Had to reduce to silver annual passes so we are blocked out a good portion of the time that we would generally go for dinner and walk around.
In addition the hotel deals for passholders were so poor we got a better deal at port Orleans on Priceline. Give us back our open date passes and hotel deals and you will see more of our $$$$. BTW photo pass is worthless for passholders. Bad bad marketing decisions to your faithful groupies.

We've been going to WDW for years during the off season. Staying on-site. Haven't noticed any dipping crowd numbers. If anything it's even more crowded. Unable to get reservations for dinner or fast pass online MONTHS in advance. We also have a handicapped child and they've changed the disability pass to more of a fast pass system. So the time and money -- $5000-7000 plus for a week --- we spend waiting in line with a disabled child isn't worth it. Get more bang for our buck at Universal and are thinking about staying there next time instead.

Went with the whole family last year (sixth trip and always stayed on property) and will not be going back any time soon. Had issues with our resort and when I talked to the manager I felt like I was wasting his time. Crowds were ridiculous and attractions were going down left and right. Waiting in line for an hour only to have the ride go down with no excuse. I loved Disney and was happy I got to show it to my grandson, but will not be making that investment again.

I have been waiting for 5 years to take my kids to Disney World over Halloween and take them to the Halloween Party only to be slapped in the face when the ticket prices came out with their new tiered system. I had already made our flight reservations early to help with the cost, then the announcement of the party ticket prices came out. Needless to say we aren't going to make it this year either because of the cost. I'm so upset at how this was handled that I'm very close to pulling the plug on any visits to Disney parks and just go to Universal Studios or Sea World. Sure they aren't cheap either but I feel so betrayed by Disney and would rather spend my money elsewhere than line the pockets of the dream crushers! So much for the happiest place on earth!

Let's see, this drop in attendance comes on the heels of elevating ticket prices, modifying existing Annual Passes to having blockout dates unless you pay more, and not offering any perks except for different ways to spend even more. Their solution: Eliminate the expensive dining packages that backfired and not selling anyway, while still not reducing ticket prices.

I think it's interesting that there's this attendance downturn the same summer as all the cutbacks were instituted to accommodate the new park in China. The reduced staffing reduction in food service couldn't have come at a better time, honestly. Lower crowds will mean better guest/CM ratios.

I'm not saying the cutbacks are directly linked to the attendance drop, just that it's a pretty cool overlap.

I'm thinking Avatarland is going to start bringing people back. When Star Wars and Toy Story hit, Disney attendance will skyrocket once more. This is hopefully just the calm before the storm.

it has just gotten too expensive for people with families to go there anymore.
when my parents were alive we used to go to florida every other year with our 3 kids,we would always go to Disney/ epcot/ Animal Kingdom. my momloved that place, so did we, but we had to cut our visits to Disney to every couple of years because you kept hiking up the prices. Bring the prices back down and the old way of buying Park Hopper Passes that DONT expire and I bet you will see a lot more people going to your parks.

WDW & DL need to roll back the prices on their annual passes. The changes above really do nothing to encourage me to go more. With us coming up on our 54th trip to WDW in the past 14 years (plus 4 to DL & 4 Disney Cruises in the past 3 1/2 years, the increase in prices this year was outrageous! What business does such increases to it's loyal customers? For years, we had the annual passes for our family(from NJ), then switched to the Premier Annual Passport to include both WDW & DL. We had been averaging 7 trips a year the past 4-5 years until the prices went through the roof. Now of course Disneyparks would think we're getting too much value out of the passes, but what we spent in Hotel...always stayed onsite, usually in Magic Kingdom area, GF or Poly with occasional stays at the other properties and what we spent in food(sorry, but the dining plans we had that included sit down meals was crazy expensive) was insane and now, due to the gouging of passholders(along with single day ticket customers)we have cut back to one trip to WDW, and 1 to Disneyland each year(and opting to take trips elsewhere) which means they are losing a ton of money that we had been spending every year. We can go to all inclusive resorts in the Caribbean for a fraction of what our Disney trips cost us or or even go to Hawaii. And there is no rewarding customers who come again and again. At least on the cruises, you get small token gifts after your first cruise and more as you move up in status (You're then part of the Castaway Club from Silver, then gold with 5 sailings, then to platinum with 10). Sadly, the Disney parks are out pricing many families from ever going. Even the prices of the Event tickets, such as MVMCP have skyrocketed with crazy increases and having dining prices rise during peak times is crazy...it's the same exact menu or buffet items as the week before, but lets gouge families even more for coming during a holiday or peak time...which is hard not to do when you have to go on vacation when your children are off from school which are usually holidays and summer. I know they do it probably to control crowds wot some extent during those peak times, but enough is enough...eventually people are just going to stop going.

Being a Florida resident and visiting Disney 5 to 10 times a year, I am a little upset they changed their annual pass structure. I have been a seasonal pass holder for about 7 years. I don't want to go when it is too crowded. I can wait til the crowds go home. Now they want me to pay more, their excuse is the passes now comes with parking and photopass. Well if I stay at an onsite hotel, I don't need parking. And 1 family member with photopass is enough. Why should I pay for everyone (family of 5) to have these benefits. It's not worth the extra $ Disney is asking for. Love Disney totally enjoy it but plenty of competition around you and you raising prices is going to hurt you.

This past year we bought into the DVC because we go at least once a year. Our trip this past month was one we were really looking forward to since it was our first in our Home resort, Polynesian. We were very pleased with our purchase and glad we did so when our favorite resort would be our Home. BUT for the first time in vacationing there for over 25 years I was very disappointed in the cleanliness of some of the rides. The Buzz Lightyear ride in Fantasyland had cobwebs in the light fixtures and dust hanging from the ceiling. This is just an example I saw on one of several rides. The level of that dust/cobwebs didn't happen overnight. With the amount of people going through there, I had been led to believe in the past that cleaning and sanitizing happened daily and multiple times a day to prevent spread of illness and viruses. We will continue to vacation there, but ticket prices are too high and prevent us from enjoying the parks as much as we would like to. They need to lower ticket prices back to less than $100 a day. Also, maybe do a few more refurbishment in the "value" seasons to prevent the ride and attraction rundown.

In reply to by Beth (not verified)

I messaged once and asked why the constant raising of prices. I got this basic explanation of value for the amount of fun offered. I of course scratched my head. I was living there in Winter Park at the time, and was dumbfounded by the hike on tickets again, I think that was when they got to being around $95 a ticket. The explanation felt very rehearsed and somewhat condescending. If you start adding up the price on food and drinks then a family may as well plan a full trip instead of one day.

Wondering if Universal is showing decline or growth... You can't deny that Harry Potter has drawn some people away from Disney...

Disney is so greedy they are pricing people out. I always loved disney but it's getting ridiculous. Their resort rooms are tiny and as they keep raising prices people are going to stay off site. Then when they stay off site they might as well eat off site and save even more. You get more bang for your buck! I personally have been going more often to universal Studios because it was cheaper. But they keep increasing too!

In reply to by Andrea Pruitt (not verified)

I couldn't agree more with your comment. Spot on. As an annual pass Holder, I received a survey from WDW last week and echoed many of your sentiments therein.

As crowds have increased over the past few years, the park became miserable. It's just not fun to feel like a sardine, and all those long lines... The only way I'll go back is if there's a continued attendance slump!

The bottom line is that the Disney big shots need to start listening to their faithful attendees. Our family has been DVC members since 2000. We buy annual passes and attend 2 and 3 times a year driving from New Jersey but, the way it's going we will be selling our points by 2020. Disney continues to expand the resorts, but not the parks. Yes, they have expanded Fantasyland in MK and changing Disney Studios, but they always seem to wait until it's too late. Disney Studios needed an update 10 years ago. You can only watch Muppets in 3D so many times. Prices continue to rise and at the same time Disney continues to take 'perks' away from DVC members and season pass holders. The tour groups from South America really know how to ruin one's vacation. There has always been rumor about a 5th park based on the Disney Villains, JUST BUILD IT!! Amazing how the found money to build a new park in China.

Disney started tiered ticket pricing this year, which makes it most expensive to visit in the summer. Their reason for doing this was to spread attendance more evenly throughout the year. So I don't see why they are surprised that attendance is down this summer. It seems that's exactly what they wanted. Also, I imagine that many people are delaying visits until next year when Avatar Land is expected to open in Animal Kingdom. These facts, and the fact that Disney has become unaffordable for a great majority, unfortunately, are probable reasons that attendance is down.

I went for the first Time 4 years ago at the age of 34 and I had a blast with the wife and kids. It was the paper fast passes and under 900 for tickets for the 4 of us for 5 days. We stayed outside of the park for 55.00 a night ate a great free hot breakfast and with the 1000.00 plus we saved by staying off site we were able to rent a car and stay in old town ( 1-2 miles from the main gates) we also were able to feed the whole family each night at a steakhouse , Chinese , Italian or just plain ole checkers restaurant for cheaper than a quick service meal in the parks? Plus with the rental car you can explore the beach and other attractions in town.
We went back last year , the four of us and it was the same exact thing . Only thing different from the first time was the fast pass plus... We couldn't go on all the rides we wanted without waiting for an hour or more..not cool with a three year old??? It was 67.00 for three hamburgers and a chicken tender meal for lunch .. Take your greed out on your goofy toys for sale or pins not the fuel to keep your people walking around.. After your first time it's not as magic and the price just keeps going up.. First trip cost us about 2600.00 which is not bad for 6 days plus flights . Second trip cost about 3400.00 and we also stayed off site .. We just ended up eating in park with characters a few times ??? Horrible???? No thanks I'll just go to universal with the bigger rides now kids are tall enough.

In reply to by Andrea Pruitt (not verified)

As a local and annual pass holder i love the fastpass system ... I can schedule my stuff in advance and we can cone for shirter time periods to do the stuff we really want to and then leave or if it isn't too busy we can stay and ride the stuff with short lines. I think the biggest problem Disney has is that one day tickets are too high for a single park ... I work in reservations at a local florida park and i hear every day how people can't afford Disney or Universal. I think that Disney will get a nice boost once they open the Star Wars stuff and I also though making Animal Kingdom an evening option was also great.

Why do all these crazy flips to fix falling attendance? HELLO...you finally out prices people. The rising costs are ridiculous, especially when surrounding parks are offering annuals for 3/4 to 1/2 the price. I have always been a Disney lover, even have owned/buy stock consistently for 10 years, but I am losing my love. We just went to MK the other night, it was filthy. Trash all over the ground, bathrooms were disgusting. Not to mention that all the merch/food kiosks were closed an hour and a half before the park even closed. Space Traders locked up at 10:30! And forget about getting into the monorail within an hour of park closing. What a mess! They need to stop with the gimmicks and go back to basics. The money is not worth what you get anymore. It is not the same experience it use to be. We use to love staying at the different resorts, but it just doesn't make sense anymore. Makes me so sad.

Annual pass holders for 10+ years, and with three kids the price structure that came out this year did us in. We did go to Disneyland, did far more the days we were there at both parks than is typical in Orlando. There also were enough differences and not in-Orlando attractions to peak our interest instead of the same things and huge crowds. We don't know when we will return to WDW- annual passes make the most sense, but are priced beyond what our family will pay.
Inconsistencies also impacted our decision. An a la carts hot dog can be bought at Typhoon Lagoon for $6, but in some places at MK you can't get it without fries and the fries aren't that good. Honestly if Disney listened to its pass holders they would make a mint, but I never got the idea we collectively were very valued.

How about lowering the prices for park admission so the middle class can afford it. I used to go every year. Now I just can't afford it.

This can't be a surprise to anyone....we have been to Disney half a dozen times since 2009 - and each year you get less and less for more and more money. They've gutted the live entertainment, to bring in lesser (read cheaper) alternatives, the parks are far less navigable with the new fastpass system....after using it on our last trip, it became one of the reasons for the cancellation of this years visit. Souvenirs and shopping has become a joke...lots more places to do it, lots few things to buy. Half the fun used to be finding cool little resort or ride specific things to commemorate your trip with...now every park has the same 10 or 12 figurines...take 'em or leave 'em. The food is trending the same way...every place used to have something special...and while a lot of the places were a tad pricey, I always felt I was getting my money's worth - great quality, ample portions....now you can tell it's all about cost-cutting. Disney was magical precisely because they were the only ones who put the "magic" first....they took care of their guests...when I was there, I felt like I was part of the Disney family...everything was thought of, and it never felt like a money suck....it always felt like you were getting top of the line treatment...the money was well worth it. Now it's about cutting corners, making things the same in every park to be able to get that meal 1 penny cheaper, finding a way to pry the extra 10 bucks from the customer's hand no matter how slimy the method. We cancelled our big 10 day family trip this year, and haven't bothered to look at planning one for next year....although there has been talk of a Universal trip......

My family of 6 was just there in May/June and it was horrible. We spent a fortune, had to wait in line for the rides as Fast Passes were not available, the customer service was insanely rude, and we had so many bad things happen to us that it was not a fun time. Disney has become more about the money than the magical moments. I am a huge Disney fan, but we have not desire left to ever go back after this last trip. If I am going to spend that kind of money for a vacation I will go to Universal next time. I should not have to wait in line for 2 hours to ride a ride and then have it break down on us. Again, for me it was an eye opener when we noticed prices at the sovenier shops were raised for Memorial weekend and we had horrible experiences at many of the restaurants we had reservations for, not to mention when we talked to Customer Service while we were there they didn't really care. Also, we had the dining plan and on our 7th day there--we did not have any meals left to use. Apparently, if you don't spend the night then you don't get meals for the day! Frustrating as we were in the parks all day and would have liked to have had those meals that I felt we paid for! As I said, my family has no desire to go back...It's just sad because when I was there 10 years ago this was the most magical place on earth!

In reply to by Caralyn Blaker (not verified)

I agree! We wenthink to Disney Land in September and it was bare and prices were reasonable. Been looking to book for this year and the room rates are so high! I am imagining they are busy enough to get them!

We love Disney and just took our 10th trip in September. We have been there over the summer and honestly I would never go back during that time. The foreign tour groups were so bad that it was difficult to move through the parks. The fast pass system definitely needs some adjustments. You should be able to ride Test Track and Soarin in the same day with a fast pass. I like the fact that you can manage the fast passes on your phone but when we were there you had to actually go to the kiosk to schedule new passes after you initial 3 were used. Not very efficient! We were able to get free dining but without it, the cost of meals is getting crazy! Why in the world would you need to pay $40 for a 9 year old to eat at a buffet. Without the dining plan we do not do those sit down meals because my son will eat two things and be done. When we first started visiting Disney 13 years ago we could easily visit for less than $2500 which included our transportation. Now it is closer to $4000. I still love Disney and we will continue to visit but it won't be every year like we had been.

Disney has concentrated on DVC and forgot about the others who don't belong. Disney needs to lower the hotel prices to bring back the visitors. I used to every once in a while stay at a deluxe resort. No longer. As mentioned above the FastPass system needs to be changed.

Disney should bring back Mulch Sweat and Shears at Hollywood studios. We have been coming back to Disney each year since their 2004 first show, just to see them perform. 2015 was their last year and now there is less reason for us to come back. Penny wise pound foolish is what Disney did and now they are paying for it.

Was up at DHS for the day on Saturday . I didn't see anything empty or short lines ..

The story is out, Americans are screwed out of a job and have to train foreigners to do their job or they get no severance pay. So disney, (note the lower case) cuts costs and raises prices, well guess what? America says screw you. There are plenty of other places to spend our vacation money without the same, lame, and inane service we know we will get.

In my opinion, one of the reasons for low attendence this time of year may be to the change in annual pass pricing. I have had an annual pass for years and have enjoyed going to the parks for either a couple hours at a time or for all day. With the new tiered pricing for annual passes we now have blackout dates. Of course you can get the highly priced top of the line pass. I feel the majority of pass holders now have ones with the blackout dates, which include two months during the summer. I feel this restricts a lot of people from the parks and spending a lot of money while there. Now I'm sure that Disney will still do very well, but this may be an effect of their price increasing over the past few years. Again, just my opinion.

I agree with the election cycle comment. I used to see the same thing when I was a fishing guide. Presidential election years meant less customers. I am not sure why but it was always true. It could also mean that Disney has found the top of ticket pricing. I did not go last year and this year I made my first trip to Universal and really enjoyed it. I have no issue with Disney tickets but I feel that the hotels are way over priced. I cannot see going back until some of the construction (Avatar) and new shows (rivers of light) are completed. Maybe early 2018 before I go back to WDW.

I am guessing that part of this downturn is due to that 21% price increase for the Florida resident annual passes last year. We didn't renew our 3 annual passes and saved over $2100. We'd often go to EPCOT and spend a bunch of money at Tutto Gusto, Rose and Crown etc. when hanging out with friends and not worried about long lines for rides as we were not there for them. Disney showed that they didn't value the "locals" by that price hike, so this is of their own making.

I am very disappointed that there are less restaurants using the Disney Dining Plan in 2017. There is only one restaurant available in Disney Springs!

With the tiered prices, and the increase in prices, it is getting to be too much for families. Personally, I loved having unexpired tickets. Bring those back for sure. Staying on property is way too expensive for my family, and taking out some of the favorite food places has caused us to wonder if we should leave the parks for food. My family liked having unlimited popcorn, so we did the refills. Major disappointment when it was gone. Your popcorn as souvenirs is okay, but when you ran out of the Cinderella ones, it's hard to explain to a child they can't have one, when there are people with them in the park. While on the topic of souvenirs, why can't the parks have shirts for those heavy people. Many out there are over 3x sizes, and would spend good money on it, but can't.

All the tourist are at Disneyland this year. Park is crowded and hotels are booked.

I think you missed the mark on #2. I don't see how locals will increase more money coming in. If they are annual pass holders, they have already paid for the year, and I don't see many locals who don't have annual passes going for just the shows as you stated.
I expect we will see a hybrid of sorts at the dessert parties. I think we will see a significantly reduced price for a dessert party ticket ($30-$60 range) with desserts and drinks being purchased a la cart, and the number of tickets sold will be limited.

I LOVE Disney, but I think a lot of the decline in numbers is due to the fast pass debacle. People don't want to pay $105/day to not get to ride the rides they want to, or be limited to certain rides because of the tiered system. When I go to a theme park I want to ride the top rides that are the ones my family wants to ride. I shouldn't have to choose which ones based on a system that they make. The numbers started declining when Disney implemented the new fast pass plus system. 3 fast passes is simply not enough for Magic Kingdom, and I understand you can get more once your 3 are used but what if you don't get a fast pass until 7pm like we did one year ago? We had to wait in line for all the rides we rode from 10am until 7pm when we could use our 3rd fast pass and then spend time waiting in line to book a new fast pass at the kiosk. People don't want to pay that kind of price to wait in line, and then wait in line again to book a fast pass (of which there may not even be one available) Disney needs to look in the system that Dollywood uses for their "fast pass" It is much more accommodating, and it allows you to ride the rides you really want to ride. The other issue is that Disney needs to come up with better rides, half of Epcot is empty now, you can't close a ride until you have an idea in place ready to fill that ride. Who wants to pay $95 for empty buildings and abandoned rides. Honestly too, if Disney is going to come up with "cheesy" rides like the new Frozen Ever After ride which my family was really excited about, but after seeing videos of the ride, we could care less if we even ride it based on the fact that it doesn't make sense, it is basically a scene here and there from the movie/short and it doesn't really follow a story or anything. Disney will find people will be heading to Universal Studios for rides that are more exciting than that. Don't get me wrong I LOVE Disney and we have LOTS of great memories there, but Disney is falling behind on their "ideas" and their innovations and their fast pass system should be the first thing to be revamped. For some people they only get to Disney once in their lives, so to prevent them from doing everything they want to do because of the FP+ system's failures is unfair to them. There is a LOT of potential for EPCOT but they need to get a plan together before they close all the rides.

the thing is , some of the entertainment isn't that great. We were there a couple weeks ago and the stage across from the American restraunt at Epcot had promise of a great show.........So we went and sat near the front. It was so bad but I am not rude about getting up and leaving a concert , but honestly felt like it. There were other entertainment options that we didn't really like either. If Disney wants people to go to their entertainment, they need better talent. The Indiana jones show is so out of date, Fantasmic is still nice to see, Beauty and the beast is a good show, but its not enough to bring us back to Hollywood studios, hopefully when the new areas are opened, it will be better. My husband and I enjoy The magic kingdo the most and spend most of our time there. Another thing they could do is bring in more new souviners. Seems like the same ole same ole is in the parks every time we go. A few new things here and there but mostly old. I do plan on going back, it is a change of pace and a place to escape from reality for a while, but bring something new besides very expensive stores at Disney Springs

These attendence results have been typical during each election year cycle. We anticipated these to occur. Great article covering various changes.

Attendance slowdown? what a surprise. Disney just keeps raising their prices and giving you less for your money. No wonder people have stopped going. Many years ago, we went there in early in November for the Christmas decorations. It was spectacular. Now several years later they move the decorating back to the end of the month so if you go during their "value times" you won't see them. I went last year, and took my 3 children, and it cost me about $5000 for a week at Disney. I will think long and hard before going back. The fact that I had to pay more for a Sat & Sun at the hotel, even though I was staying for the entire week irked me. I do love Disney, and have been going since 1976, but for $5000 I can see a lot more, and get more for my money than I can at Disney. Don't get me wrong, I know there's no place like it on earth, but as I said in the beginning of my review, you keep getting less and less, and it costs more and more. No thanks.

I just wonder what's going to happen with the zika virus that is now showing up in Miami and how that's going to impact tourism to Orlando. Disney has always been my happy place but right now too expensive for our family.

I am a Local and none of these are any enticement for me to come more often (3-4 times a year) Lowering the overall cost of a day trip $100.00, on average, for two meals for 3 people. Even using Quick Serves, can run $10.00 person. And if you want anything more the water ( free at some locations in parks ) its another $10.00+ for 3. Why the Mark-up??? and Please don't say "Because people will pay it" I hate that, when you are given No choice but to pay, Why be an Ass and charge so much! Can I mention your hotel pricing? I used to stay over night most on most of my trips but you have even decided to take that from the locals. A stay at Pop Century using Florida Resident discount would cost me less then $90.00, fees and taxes included, Now to stay the same days & 146.00!!!! What?! that is money I would have spent in the parks or restaurants, but now its for a room that I am only Sleeping in!! Just the tip of the Ice burg on what would bring me here more often. If you want the Locals to come more often, to fill in the "Gaps" then make it more enticing then this.

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