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
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.