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Disneyland’s Attendance Issues Summer 2019

Joe

aka TestTrack321
Staff member
Moderator
Feb 15, 2012
12,350
Pittsburgh, PA
This seems to be more than a one time issue as attendance has not recovered since the SWGE reservation period started. DL and DCA is empty with many attractions that would I’ve hour or more lines are walk ons.


Time to discuss and move the discussion from the SWGE thread and general DL thread.
 

Scott W.

Premium Member
Feb 26, 2014
12,701
Glasgow
Interesting times.

I don't think this is the result of one thing but many small things; big increase in prices, Galaxy's Edge opening half ready and Smuggler's Run under delivering, food quality has dipped in my opinion while charging more, smoking ban and scaring people away with expected large crowd sizes.
 

Mad Dog

Premium Member
Jan 30, 2013
18,896
Pittsburgh area
I've been reading a lot on this, and there's been some pretty good points brought up on the Disney centric web sites. First of all, I don't think anyone fully expected this to happen to the extent it has. In fact, most everyone expected the opposite, namely a packed Disneyland Park &GESWL. Disney certainly didn't expect this since they had been making infrastructure improvements, such as eliminating curbs & widening pathways, to deal with the anticipated crushing crowds. Trying to analyze this it seems like it's the perfect storm of events explanation. Some events were more crucial than others. I'm going to list some of the ideas I've gathered from reading the various Disney sites & try to rank them in order of importance. Most important first.
* Public perception of overcrowding. That's been evident for a good while and accentuated when the opening dates were released. Disney Marketing, and Iger too, played this as bragging rights, but it backfired with many people shying away because of 'perceived' overcrowding.
* Reservation period. I think this turned off a lot of the general public. Times got sucked up over a matter of minutes. Hotel prices were too high. The value wasn't there. And, most importantly, it all smacked of 'Elitism' and turned people off from visiting after the reservation period was up.
* Lack of Value. Not opening RotR with the rest of the land made the opening and land seem incomplete. There was also the perception Disney was using a technical delay to mask intentions of trying to capitalize on a double opening day bump, a pure money grabbing move. Added to this is the huge single day and AP price increases of the past few years, and most especially this past 12 months.
* The land itself. While done well, beautiful and evidently first class buildings, it seems to need 'more life' . The little things that has made the Potter lands so strong are missing, namely the beautiful original SW background music, entertainment, kinetic energy....and most important a land people's minds can identify with. I understand why they did Batuu and concentrate on the new films, pure money related. But the new films' characters, which are blah for the most part, don't have the strong characters the original trilogy produced. People loved those characters, those locations, and that music. The only thing here is the Falcon, and that is certainly no disaster like F&F, but it's reception with the GP is only fair, with kids and gamers being the ride's core demographic. And, important, the word spreading that there's not much for kids to do in the land if they don't nab a light saber reservation early. The curtliness of the staff at the Cantina, it's small size and inconvenient reservations and drinks off campus policy are negatives as is the high price of food and failure of SW centic beverages/food products.
*AP blocks. On looking at the past few years this is probably not as crucial as some are saying. Disney has been blocking a large percentage of the APH for the last few summers and still drew large crowds in the summer. I believe they only added 1 group of APH that weren't included in the past blackouts.
*Disney Executive's/Upper Management arrogance. Thinking their brand is so strong (and it is pretty damn strong due to past branding) that they can shove anything down the GP's throats and they'll take it. Well, you can't fool everybody forever. Sooner, or later, people will back off coming. Maybe not forever, but in certain circumstances, perfect storms,
like this.
*******I'm sure Disney will figure this out and get it together. But if it's not a wake up call to them, well shame on them.
*******DHS WDW is a different animal. After this Disneyland fiasco, I'd guess Disney will ensure there's plenty of people for the August, and beyond, opening. And they will mask that hotel reservations are still widely available. And, I'm guessing they'll open RotR a little earlier at both resorts, then they were planning to do. Unfortunately, I don't think Chapek will release the money for entertainment , music, kinetic energy that the lands could really use to feel alive.
 
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s8film40

Veteran Member
Apr 18, 2013
3,458
What’s baffling to me is the lack of interest in Star Wars. You can ignore the attendance issues and just compare the wait times throughout the park to each other and it seems quite common that people are willing to wait in longer lines for Radiator Springs Racer, Space Mountain, Peter Pan, etc. The newness factor alone should make the Millenium Falcon ride double anything else, then there’s the re-rideability factor since there’s different positions. It’s almost as if Star Wars has had a negative effect.
 

nanothegotchi

Newcomer
Jun 25, 2015
25
But even if Star Wars isn’t as popular as Disney thinks. (Which I feel, is totally the case. I love the modern Star Wars movies but it isn’t no Marvel.), you see something like Pandora bringing huge crowds despite being a IP that nobody really cares about. I feel that it isn’t the land itself or the content, or whatever. Even if Millennium Falcon was a mediocre ride (it is totally tho ), huge crowds would still show up for a mediocre ride. It’s definitely the unfinished nature of the land, the extremely high prices, and block outs. It’s a lot of little things. People didn’t just suddenly think “HMMM, Disneyland sucks.”
 

shiekra38

Legendary Member
Dec 13, 2009
10,728
Florida
What’s baffling to me is the lack of interest in Star Wars. You can ignore the attendance issues and just compare the wait times throughout the park to each other and it seems quite common that people are willing to wait in longer lines for Radiator Springs Racer, Space Mountain, Peter Pan, etc. The newness factor alone should make the Millenium Falcon ride double anything else, then there’s the re-rideability factor since there’s different positions. It’s almost as if Star Wars has had a negative effect.
Maybe people are smarter than we think and realize RSR is a better attraction

Also, Disney is clearly trying to double dip with opening RotR later
 

Scott W.

Premium Member
Feb 26, 2014
12,701
Glasgow
But even if Star Wars isn’t as popular as Disney thinks. (Which I feel, is totally the case. I love the modern Star Wars movies but it isn’t no Marvel.), you see something like Pandora bringing huge crowds despite being a IP that nobody really cares about. I feel that it isn’t the land itself or the content, or whatever. Even if Millennium Falcon was a mediocre ride (it is totally tho ), huge crowds would still show up for a mediocre ride. It’s definitely the unfinished nature of the land, the extremely high prices, and block outs. It’s a lot of little things. People didn’t just suddenly think “HMMM, Disneyland sucks.”
I think Star Wars is as popular as they think it is but the problem with it, is that it’s not really an inviting IP for people who have no interest in it.

If you don’t care about Star Wars and have to deal with the inflated prices, it’s not worth going.
 

nanothegotchi

Newcomer
Jun 25, 2015
25
That’s entirely fair. I really enjoyed Potter despite having never read the books or watched the movies, and I’m sure that Nintendo is very open to people.
 
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Scott W.

Premium Member
Feb 26, 2014
12,701
Glasgow
That’s entirely fair. I really enjoyed Potter despite having never read the books or watched the movies, and I’m sure that Nintendo is very open to people.
The other part of this is that Disney have created an entirely new area with new characters. With Star Tours, even if you didn’t know Star Wars, you knew C3PO and R2D2. Same with the Wizarding World, they’re sticking to the well known characters that people are at least aware of. You could call that lazy or lack of creativity but I think it’s sticking to the strengths.
 
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bob albert

BANNED
Sep 18, 2015
1,710
Disney could discount day tickets a lot more and pack the parks if they wanted to but are just too stubborn to do so. What they really needed to do was introduce the new pass where you have to make reservations much longer ago. That way they could have made up for the lack of day/multi-day tickets with pass holders while still trying to keep the prices so high.
 
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GAcoaster

V.I.P.
Nov 30, 2012
3,888
Orlando
I'm thinking we'll see more "promotions" rather than un-blocking passholders. I think they'd overwhelm the park, whereas offering the bring a friend tickets let's them open a spillway rather than busting the dam.
 
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Mad Dog

Premium Member
Jan 30, 2013
18,896
Pittsburgh area
FWIW I do not think it’s a SWGE quality issue at this time. I think Disney got arrogant thinking there would be more single day and multi-day ticket sales.
Timing. Just watching Potter on SF....and Disney commercial for Disneyland GESWL & WDW GESWL with opening dates....Get that marketing moving. No, you didn't just have to open the gates and expect everyone to show up....Actually that's the first SW commercial I've seen on TV so far.
 
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Frankyg123

Rookie
Oct 5, 2009
307
Miami, FL
FWIW I do not think it’s a SWGE quality issue at this time. I think Disney got arrogant thinking there would be more single day and multi-day ticket sales.
I brought this up in the other thread. Disney assumed that the Star Wars fans would show up regardless of the prices and more than gladly pay out of pocket and that the AP’s would just buy a single day ticket to visit the new land. Instead tourist would rather spend a week or two at Disney world once it opens I’m August and the pass holders are just waiting it out till black out dates are lifted.

A thought since so many are comparing this to hogsmeade Grand opening in 2010. It would be interesting to see what percentage of visitors to IOA during the first couple of months were AP locals vs. tourist.
 
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OhHaiInternet95

Veteran Member
Aug 18, 2017
3,023
But even if Star Wars isn’t as popular as Disney thinks. (Which I feel, is totally the case. I love the modern Star Wars movies but it isn’t no Marvel.), you see something like Pandora bringing huge crowds despite being a IP that nobody really cares about.
See, despite all the negativity surrounding the SW brand right now, this is why most people--myself included--thought it wouldn't matter in bringing crowds. Maybe once tiered fall pricing starts on both coasts and RotR opens, attendance will bounce back?
 
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shiekra38

Legendary Member
Dec 13, 2009
10,728
Florida
See, despite all the negativity surrounding the SW brand right now, this is why most people--myself included--thought it wouldn't matter in bringing crowds. Maybe once tiered fall pricing starts on both coasts and RotR opens, attendance will bounce back?
Unfortunately, the land is open and people are going to judge it when it is missing its E-Ticket. I think they may have shot themselves in the foot with not having everything ready in time, or, trying to double dip

It would be as if Diagon opened with just HE and no Gringotts, it'd be weird
 

Nick

Staff member
Moderator
Sep 22, 2011
20,899
Orlando
I think Star Wars is as popular as they think it is but the problem with it, is that it’s not really an inviting IP for people who have no interest in it.

If you don’t care about Star Wars and have to deal with the inflated prices, it’s not worth going.
I could make this same argument about almost any IP-based land though. Avatar, Potter, whatever.

I have a friend who had a chance to go the TM previews for Hagrid. He decided not to go because he doesn't care about literally anything Potter. We've told him it's great and his response is "I don't like Potter, why should I bother with a ride I won't understand".

I've met more people like my friend out there and we certainly know they exist for Avatar, but the lands or rides within them usually will get people who have no interest in the IP to have a good time. Star Wars is really no less inviting for people that don't give a crap than those other IPs. It really just comes down to Disneyland botched the opening.

FWIW I do not think it’s a SWGE quality issue at this time. I think Disney got arrogant thinking there would be more single day and multi-day ticket sales.
Well, usually in the summer, there IS a lot more single day and multi-day ticket sales. That's the odd thing. Tourists carry the load a lot more in the summer, typically.