Home » Attendance Crashes at Disneyland and Walt Disney World

Attendance Crashes at Disneyland and Walt Disney World

Earlier this week The Walt Disney Company released its quarterly earnings report and, while the big news out of the company may have been the acquisition of the FOX entertainment company and the continuing development of the Disney+ streaming platform, it looks like this most recent report contained some troubling news for the Parks and Resorts division that some of us might have seen coming

1. Attendance is down at Disneyland, despite the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

Image: Disney

Though Disneyland braced for massive crowds in advance of the May 31 opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, guests didn’t really flood the park the way that many predicted, resulting in soft numbers not only in this new area, but across the whole resort, with Disney confirming that during the most recent quarter attendance at the Disneyland Resort was down 3% overall.

However, Disney spun this attendance loss as a good thing, saying that most of the downturn was due to fewer Annual Passholders going to the park (thanks to expanded blockout dates and higher prices), which was ultimately a positive since it meant that Disney was able to effectively manage demand for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge during its opening weeks. And while it may be technically true that Disney was able to quell demand from Annual Passholders, it doesn’t look like guests using regular tickets made up for the lack of locals visiting the park, which doesn’t seem like a good indicator for the popularity of one of the most hyped new lands at Disneyland, ever. 

And unfortunately, the bad news wasn’t just contained to just the Anaheim resort…

2. Attendance is down at Walt Disney World as well


Disney also confirmed this week that attendance at Walt Disney World was down this summer as well, though they declined to say how much, which likely means the number is pretty big. And though Disney blamed the Disneyland attendance dip on the Annual Passholder blackouts happening due to the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, they also blamed the east coast attendance crash on Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge as well, saying that guest surveys suggested that many were deferring their visits to the Walt Disney World Resort until after this new land opens in just a few weeks on August 29th.

Though it’s weird that Disney is blaming their attendance woes on Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge for both locations, we will know by the end of the year if this new land opening will bolster Walt Disney World’s attendance numbers, or if the Orlando-area resort will also see declines similar to those at Disneyland. 

3. Guests are still spending plenty of money at Disney parks in the US

Tusker House

Though the attendance declines were definitely bad news for Disney, there was at last some good news as this decrease was partially offset by increased average per capita guest spending at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World as well as higher occupied room nights at Disneyland resort. 

According to Disney, per-guest spending was up 10%, and per-room hotel spending was up 3% on a 2% increase on occupancy, which is at 88% for the quarter. 

Even though prices are constantly going up for tickets, food, merchandise, and more, it looks like the guests who do come to Walt Disney World are happy to pay these higher prices during their vacation. In particular, Disney noted increased food, beverage and merchandise spending during this most recent quarter. 

4. Disneyland Paris is seeing a resurgence

Image: Disney

Though Disneyland Paris has been the source of more than a few headaches for Disney executives over the years, it looks like there’s some good news coming from this park in 2019, with Disney highlighting the fact that Disneyland Paris brought in higher revenue during the most recent quarter, which is a big shift from the past few years, which have seen Disneyland Paris as a red item in the budget. Though attendance also hasn’t been great at Disneyland Paris (just like with other parks), it looks like the guests who do visit this park are spending (and staying!) more, which have led to higher profits for Disney from this International park, which is in stark contrast to Shanghai Disneyland, which was conspicuously absent from Disney’s financial report this quarter…