If you’ve been to Walt Disney World this summer, you’ve probably noticed that guest levels during this typically busy season have been a bit on the low end, even compared with last summer, which also saw a downturn in attendance as well. You also may have noticed that Disney has been offering some pretty deep discounts this year on tickets and hotel rooms as well in an effort to try and get guests back to the resort. And while you may think guests might run to book a quickie trip to the resort in the next few weeks to take advantage of these discounts and deals, we probably aren’t going to see any attendance gains at Walt Disney World for some time. And here’s why.
Waiting for Star Wars Land
When Star Wars Land was announced in 2015, many predicted that this new land would open in 2019, which seemed a long ways off. However, now that we’re halfway through 2017, that date seems a lot closer, and many guests are probably looking at taking a special trip to Walt Disney World when Star Wars Land opens. Which means that they are probably putting off a trip in 2017 or 2018 to help offset the cost of going to a Galaxy Far, Far Away in less than two years.
Unfortunately, this is a big problem for Walt Disney World, and will of course intensify next year, as even more guests will be putting off trips and waiting for Star Wars Land. While next year will see the opening of Toy Story Land (and Pandora – The World of Avatar should still be bringing in higher-than-normal guest levels at Disney’s Animal Kingdom), the fact is with such a big event on the horizon, guests are going to be delaying visits to Walt Disney World in increasing numbers over the next 18 months, which will definitely keep attendance levels depressed. But that’s not the only thing Walt Disney World will need to worry about in the near future.
International travel continues to stagnate
If you visited Walt Disney World in the summer during the early 2010s, chances are good that you walked past dozens of international tour groups during your visit. However, if you visited in 2016 or 2017, you probably have only seen a handful of these touring groups, as international travel, especially from Latin and South America has been way down in recent years, thanks in part to economic downturns across several countries in this region of the world.
Unfortunately, there really isn’t much that Disney can do to control this downturn, as its unknown if or when tourists from this area of the world will return in large numbers to the resort. However, there's also a trend at home that might be worth paying attention to as well...