Columbus Day Crowds - what to expect

Nana2Callie

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 6, 2011
It looks like our only week to visit for October is Oct 10-18, with plans to be in the parks Oct 11-Oct 17 but honestly had overlooked Columbus Day (or that it would be crowded) so looking to see best plan for these days. What parks to avoid on Sunday/Monday? Will the crowds begin to thin back out on Tuesday as people return to work/school? Thanks,
 

Biggen

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jan 13, 2015
We go every year on Columbus day weekend during normal years and it is busy but not crazy busy. A lot of school holidays have been taken away this year to make up for time lost to Corona. I know our county removed Columbus day as a holiday this school year so we aren't even out then. I'd suspect it will be a slower Columbus day weekend for them if other school districts are doing similar things.
 
  • AKVFamily

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Nov 10, 2013
    Kenny the Pirate's crowd has the weekend being Heavy, then Moderate after Columbus Day, FYI. I have no idea how reliable the crowd calendars are now.
     

    hauntedcity

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 24, 2003
    We had settled into annual visits around Columbus Day, since that is when school Fall break falls. We missed 2019, though, so this is our first trip since 2018. We had been growing increasingly disappointed with the high crowds around this time. I guess the TouringPlans crowd calendar hadn't been taking into account fall breaks, so they would be estimating a crowd level of 4, but it was actually around 8 or 9.

    We are going to mask up and try again this year, but we're a little worried about crowds. I'm a little bit comforted by the Labor Days crowds, from what I've seen online. Yes, it was crowded, yes there were some long waits, but it seems manageable. If we see a huge crowd or a long line, we'll just pivot and try something else. I saw many Labor Day weekend reports where a 45 minute wait at 1pm morphed into a 15 minute wait at 5pm.

    Still worried, but still hopeful. If it's bad, we are staying at AKL, so we'll retreat to our balcony and watch some giraffes!
     


  • maltdizzy

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 10, 2013
    Labor Day weekend was crowded, i.e. all parks were filled to capacity. I’m expecting Columbus and Veteran’s Day weekends to be the same. The rest of the week will probably be fine.
    Veterans Day is observed on November 11 (Remembrance Day, Armistice Day...WWI ended on “the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month”), which is a Wednesday this year. There won’t really be a “Veterans Day Weekend.”

    And fewer and fewer private companies or school districts give it off anyway.
     

    Shelly F - Ohio

    Disney Extraordinaire
    Joined
    Feb 22, 2004
    For Labor day weekend all of the park reservations were gone. People were being turned away at the toll booth if you did not have a park reservation. Disney Springs was a capacity and turned people away this past weekend. So its hard to say what it will be like for Columbus day weekend.
     

    tiggernpooh

    Walt is my hero
    Joined
    Oct 11, 2007
    We will also be there 10/9-10-17 and I watched the YouTube vloggers to get the ideas of crowds over Labor Day. It was definitely more crowded than I had been seeing with the same vloggers for the last couple of months, but it will be manageable - especially if you are willing to stay later in the afternoon when most people tend to head out. Just slow down and enjoy the beauty and details of the parks!
     
  • djmeredith

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 9, 2005
    I think that entire week is going to be the most crowded by far since reopening. I think the entire week is going to be like Labor Day weekend (or worse depending on how much more Disney increases capacity by then). Many schools still have fall breaks that week and DHS is fully booked already that entire week. Disney is quietly increasing park capacity while simultaneously cutting hours. That combo could prove disastrous to the customer experience (and possible safety) that week if they do not pivot quickly and do something to disperse crowds better.

    Disney knows exactly how many people are coming that week because of the reservations, so they have no excuse not to be prepared. I understood I was signing up for a lesser experience when I booked. However, the lower crowds and wait times made it seem worthwhile. Disney is pulling a bait and switch with the unannounced increased capacity. The benefit of low wait times appears to be all but gone except for the first and last hour or so of the day. They need to increase ride capacity (where safely possible), open some shows, allow FP+ or virtual queues, and/or increase park hours to be able to accommodate the crowds of the upcoming holiday weeks.
     

    Apeters430

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Aug 1, 2020
    I think that entire week is going to be the most crowded by far since reopening. I think the entire week is going to be like Labor Day weekend (or worse depending on how much more Disney increases capacity by then). Many schools still have fall breaks that week and DHS is fully booked already that entire week. Disney is quietly increasing park capacity while simultaneously cutting hours. That combo could prove disastrous to the customer experience (and possible safety) that week if they do not pivot quickly and do something to disperse crowds better.

    Disney knows exactly how many people are coming that week because of the reservations, so they have no excuse not to be prepared. I understood I was signing up for a lesser experience when I booked. However, the lower crowds and wait times made it seem worthwhile. Disney is pulling a bait and switch with the unannounced increased capacity. The benefit of low wait times appears to be all but gone except for the first and last hour or so of the day. They need to increase ride capacity (where safely possible), open some shows, allow FP+ or virtual queues, and/or increase park hours to be able to accommodate the crowds of the upcoming holiday weeks.
    We are there that week too and planning to do parks during the week. Still hoping I can snag a HS as I was not able to get that. Also only booked bc the lower crowds and wait times and now I am super disappointed after seeing the parks ever since Labor Day. They haven’t died down a bit. I hope Disney does something bc it lookS awful for them. Extending the hours could help. They are asking for a PR nightmare.
     

    kdonnel

    DVC-BCV
    Joined
    Feb 1, 2001
    We are there that week too and planning to do parks during the week. Still hoping I can snag a HS as I was not able to get that. Also only booked bc the lower crowds and wait times and now I am super disappointed after seeing the parks ever since Labor Day. They haven’t died down a bit. I hope Disney does something bc it lookS awful for them. Extending the hours could help. They are asking for a PR nightmare.
    I was there for the Labor Day weekend.

    It is all about each individuals perception but I felt like there was NO ONE at the parks. We arrived at opening each day (visited Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios) and were done by 3pm. No need to plan to ride the rides in a particular order, we just walked to and rode the next one . In the end we walked so much less then in trips past. During the first time that all park reservations were booked up we waited on average 25 minutes per ride. I am not sure how Disney can improve that.
     

    Apeters430

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Aug 1, 2020
    Wait times for most desired rides are 70-90 mins now. These same attractions didn’t pass 45 mins before labor weekend
     

    djmeredith

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 9, 2005
    I was there for the Labor Day weekend.

    It is all about each individuals perception but I felt like there was NO ONE at the parks. We arrived at opening each day (visited Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios) and were done by 3pm. No need to plan to ride the rides in a particular order, we just walked to and rode the next one . In the end we walked so much less then in trips past. During the first time that all park reservations were booked up we waited on average 25 minutes per ride. I am not sure how Disney can improve that.
    The feeling of being crowded is an individual perception, but most of us are more worried about wait times for the most popular rides. I'm glad your family had an enjoyable time, but "done by 3:00" over Labor Day weekend is definitely not what I've read in the vast majority of reports here on DIS and other places. To help us get a better idea of things, did your family do all the popular rides on those days? I do know getting there right at opening helps knock out a couple of big ticket rides with lower waits, but most who have done that still say they encountered longer lines for several hours after that. I'm just curious if you skipped things with longer lines, or what strategy helped you avoid the very long wait times reported that weekend.
     

    kdonnel

    DVC-BCV
    Joined
    Feb 1, 2001
    The feeling of being crowded is an individual perception, but most of us are more worried about wait times for the most popular rides. I'm glad your family had an enjoyable time, but "done by 3:00" over Labor Day weekend is definitely not what I've read in the vast majority of reports here on DIS and other places. To help us get a better idea of things, did your family do all the popular rides on those days? I do know getting there right at opening helps knock out a couple of big ticket rides with lower waits, but most who have done that still say they encountered longer lines for several hours after that. I'm just curious if you skipped things with longer lines, or what strategy helped you avoid the very long wait times reported that weekend.
    Here is my report in the here now and just back thread.


    In short we rode every ride at Hollywood Studios, many multiple times, having taken a break to ride the Skyliner.

    At the Magic Kingdom we started at Pirates and just worked our way around the park going to the next physically closest ride next. We did not do much in FantasyLand because the rain was coming. It would have been possible to ride every single ride at the Magic Kingdom that day prior to the very much shortened closing hour.
     

    PopGirl26

    Obsessed. Just obsessed.
    Joined
    Sep 4, 2015
    Easywdw has some excellent data these last few weeks about significantly rising wait times. It’s all in the numbers—these last couple of weeks have seen the largest crowds since reopening. No questions asked.

    Luckily, for now, the data points to reasonable weekday wait times still. Weekends are nutty.

    The question is... will Columbus Day week have any reasonable days, or will they all be nutty?

    We arrive 10/13 with Epcot on 10/14 and HS on 10/16, and I’m nervous about both already in terms of long waits and/or congestion that could be unsafe.
     
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