Disney World has certainly been pretty different over the past year.
Still, there have been some signs that normalcy is returning including the announcement of returning entertainment, the removal of temperature checks at the parks, heavily-eased mask rules, and more. There’s also been a BIG behind-the-scenes sign that ‘normal’ is coming back — and it has to do with Disney World permits.
Permitting Prior to the Park Closure
If you’ve visited Disney World recently, you’ve probably noticed that it’s under a LOT of construction. Like, a lot, a lot. Well, with construction comes building permits. For most projects Disney undergoes, be them minor electrical maintenance or whole ride refurbishments, Disney has to file permits with the county. These permits give us a publicly visible look into their plans — often before they make an official announcement!
Prior to the 2020 park closures, permits were a SUPER regular thing! The last full-length month prior to the closure was January and in that month alone we saw 141 permits filed. Whew!
It was pretty standard to see regular permits filed for Galactic Starcruiser, the upcoming Star Wars hotel, and the EPCOT transformation. Plus, forms were CONSTANTLY flowing in for maintenance around Disney World like roofing and electrical work.
Permitting During the Park Closure
But things changed BIG time when the parks closed. Let’s compare the 141 permits from January to the figure for April, the first full month of park closures. Only 49 permits were filed for the entire month. May had just 22 permits filed as a construction halt had been called.
Here’s a chart of permitting over the four-month closure.
As you can see, permits took a MAJOR dip, remaining below 100 per month for the entirety of the park closures.
Permitting Post Park Closure
The year that followed featured still lower than average permitting numbers. It wasn’t uncommon for a month to see less than 100 permits. But now, we’re starting to see an uptick in permit filings and we just might be getting back to normal levels!
March 2021 saw over 166 permits filed! Yes! That’s MORE than January of last year. It’s possible that Disney World is playing a bit of catch-up, especially with the 50th Anniversary of the resort coming on October 1st.
Here’s a look at the whole of the last year.
See? There’s that big dip from February to May and then a sloooooow climb back to normal levels. February and March have both yielded upwards of 150 permits.
So, what does that mean? It means construction is BACK. Typically Disney World construction can be a bit of a nuisance, but in this instance, it actually indicates a bit of a return to normal. There’s certainly a long way to go to get all parts of Disney World back to “normal,” but this is a BIG sign that we’re really getting there!
So, it looks like one thing in Disney World actually HAS returned to normal — construction! Disney is filing even MORE permits than they were prior to the closures, possibly in anticipation of the 50th.
And just what will all those new permits hold in store for the Most Magical Place On Earth? Check back and we’ll share them with you as they’re released! To keep up to date on all Disney World permitting, stay tuned to DFB!
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