What's going on with Dining and Resorts being full on low crowd anticipation dates?

I am on a few discussion boards and FB groups for Disney World and Cruising. For some reason all the prediction calendars for crowds are saying low level crowds for Nov. 30-Dec. 2, yet trying to reserve ADRs are nearly impossible for decent times and characters. Even Crystal Palace on Dec. 1st is full. The moderate resorts are extremely hard to get, especially if you want to book more than 1 night. All of the boards I am on are all questioning “what is really going on?”
Has anyone tried to re-evaulate the crowd prediction calendars for that time frame? I have never seen Crystal Palace completely booked on anything less than an “8” crowd day. Every character breakfast is booked up except for Cape May. I have been on crowd days with 7-8 levels and there was always ADRs available at 180 days for characters.
It’s not even free dining then as that part is a gap in the free dining. It’s totally bizarre!
Pop Warner and Cheer aren’t until Dec. 2nd.

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Actually I’m headed to WDW the week after and just booked our dining and ran across the same thing. Apparently at Epcot a lot of restaurants are blackout due to Candlelight processional at least that’s what the cast member on the phone said. She also told me that booking dining this early in holiday season or way up from previous years. I’m at Pop this time, but was still floating the idea of bringing our camper down and staying at the Fort, but even that is booked solid for the week after thanksgiving all the way to New years.
Fortunately for use the only reservation we couldn’t find was dinner at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall. We even managed to get Be our guest for dinner!

Yeah, the day we leave for the cruise on the 2nd there seem to be a lot more openings, but according to crowd calendars, those are supposed to be lower crowd days. We don’t have the option to be more flexible since we only have 2 days we can do the parks, one for the Christmas party on the 1st and one for AK on the 30th. I tried a search for even just 2 people at Tusker and there is nothing. MK has it low for crowds, and yet all day, nothing even for 3 people at Crystal Palace. We have a group of 5 that I have been trying and the only character dining available for us is either Cape May or Chef Mickey’s if we are willing to leave a park to go there. I have been many many times to WDW and I have never seen it this bad.

There is a 4 person res available on the 1st at tusker house around 4pm if you want to snag it

Something is definitely odd the 30th has not a single reservation available at MK even for 1 person. That’s CRAZY
I just realized your locked into the MK on the first due to the Xmas party

Right? I feel like I missed some huge memo saying “just kidding, crowds are really a 10/10 but we don’t want to scare you away” lol.

There is not a good correlation between park crowd levels and resort bookings. WDW marketing does a great job of ensuring that the on-site resorts are operating at or near capacity year round. The big driver for park crowds is off - site guests.

I ran into the same issue (going 11/26-12/2) and I think a few things are in play…

One is limited dinner hours available at Magic Kingdom during that week, due to 3 MVMCPs (11/26, 11/28, 12/1) and one 4:30 close (11/30) for the staff appreciation event. That means all of the demand for character/preferred meals that week is only being served by 17 meal times instead of 21. That seems like a lot still, but it’s a loss of 20% of the usual total availability in any 7-day period (22% between 11/30 and 12/2) and that’s going to radiate outward as more people seek those character ADRs outside of MK.

This is compounded by large blocks of ADRs at Epcot and probably AK being held back until Candlelight and RoL packages come out. Now we’re looking at a substantially reduced number of in-park ADRs overall until those packages are opened up.

A possible third factor (and this is purely speculation) could be that TPTB are staffing the restaurants lighter in that short inbetween period after Thanksgiving’s crowds and before the madness of the Christmas season really starts. That could be a result of historically low attendance, or because they want to prep for the busy weeks.

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Those are some really good points. When do they usually open up the dining for Candlelight and RoL for that time period?

That’s a good question, asked by many lately and one I have not seen an answer to yet. The RoL dining package is a mystery to us all still, as well.