Hotel Availability vs. Crowds

Hi All!

Getting ready to head to the world for a big family getaway in about 6 days (yay!) and of course, I’m starting my traditional last-minute freakout. I went to look at hotel availability for our dates (7/8 to 7/15) and a lot of the resorts on the property are coming up as full. This, of course, has me now freaking out that it’s going to be much more insane than I thought. The crowd calendar has our days ranging from a 3 to a 6, so I’m expecting moderate to heavy moderate crowds. But now I’m starting to wonder if it’s going to be even more slammed than I thought. Does anyone have any insight on this?

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Historically Disney World hotels operate at very high occupancy rates all year. They play with the rates and discounts in order to accomplish this. It’s really the variability of the off-site crowds that more affect the crowds. I think you will be ok!


Exactly what @melcort10 said.


During my May visit, most resorts appeared to be sold out too, but the CLs were 3-4. Of course, a CL 4 at MK felt more like at least 6! We stayed at POR so we never felt the crowds because of the expansiveness of the property. Strolling after 11pm, we felt like we were the only souls at the resort.
When I initially was booking at about 75 days out (I hate to plan too far ahead!), I thought reservations would drop off later because of people booking very far in advance and then cancelling before penalties. They either didn’t cancel or those cancellations were scooped up quickly.
It’s so complicated!!!

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Coming back to this question because it is a common one and I have found a couple of places where the TP team has addressed it.

This post from Len:

We’ve tried looking at hotel occupancy in our models. It never comes up as one of the top 20 or so predictors of a good general model for wait times.

Conventions, for one thing, tend to increase resort occupancy without affecting wait times much. For example, Primerica has two 5,000-person WDW conferences coming up from 1/16-1/19 and 1/23-1/26. But except for two days where they’re renting out DHS in the evening, those folks are going to be stuck in meetings all day. For the most part, they’re not going to be standing in line at Space Mountain at noon.

This article linked by a reader in today’s Crowd Calendar article:

At 90% occupancy Disney World can serve just 22,900 of the 65,000 needed rooms—just a little more than a third.

Occupancy at the Disney hotels doesn’t flex up and down much with crowds. Rather, Disney runs its price seasons and its deals to hit a fairly high level of average occupancy year round. Hotels fill up in the highest-crowd times, but they also fill up during the rest of the year too–including times when savvy Disney World visitors (the most likely to occupy a Disney space—especially DVC owners) know are great times to visit—like early December!!

In other words, the crowds don’t come from Disney World hotels. They just don’t flex enough. Rather, they come from off-property folk. So full Disney World hotels don’t necessarily mean high crowds. (They can mean that—it’s just that they don’t necessarily do so.)