Attendance report shows Disney is down slightly, Universal is up

Posted Friday, June 2, 2017 8:40 AM | Contributed by Jeff

The report compiled by the Themed Entertainment Association and Aecom, an engineering company. Disney does not disclose attendance data for most of its properties, including the Magic Kingdom and five other parks near Orlando, Fla., that make up Walt Disney World. Universal had a very good year, the result of popular new Harry Potter attractions.

Read more from The LA Times and The New York Times.

Sunday, June 4, 2017 5:33 PM
slithernoggin's avatar

sirloindude said:
Maybe a Marvel park?

That would run into issues with the Universal Orlando deal.

I was thinking about this earlier, on my interminable commute home (thanks, CTA, for turning a typical hour 45 minute trip into a three hour trip); the "Disney has priced itself out of reach of families" topic reared its head in a Facebook post.

Disney has four parks, two water parks, two miniature golf courses, several golf courses, Disney Springs, horses to ride, multiple resorts with various themed pools.... there's plenty of options to choose from. You'd think that would help spread out the crowds. Instead, the more they add the more enticing the resort becomes to more people. Star Wars Land is going to attract a couple of people...

Epcot has restaurants? :-)


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Sunday, June 4, 2017 6:52 PM
sirloindude's avatar

I wouldn't be shocked if Epcot was effectively the Michigan's Adventure of the resort. ;)

If someone were to tell me that Epcot pulled in the highest margins of any park in the world, I wouldn't be shocked. The festivals clearly are resoundingly successful, but for those worried about the impact to the full-service restaurants, I'd be happy to tell you of my troubles not just getting Le Cellier reservations, but Via Napoli as well, to name just one.

Also, noggin, thanks for reminding me about that deal. Chalk it up to a brain fart on my end for forgetting.

It will certainly be interesting to see if these new lands, especially Star Wars, are enough to really start breaking people away from the Magic Kingdom. I'm not saying the other parks are ghost towns, but in terms of attraction balance, the only one right now that comes anywhere near the Magic Kingdom for attraction balance is the Animal Kingdom. I just think I really like the idea of a fifth park because it would drastically increase the attraction count in a single shot (I feel like WDW's attraction count didn't rise as quickly as it should have and now it's playing catch-up), and I think that the enormity of the resort's success justifies it. Maybe these new lands, from Pandora to Pixar with Star Wars right along with them, will indeed achieve the same objective as a new gate.


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Sunday, June 4, 2017 7:38 PM

sirloindude said:

I wouldn't be shocked if Epcot was effectively the Michigan's Adventure of the resort. ;)

If you follow Timber Rider logic, you are indeed correct. All Epcot got last year was a crappy kiddie ride. And we all know that nobody rides kiddie rides.

I think you could be on to something about Epcot being the most profitable, but I would still give the nod to Magic Kingdom based on the idea that families with kids tend to spend more money and the hunch that the sheer number of higher end permanent food locations and specialty souvenirs results in much higher food and merchandise cost of sales at Epcot.


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Sunday, June 4, 2017 11:04 PM

Epcot is also attached (more or less) to the other Disney parks. Even if Epcot gets nothing new, any other Disney park getting something new will draw new people, some of whom will stay in Disney resorts and use their park-hopper tickets to go to Epcot. Something new at one Disney Florida Park benefits all Disney Florida Parks.

Much like a rebuilt ride in Frontier Town benefits all of CP. :)


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Monday, June 5, 2017 12:03 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

Maybe the attendance dip is because of that documentary, Black Mouse.


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Monday, June 5, 2017 1:12 PM
Tekwardo's avatar

Slither covered a lot of my points. It seems as though they realized the need to refresh all four parks. They're done with MK. They're just finishing up with AK. Studios is next, and we see they're paying attention to updating another (the rest of?) Pavilion in Epcot with strong rumors of a new country as well.

They're adding new transportation. They redid downtown Disney. There's the Boardwalk.

I wonder if, once every park us refreshed with pavilions all new in Epcot, new attractions across the board, if they'll look at adding attractions in areas where there's already infrastructure, like discovery island or river country. Both could house something new, and even though most infrastructure would need to be replaced, it's already primed for that.


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Monday, June 5, 2017 1:43 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

I have really mixed feelings about the further Gonchification of the Disney parks.

I have definitely been drinking the Disney Kool Aid lately, but the two hesitations I have about road tripping to Disneyland more than once every few years or even looking at a multiweek pilgrimage to Disney World is the cost and the crowds. I tend to know enough and care enough to navigate the crowds without major issues, but with the high cost of simply being at Disney World at all (travel and hotel), I'd gladly double my ticket price (especially on days 5+ when it's just $20 anyway) if it would cut the crowds in half. I'd much rather get to just spend the day enjoying whatever is in front of me rather than constantly checking the app. and waking up early or staying out late and I'd be willing to fork over a couple extra hundred bucks (on top of the aforementioned few thousand it already takes to get there) to have it.

I should mention that we have a 7 year old, a 5 year old, and a 3 year old, so flexibility and spontaneity are in high demand, but costs are also very high.

Edit: What we found completely different about or DLR experience vs. the local regional is that the crowd problems were almost entirely on the midways. Through intelligent use of FastPass, child swap, and the app, ride lines were really not a problem at all. We waited for 30 minutes twice (once for Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters and once for Mater's Jamboree) the entire three days we were there. It was the midways and shows that were a nightmare. The Saturday afternoon parade was "full" about 45 minutes before it even started.

Last edited by ApolloAndy, Monday, June 5, 2017 3:05 PM

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Monday, June 5, 2017 4:29 PM
Jeff's avatar

If Epcot reservation availability is any indication, they're not hurting during the festivals.

Balloons and pretzels don't have the margin of alcohol. I'd be shocked if Epcot didn't currently have the highest margins of the WDW parks.


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Monday, June 5, 2017 5:26 PM

I hadn't considered the alcohol factor, so you're probably right.

Andy - I had a similar experience with DLR on weekdays last summer. At DCA, the longest line we waited in was Toy Story and that was only 30 minutes with a shutdown that lasted 15. I think we waited about 10 minutes for for the ferris wheel and everything else was either near walk on or fast pass. Disneyland looked like a madhouse the next day, but, again, fast pass won the day. We waited 30 minutes each for Casey's train and the Storybook boats and we (regrettably) waited an hour for the Finding Nemo subs. We skipped Peter Pan, so that would have easily been an hour. Everything else was 15 minutes or less and fast pass.


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Wednesday, June 7, 2017 11:05 AM
Pete's avatar

ApolloAndy said:

Maybe the attendance dip is because of that documentary, Black Mouse.

No, they would have to make "Black Rat" instead of "Black Mouse" so that they can get it wrong too. Orcas are not "Black Fish".


I'd rather be in my boat with a drink on the rocks, than in the drink with a boat on the rocks.

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Wednesday, June 7, 2017 3:05 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

But was the family black?


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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