Disney Parks Report a Drop in Attendance — and Higher Ticket Prices Might Be to Blame
If you visited a Disney theme park recently, you might have noticed something odd. Perhaps the lines for rides felt a little shorter, you got your snacks a little faster, and were somehow able to meet Mickey Mouse with ease. No, your eyes didn't deceive you. Disney parks really are less crowded this summer.
During an investor call, Disney revealed there really was a decrease in attendance at its parks from the beginning of April through the end of June.
According to The Points Guy, the company's U.S. theme parks saw a three percent decrease in attendance during those three months. One potential factor, Disney explained, is an increase in ticket prices.
In January, Disneyland raised single-day ticket prices by about 10 percent. It also increased annual pass rates by about 23 percent ahead of the much-anticipated Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge attraction opening in May.
However, on the call, Disney said spending on food, merchandise, and hotels was up. That means, though there were fewer guests, those guests who still visited the parks spent more on average.
In addition to increased ticket pricing, Disney identified several potential factors for the lower-than-expected attendance numbers. For starters, Disney blocked the use of some annual passes until September 3. Also, Anaheim hotel prices spiked this spring. Disney believes some visitors may have postponed their Disneyland vacations due to both hotel pricing and potentially too much buzz around the opening of Galaxy's Edge.
The Star Wars attraction may also be the reason for the decrease of visitors to Disney World. The ride doesn't open at Disney World until August 29. However, Christine McCarthy, senior executive vice president and CFO of The Walt Disney Company, noted on the call, "our survey data suggest that guests are deferring visitation until after Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge opens, which we believe contributed to the decline in attendance we saw during the third quarter."
So, if you're looking for a low-key Disney trip now is the time to visit. Don't forget, Disney World’s Galaxy's Edge attraction opens on August 29 and passholders are unblocked from Disneyland on September 3.