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Attendance Tracker

Galaxy Defender

Premium Member
Oct 5, 2013
3,640
Atlanta, GA
Last fiscal quarter Disney and SeaWorld recorded declines in attendance in Orlando. Universal reported steady attendance. Mentions on multiple threads here have suggested that crowds have declined at all parks during the summer. Someone mentioned a decline in hotel fill rates at Disney Springs and it was just announced that those hotels are having some rate sales. Also heard Orlando hotel occupancy rates are down this year. I don't know how Universal hotels are doing.

The declines started before all of the tragedies in Orlando so the root causes are elsewhere, though it could make the declines worse. Is this a blip due to overseas tourism drops from Brazil, a longer trend due to weakness in the US economy or are theme park trips getting too expensive? Gas prices are down so you would think that would encourage travel.

Could this impact the theme park wars? Would the parks cut back due to loss of income, stay the course to bring back business or are current projects so far along that they will get done regardless of economy?

I do think any downturn would be less severe than the last since it would not be bank based. Those tend to be more severe and longer in duration.
 

Stitch_101

Member
Feb 11, 2015
598
Destin
Last fiscal quarter Disney and SeaWorld recorded declines in attendance in Orlando. Universal reported steady attendance. Mentions on multiple threads here have suggested that crowds have declined at all parks during the summer. Someone mentioned a decline in hotel fill rates at Disney Springs and it was just announced that those hotels are having some rate sales. Also heard Orlando hotel occupancy rates are down this year. I don't know how Universal hotels are doing.

The declines started before all of the tragedies in Orlando so the root causes are elsewhere, though it could make the declines worse. Is this a blip due to overseas tourism drops from Brazil, a longer trend due to weakness in the US economy or are theme park trips getting too expensive? Gas prices are down so you would think that would encourage travel.

Could this impact the theme park wars? Would the parks cut back due to loss of income, stay the course to bring back business or are current projects so far along that they will get done regardless of economy?

I do think any downturn would be less severe than the last since it would not be bank based. Those tend to be more severe and longer in duration.
I know this is antidotal evidence at best, but I myself live in a tourism dependent town (Destin FL). This year has been one of the slowest years in recent memory, with this Fourth of July being to worst July 4th weekend in almost 10 years. The city survives on Spring Break and Summer vacationers. So perhaps it is something more than just travel to Orlando being down.

Conversely, there is a good number of guests that visit Orlando for Disney. While Universal is growing more and more as a stand alone vacation destination, for a lot of people it's still an add on to their Disney trips, like SeaWorld. I think we could be seeing side effects of all the Disney construction taking effect. People are becoming aware of the big construction going on and are in turn waiting until more opens at Disney before traveling. This could explain why their attendance is down, SeaWorld's is down and why Universal has taken a bit of a hit. I think, pre-Comcast era Universal would be feeling an even bigger strain is not for the success it has had at slowly chipping away its "add on park" status and becoming its own destination in and of itself.
 

Mad Dog

Premium Member
Jan 30, 2013
18,901
Pittsburgh area
Mice Chat article from yesterday suggests the Disneyland Resort has also experienced an attendance decline the last couple of months, and that the resort was comparatively slow during the Fourth of July holiday weekend, most especially the DCA park. Actually, the US economy still shows growth, though a little sluggish. But it's still one of the world's strongest economies growth & jobs wise. Nearly all the South American economies are in the tank, but downturns are the norm there. Brazil, specifically, is historically a boom & bust economy, and the Olympics is probably an issue. Note that WDW did poorly the summer of the World Cup in Brazil. But, since WDW has seen an attendance decline for the entire calendar year, there's probably more at play in Disney's case. As I said on Kong's thread, this may be the perfect storm. A combination of too many price increases, too much planning involved for vacations, surge pricing, very few new attractions in the past decade, staffing cuts, entertainment cuts, a business philosophy that puts the guest experience behind cost savings, etc. may have culminated. The fact that Universal receives a good deal of their traffic from WDW guests could also trickle down to where it affects Universal's attendance. Plus, Universal just went 24 months without a new attraction, and boarded up 2 E tickets(Hulk & Disaster) and 1 D ticket (Twister). I think Universal's attendance will kick back in once Kong's opening is more well known and Hulk reopens next month.
 

MissyKrissy

Newcomer
Apr 19, 2011
45
I think we reached the apex of theme park costs. People are probably realizing that their money can go longer elsewhere (cruises come to mind). Also, this is the first year of tiered pricing and it's showing.
As a tourist from NY who visits UO every year, sometimes twice a year, my family has made similar decisions. We have opted to take a longer vacation (2 weeks +) for the same cost a one week stay at the parks would cost. Sometimes you have to decide between length and location - and we often decided to take 2 + at the beach over 1 at the park the past year.
 

Scott W.

Premium Member
Feb 26, 2014
12,710
Glasgow
I think this is going to be a tough summer for Disney. 2 tragic events happening in Orlando over a weekend and most people associate Orlando with Disney. Quickly followed by the tragic alligator event. Add to this increases in pricing and Orlando's biggest tourist country (Brazil) is in a bad recession and the next biggest tourist country (UK) looks like it's heading back into another recession not to mention the pound falling drastically against the dollar.

My upcoming trip in September is probably going to be at least twice the cost of my last trip in 2013.

On the plus side, smaller attendance is a major draw for me to return.
 

Scott W.

Premium Member
Feb 26, 2014
12,710
Glasgow
That's the spirit! We have to pick up the slack for those not going. It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it.:)
The ironic thing I find with all this, is that this is probably the best summer in a long time for new rides. Mako, Cobra's Curse, Kong, Hulk restoration and Frozen and there is a lot to look forward to over the next few years.
 
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graspthesun

Premium Member
Feb 21, 2013
1,109
New Orleans
We're hurting in New Orleans this year. Between oil and gas being down, we've also had our film industry collapse. I'd say that uncertainty with the election is also keeping people from spending.
 

Teebin

Legendary Member
Oct 12, 2009
20,475
North of the Wall
I would say that, with oil prices down and the hyper promotion of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service has put a bit of a dent in Orlando too. I assume every morning show had promotion of it and know as fact the Today show traveled to multiple NPs doing pieces on their history and beauty.
 
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Galaxy Defender

Premium Member
Oct 5, 2013
3,640
Atlanta, GA
I would say that, with oil prices down and the hyper promotion of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service has put a bit of a dent in Orlando too. I assume every morning show had promotion of it and know as fact the Today show traveled to multiple NPs doing pieces on their history and beauty.
Yeah, but they don't have screenz.
 

GAcoaster

V.I.P.
Nov 30, 2012
3,891
Orlando
Yesterday was first July 4 in 15 years without at least some level of phased closing at WDW. Plenty of anecdotal evidence says slow, but that really sells it.
I've heard MK was down quite a bit from projections for the 4th.

I also heard a story on NPR the other day saying that Brazilian tour groups to Orlando are down 60% because of their economic woes. Now with the British Pound dropping it's become more expensive for them to come and visit as well...
 
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Joe

aka TestTrack321
Staff member
Moderator
Feb 15, 2012
12,359
Pittsburgh, PA
This has little to do with Pulse and the alligator attack and way more to do with Brazil's economy and the issues they're having down there (plus I imagine locals won't dare travel around the time of the Olympics).

And as Brian said Disney's decline is a direct result of tired pricing (RoL's indefinite delay isn't helping either).