Early January 2022 Crowd Estimates

I’ve been watching the crowd calendar and park hours for early January 2022, and I am surprised that every day through January 8th is a 10. MK is closing at 8pm each of those days, which generally indicates lower crowds.

My understanding is that 10 is Christmas Day or Leap Day type crowds, where you can barely walk around the parks. What’s driving the 10s for the entire first 8 days of January?

Those numbers are inflated, I don’t know the reason. Typically in previous years (pre-covid) the crowd levels are more in the 7 to 9 range for the week after New Years.

Do the numbers usually dip for the marathon? The marathon weekend starts the 5th?

Could be revenge travel. Don’t they look at resort occupancy also to predict?

It seems a ton of people, like me, said to themselves “Everything has to be back to normal by 2022.” (Insert maniacally scorning laughter in Cheap-ek’s voice)

I thought about postponing again, but I decided I just couldn’t. Even if there isn’t Eeyore, or hugging princesses or trams.


Yep… I truly believe this is going to be driving an insanely packed 2022 across the theme parks. My postponed trip isn’t until December 2022 and I’m already trying to decide if it’s going to be worth it. I’ve waited this long and there are a lot of other places that won’t be packed I can go… :man_shrugging:

1 Like

The marathon seems to have no effect on CL’s/wait times. It is more of the coinciding with holiday travelers leaving.

In the years when the first day (Wednesday) is early in January, CL’s are still very high.

I wonder how many of those people will cancel or postpone once again unless Disney improves? There are many people that won’t go if masks are required. Then there are those that won’t go under the pay-more-for-less currently. There are people that can handle walking around the parks but not the tram-less parking lots. Paying for fast passes might be the tipping point for some people. Those that only have fully refundable deposits will cancel more quickly.

For me, the logical reasons I won’t postpone again is because daughter knows, and I’ve paid for it already. The real reason is that I am nearing planning fatigue. If I considered postponing again. I, who has wanted to go to Disney World for 40+ years.

In my one year of WDW Marathon experience, the racers did not tend to impact the park crowds terribly. I would not think these days will actually be 10s unless this is coinciding with a lot of school districts holiday break. My own kids have had years they did not start back till Jan 7th and we happened to be there that year for New Year’s and there were enormous crowds the entire time when TP predicted smaller crowds after 1/1 but they did not get smaller. I think it more depends on school breaks but that’s anecdotal. TPs has the real data!

You must be reading my mind or there’s a lot of us that feel this way. The crowds are a part of my hesitation, but not getting a “full” experience and still paying full price baffles me.

I’m 100% going to a theme park next year, but Universal is looking more realistic. I can go at a minimum of 16 theme park days and even add in an Orlando Informer Meet-Up for the cost of 6 days of Disney…


The most expensive Universal Annual Pass is less expensive than our Disney tickets. I am a little worried that Universal will call to us while we are at Disney because we had such a great time there.
And don’t forget the awesome premier Universal hotels for around the same price as Disney moderate.


It seems to me that the last time there was a “shorter” Christmas break, a lot of people had the week after NY off? As an employee of a district that has a total of 6 school days off this year (only one as a holiday), this year might follow that same pattern leading up to the marathon?

I think this plays a significant role. Because of where New Years falls this year, I think a lot of schools won’t be returning until the week after. This means vacations are extending through the first week of January.

However, I do believe many schools WILL be returning that first week of January, so while it may still be a 10, I’m not sure it is the same kind of 10. Unfortunately, with the way TP ranks CL levels, a 10 can be quite a large range. Basically, once crowds hit a level 10, it means wait times can be a base 10 level or above. This is why a Christmas holiday 10 is not the same as, say, a summer month 10.

The most recent similar year is 2017, when New Years Day was on a Sunday. (2022 is a Saturday). Here is what the CL’s were:

I’m not sure where a “shorter Christmas break” falls? What day would Christmas need to be on?

Sunday holidays are celebrated on Monday but this year they are Saturdays and that holiday language is not as clear for many (for example I get Christmas Eve as a holiday but lose NYE and Christmas).

It will be interesting to see if TP adjusts the projected days (Thursday -Sunday) lower (to 8s?) or if with the borders open they will keep it higher.

1 Like

There are also those who won’t go if masks are not required indoors.

I think this is pent-up demand, thinking that 2022 will be better, and expiring DVC points (although that is somewhat self limiting). BUT, my initial point is that Disney has not extended the park hours yet, like they would if they expected huge crowds.

I think we are still going, but our uncertainty is due to family health issues and not crowd levels. We don’t tend to go on all that many rides after so many trips. But I don’t love wall-to-wall crowds.

I think they would now, but they don’t have the staff for it. They need to have at least two full shifts of employees for longer hours. Right now, they have a lot of CMs working very long days still due to staff shortages. So, even if the crowds allowed them to, I don’t think they can yet.

I agree, but I also think the demand will stay high for 2023. Lots of built up demand. After cancelling our annual WDW trips in 2020 and 2021, DW and I have 2 planned for this year for the first time. I suspect there are many other doing the same.


It’s giving me complete anxiety too… I know there’s really not going to be a “good” time for a while. I talked to my wife just last night about shifting plans again. I’m more inclined every day to go on smaller trips throughout 2022 - 23 to other places for less cost… :man_shrugging:

I’m doing the same. Also, I’m thinking for the prices Disney is charging and the exhaustion that is bound to occur from packed crowds and not enough employees I am highly considering doing other nice things for the same price that will be more relaxing…and I’m actually considering an Adventure By Disney which I’ve always wanted to do but couldn’t justify the cost (I literally did 3 weeks in China for what we would’ve paid for the 10 days Adventure By Disney charged and I booked a lot of the same hotels they use or other luxury hotels and I got to add more time in certain areas to see the pandas in the right way for example by going up into the mountain where they are native and more active in the cool and it’s far less crowded than the panda base in Chengdu).

In regards to Disney, DH said to me we should let some of the issues work themselves out at Disney before going back. I will say I might do a pop in once we know when Guardians is open just for a weekend at Epcot or something. I really do want to do Festival of the Holidays at Epcot too so I might give in and do that and get my Guardians and Remy on next Dec, crowds and all. I just can’t completely walk away LOL

*Also, I loved Vero Beach so I’m considering satisfying my Disney urges with Hilton Head or Aulani as well.


That is true. But, those that want everyone masked and with trips postponed because of the lockdown have likely mostly already taken their make-up trip. Whereas those that won’t wear a mask postponed to 2022, but probably not early 2022.