and will be for another 20 days. It is crazy the same days I am here are people saying it so busy, it "seems" more busy than it actually is. Would it be better if all the shows opened and they hired another 10K employees to get back to 73K from the current 63k, heck yes, but right now with planning a person can go any ride they want and not wait long, I know I have been here since Feb 1 and doing it every day we are in the parks. People can go to the parks on a budget and have a great time, but there is a way to get through the lines faster both paying a bit more and planning even more important than ever. The new Genie + LL system has made the planning a new ball game, far different than those old touring plans and a person needs see what is going on and pivot their plans. A first timer just is not going to be able to do it without research. Getting rid of FP had the opposite effect of what some that hated thought it would, now planning both before and even more so during your actual day(which I hate) is far more important if line wait is a concern. Or just stand in line if you want to. I love ROTR , FOP is still my favorite though and so far 9 FOP rides and counting. For us it never gets old.

WDW ProFeb 16, 2022

This is why you seem to struggle with dialogue. I've looked at Len's data, I think it basically does go in one direction... even in TPP's data, there are always going to be exceptions (such as when rides have unexpected downtime). When I posted originally on this topic, I asked if people were discussing something that I feel confident on... but I'm not here to prove that to you. I don't care if you believe it or not. It's my opinion and I don't have hard data because you'd have to have a leaker to get that sort of data, and even then it likely couldn't be verified. I'm not interested in a high school debate team outline, and I'm not worried about "failing to make a point". I just wanted to know if others were thinking and talking about the same thing. Friendly conversation... that's all I'm up for. If that can't be achieved, I'm unlikely to engage. I just enjoy that you are so omniscient that you know what I came to argue about lol. I mean, you have the ability to reach into the consciousness of others you've never even met. It's quite the superpower, Antarctic Water Fowl. Right, and that's what I think as well. You can't predict a rush of Lightning Lane use and you can't predict downtime... but the team that sets the wait times certainly has one of those two. If we had that, I bet the three of us (including your fiancee) could be pretty darn accurate. Even if we added five minutes each time to be safe, we'd still be far superior... and that's just be eyeballing it and knowing if there are LL passes influxing.

TransportationGuyFeb 16, 2022

I am the AP that goes once a week and my fiancée and I don’t really pay attention to the posted signs at all at this point. Based on where the line physically ends, I would estimate we can predict the over/at/under estimation correctly about 80% of the time. I assume LL is the variance that we obviously can’t see the other 20% of the time

mystoFeb 15, 2022

Yes that all sounds reasonable, but it's still a conspiracy!

CntrlFlPeteFeb 15, 2022

I feel like the only time Disney World tends to truly over-estimate queue waits is during the last hour of operation. I assume they use an algorithm for my (limited) observation was that wait times tended to be lower more often than night back when there was no FastPass+ nor LL/ILL -- this is why I think they were using an algorithm that included fast pass. My guess is that the ILL rides would not yet have a good algorithm yet as the waits could be greatly influenced by the number of visitors willing to pay for (quicker) access. Personally, the few lines I have waited in since LL/ILL came out, we waited slightly longer than the posted wait time (waits were in the afternoon). just personally observations w/o any stats/data.

happybear025Feb 15, 2022

That's what had me rolling too. 😄 Is there an alternate reality Disney that he is living in? Maybe in the closed up THE VOID at Disney Springs?

MisterPenguinFeb 15, 2022

1. Len just gave you data that it doesn't go in just one direction. 2. You ignore other reasons why there may be overestimates ignoring that there were overestimates way before Genie+. 3. You're moving the goal posts from "They are purposely overestimating wait times to drive people to use Genie+" to "they are systemically off in their wait time estimates." No one's arguing against the second point. I freely admit that their advertised wait times are ridiculously bad. That's not what you came to argue. You came to argue it's done purposely to drive people to Genie+ and ILL. You have failed to make that point.

James AlucobondFeb 15, 2022

I think it's likely habitually overestimated rather than under due to the presence of FastPass/Lightning Lane. You'll never have especially more people than you predicted going through a quick access lane since they have a record of your reservation, but you could certainly have less than expected if people are swapping out passes regularly, don't show for their reservation, etc. In other words, it's probably easier to accurately predict the upper end of the range for wait time than the lower, plus the upper end is probably more "helpful" from a customer relations perspective anyway.

flynnibusFeb 15, 2022

Because no one tries to strangle the Annual Passholder if they are wrong.

WDW ProFeb 15, 2022

Except if you're systemically bad at estimating something, it should go in both directions. It seems to only go in one direction according to statistical data. Imagine that a weather service was only wrong in one direction: they always predicted the temperature hotter than it would be. Now imagine that you could predictably determine that the actual temperature would be between 50-60% of the temperature they predict. That would mean you could actually figure out the temperature if you just reduce the predictable inflation in the forecast. You'd then have to wonder why the meteorologists weren't just doing that on their own. Let's put it another way: Could an Annual Passholder who goes to Disney once a week do a better job of determining likely wait times just by eyeballing it? If so, why?

ScubacatFeb 15, 2022

None of this factors in the clearly negligent routine maintenance causing far more breakdowns than in years past. I waited barely 10 minutes for a 40 minute posted wait for haunted mansion a couple of weeks ago, before being treated to the loud, repeating grim grinning ghosts soundtrack for nearly 20 minutes while I was stuck in the graveyard. So by that measure, the upcoming groups waiting to board had about a 30 minute wait which is pretty close to the posted 40. ROTR has to be the worst case - if it's actually a 200+ minute wait on a posted 120, there's more likely than not a breakdown/evac/reset in that window.

HauntedPirateFeb 15, 2022

It's kind of funny that some guests can look at a ride's line, look at the posted wait time, and know whether or not the posted wait time is somewhat accurate better than Disney can. ;) Well, some guests were able to do that fairly accurately with the socially distanced queues. Without the social distancing piece in place anymore, it's a bit more of a crapshoot. I was going to go into Disney's penchant for barely-good-enough ride maintenance and why their own actions around that (thus random and more frequent breakdowns) are probably one root cause reason why their wait time estimates suck, but I thought better of it.