It’s not unusual for Disney theme parks, from the Magic Kingdom to Disneyland, to occasionally be full to capacity. In the past, that's often happened on holidays and more. With capacity restrictions due to the pandemic and reservations required to enter the parks that’s been even more true in 2021, though it’s still surprising to hear that Disney World parks Epcot and the Magic Kingdom are already fully booked up for a random day in October. So, why is are the parks booked out six months in advance?
A special anniversary coupled with the opening of a new ride are behind Epcot already selling out its spots for October 1, 2021. For months, we’ve been hearing about the new Ratatouille ride. That ride, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, is located at the France pavilion at Epcot and has shown signs of getting close to opening, adding signage and more in recent months. Now, it has an opening date at the theme park and that date is none other than October 1.
Secondly, it's worth noting October 1 is just a huge day in Disney World history. October 1, 1971 was the day the park opened its doors for the first time, which means October 1 of this year marks the parks’ 50th anniversary. Even if a new ride hadn’t been set to open that day, it was going to be a popular day to go to all four major Disney theme parks in Orlando. (Though it is worth noting in 1971, Walt Disney World was just Magic Kingdom. Epcot was added in 1981, Hollywood Studios in 1989 and Animal Kingdom in 1998.) Now, Inside the Magic says Epcot is the second park to fully book up.
The news comes months after the Magic Kingdom already booked up on October 1. The most popular of the four parks, The Magic Kingdom has actually been booked up since January for the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World. The castle will be made over for the anniversary of the park and Disney World even coined a new term to talk about the decorations that will make over the park as a whole. That term “EARidescence” seems to indicate some shiny stuff coming and doubtless there will be many Instagram posts dedicated to the new look on the 50th anniversary. More details on what's coming are available as well.
The one thing worth pointing out is that right now Disney World’s parks are not operating or scheduling tickets at full capacity. As noted prior, October 1 is a date nearly six months from now. As more people get vaccinated and as Florida has opened up its rules a bit more, there’s been speculation that major capacity increases could be coming soon. In that case, some more reservations for both Epcot and Magic Kingdom on the coveted October 1 date could eventually come up, something that would not have happened if a day of ticket sales had filled parks to capacity prior to the pandemic year.
Then again, nothing is “normal” about theme parks anymore. Just the idea of having a reservation for a theme park is new, and doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. In fact, Disney World has set up reservations into 2023 at this point, so even if the pandemic ends, it seems as if we will still need to be choosing parks in advance moving forward. And if you are still deadset on being at Walt Disney World on October 1, there's always Animal Kingdom or Hollywood Studios to consider, both of which will have their own 50th anniversary plans.