WDW's decline

Discussion in 'Disney Rumors and News' started by Buschfan, Oct 9, 2002.

  1. Buschfan

    Buschfan Mouseketeer

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  3. Maistre Gracey

    Maistre Gracey <font color=red>Still trying to figure out the mys

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    I don't see where the EPCOT and MK graphs prove a thing. I am not pretending that attendance hasn't dropped, but just saying that we need a total attendance graph that includes AK and MGM. I am sure that some of that downslope is due to the opening of AK.
     
  4. wdwguide

    wdwguide Ex Guide Book Author

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    That's part of the problem - the AK, at least at first, took away visitors from Disney's other parks, which it wasn't supposed to (look at Tokyo, where the opening of DisneySea has actually boosted the original park's figures). What it was supposed to do is keep people from visiting Busch Gardens, Universal, and Sea World, which didn't happen.

    Compared to 1997, total visitation is up roughly a million, but the average per park is down over 3 million.

    There are a LOT of reasons why this has happened, not all of which are under Disney's control, but much of what we are seeing today are the direct results of short-term money-saving measures from a few years ago coming back to generate large long-term costs now.
     
  5. Maistre Gracey

    Maistre Gracey <font color=red>Still trying to figure out the mys

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    Well, that answers some questions. I didn't scroll to the right to see MGM and AK charts! :cool:
     
  6. PKS44

    PKS44 DIS Veteran

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    I suspect much of this is Disney's "fault"-they have decided it is not "worth" it to try to increase attendance by aggressively investing in the parks...on the contrary -they have been cutting. Just wondering though how much of this is population driven...the folks who go to Disney style parks are generally families with pre teens...the numbers of those folks is shrinking and will shrink until the Gen X'ers have 5 to 10 year olds...but what about Japan...does anyone know what the population breakdown is over there? Did they have a baby boom like us? an echo boom?

    Paul
     
  7. Bob O

    Bob O <font color=navy>Voice of Reason<br><font color=re

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    Disney can delude themselves and blame the economy/terrorism etc. But the problem wont be solved till they look inward and realize they have diminished the theme park experience with all of the cutbacks at the parks. They thought that bigger is always better with a build it and they will come attitude. The graphs show that every park is bleeding attendance and alot of it concides with the start of the cutbacks so as too bleed money from the parks to pay for all of their other business debacles. They have gotten away from what has worked in the past to cut to the bootstrings attitude and they are doing nothing to encourage people to come back again by letting their parks go stale, reducing hours/hotel perks.
    Attendance wont go back up until they give their guests reasons to come back and putting on 18 month scam pr campaigns like the one they are doing now wont cut it!!
     
  8. Figmentrocks

    Figmentrocks Earning My Ears

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    Japan's population is on a decline. They are actually projected at this pace to have nearly half the population of today (I believe around 121 million today) in 50 years. Population growth is rather interesting to me. The U.S. continues to grow and grow, therefore, in theory, the base of people attending the theme parks always should have a large opportunity to keep growing. It astounds me that Eisner and his business minions can't seem to understand this simple pretense, instead they look overseas because there isn't "enough" growth here. They've *****d out the Disney name so much in the States, that you have a public simply tired of the Mouse.
     
  9. Planogirl

    Planogirl I feel the nerd in me stirring

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    I wish that these graphs showed the years more clearly. Notice how all of the American parks except Animal Kingdom show a steady decline but then all of these have a jog upward close to the middle before starting to fall again. I wonder what caused this?
     
  10. JimB.

    JimB. DIS Veteran

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    But a key factor in all this is DISTANCE. In Japan, there are significantly MORE people living CLOSER to their parks than to WDW. Imagine the entire population of Japan crammed into Florida, then imagine how packed WDW would probably be.


    BUT, I'll agree, a key problem (IMHO) is a percieved lack of capital investment into the theme parks themselves ("If you build it, they will come........................"). You can only squeeze so much water out of a sponge before it runs dry.
     
  11. space42

    space42 WDW Addict

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    I'll take a guess.

    This could be due to the millennium celebration. Notice that EPCOT seems to have the most drastic incline before the decline. I would also bet that if those graphs extended through '02, the drop off would be even more extreme for EPCOT.
     
  12. snowwhitemom

    snowwhitemom Going down the road feeling bad!

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    Wow, the chart really made it black and white to me. Thanks for posting it.
     
  13. David in Manassas

    David in Manassas Lifelong Fan!

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    I have heard that attendance is down at WDW from reading these boards, but I wanted to relate to you all about our visit to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg this weekend. I have not seen the park this crowded in years, even in the peak of summer. They park was turning away people from their main parking area and directing them to park in on old lot on the other side of the highway....they they rarely use.

    The reason? BG is celebrating their Howl O Scream promotion this month on weekends. I have to say, I was VERY impressed. Besides the typical "scary" mazes etc set up, BG really went all out. They actually changed the outdoor lighting in all of the areas, and all areas of the park were decorated. Cast members were dressed up and really got into the spirit. The most impressive parts were a special 1/2 hour monster show presented in the "Festhaus" and a "street spectacular" (Their words) presented in their Ireland area. And the place was opened till 10 PM!! (10 A to 10 P). I guess some parks are still pulling them in!.

    David Manassas VA
     
  14. King Triton

    King Triton DIS Veteran

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    Epcot drove away attendance by taking out Horizons, and World of Motion. Epcot hasn't been the same since. Epcot lost a lot of it's charm. My suggestion to Disney: Build a Horizons II and a World of Motion II ride. The old Epcot was so much better.

    The economy has an effect too. If your investments are down, then you are not going to go on vacations and spend money.
    It's that simple. When the stock market comes back, so will attendence at most of the parks. On the other hand, those who are depressed about loosing their money in the stock market will have to go to WDW for an escape and a dose of happiness. So it can work both ways.

    King Triton


    :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce:
     
  15. CWIPPERMAN

    CWIPPERMAN <font color=FF99FF>You don't have to be clever and

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    Well, I'm not an economist, and I have never been vocal on threads that discuss the "business" aspect of the parks.... BUT....

    I don't think you should read too much into these numbers. One thing these figures don't take into effect is overall "RESORT" attendance. What I mean by this is that the numbers don't show the (probable... I'm only assuming) substantial INCREASE in "per-visitor" income. I would assume that over the last 5 years, since thousands of new hotel rooms have oppened on-site, the amount of income per-visitor has greatly increased.

    Think about it this way - and this is just a hypothetical example -

    If 10 years ago, they had 10 million "paid admissions" at $50.00/per visitor, and then 10% of those folks actually stayed on site at another $50.00/per visitor. So, you have 11 million x $50.00 = $55 million dollars

    Now, lets say that today we have 9 million "paid admissions" at $50.00/per visitor. But now - with additional hotel rooms we have 33% (1/3) of the folks staying on site. This equals 3 million "hotel nights" at $50.00/visitor. Figuring this way - even with a 10% drop in park attendance, the revenue would increase: 12 million (9 million park admissions + 3 million "rooms") x $50.00 = $60 million dollars.

    Now, this is just a basic example using simple numbers (remember... I'm not an economist), but to me, I know that they have added probably 10,000 hotel rooms in the last 5 years. That means that even at 1/2 occupancy - there is an extra 5000 famalies staying on-site every night. That means not just the cost of the room, but food, and souveniers.

    I also assume that this even means that the same people that may have chosen to stay off-site in the past while visiting other parks, would now stay on-site. Hell, if I was going to Orlando for 10 days - but was only going to spend 5 days at a "Disney" park... with some of the deals like the All-Star's... It would be a better "overall" experience to stay on-site the entire vacation. So, instead of staying at an off-site hotel (and not giving Disney that extra money), they are getting money from me even if I'm not visiting their parks.

    And remember.... those figures don't show things like water-parks (which I imagine have remained pretty much level because they have lower capacities and have to "shut-down" when they reach a certain number of visitors). Those numbers also don't take into effect stuff like DisneyQuest (which I would guess is good for a million "paid-admissions"/year), and pleasure island.

    And there's other things that the addition of the hotel rooms brings like more golf, and dining at the non-park restaurants.

    So, to me - the decline in "park attendance" really doesn't mean that much. Remember to take the "totality" of the circumstances into effect when you read an article, or see numbers like that.
     
  16. Andrew015

    Andrew015 WL Guru

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    I couldn't agree more.... don't forget about the old Imagination too! IMHO, Disney is shooting itself in the foot. If they want to add new attractions, they should build a new park... don't take out the classic rides. Lord knows they have enough room.... not even half of their WDW property is developed on!!!


    Well if it's based on the filling up of the resorts, why could you get a room onsite for $25 dollars per night... Why is CBR closed.... Why are the resorts only 20- 50 % full????

    ATTENDANCE IS DOWN PERIOD.
     
  17. Figmentrocks

    Figmentrocks Earning My Ears

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    ...and the Loew's hotels at Universal are 90%+ filled at all times now. A lot of the problems at Disney are for certain, their problems, not problems of the market.
     
  18. raidermatt

    raidermatt Beware of the dark side. Anger...fear...aggression

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    Source? I have heard that Universal is doing "better" occupancy-wise than Disney, but haven't seen specific numbers from either. In it's last earnings call (about 2 months ago), Disney said 4th quarter bookings were down 10%, but that's all I've seen.

    Also, we don't know what the occupancy targets of each are. They could, and probably do, have very different % goals.

    The problem isn't the removal of these attractions. Its the fact that no family-oriented rides of the same scope have replaced them.

    CWIPPERMAN- You're right that attendance alone does not tell the whole story. But falling attendance is still not a good sign.

    Also, Disney has told us that per capita spending at WDW has been down. So they are not generating more revenue per guest.

    Also, the last update was that bookings were down 10%, so there are not more people on property. This is why Pop Century has not opened yet, even though it could have opened months ago.

    Financially speaking, the parks are not performing as poorly as ABC, but their performance HAS fallen. This has happened despite heavy cost-cutting. In other words, Disney has slashed costs, but is still making less money because the drop in attendance and spending has happened faster than they can cut.

    The only question that remains is how much the cost cutting (shorter hours, less entertainment, etc) is CAUSING the drop in attendance and spending? Disney says (publically, at least) that the drop is all due to the economy. Eisner critics say that's got very little to do with it.

    The truth is probably somewhere in between, but since Disney can't control the economy, they should be focused on what they CAN control, instead of making excuses.
     
  19. Bob O

    Bob O <font color=navy>Voice of Reason<br><font color=re

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    Maybe wdw should send some employee's to Holiday World in IND. as they just ended their season and attendance was up 20% and was record breaking!!! Maybe disney could learn something from them in how to attract guests as the park was rated #1 in cleanliness and the most friendly staff so they apparently know how to incrase attendance in a down economy and keep the guests satisfied!!
     
  20. Buschfan

    Buschfan Mouseketeer

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    It is puzzling to me that Disney executives always say they are not in competition with Universal. They insist they are going after a different market. This kind of thinking is hurting them also. They also refuse to come close to the discounts that Universal or Busch are offering on admission. The 'we are too good' to discount mentallity is costing them. The Orlando-Tampa market can help Disney overcome the loss of international travellers if only they would offer a decent discount to get people in the gates. Sure we don't have the money or the vacation time like the Europeans, but at least some revenue is better than none.

    The reports from others about non-Disney parks having good numbers doesn't surprise me. The higher priced retailers are the ones seeing sales declines right now while the Wal-Marts and Dollar Generals are seeing gains. Disney is pricing themselves far above all the other parks in the country. Naturally, they are going to be the first ones to suffer when the economy turns sour. People are going to parks that offer the best value.
     
  21. Skipmeister

    Skipmeister Earning My Ears

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    I think we're unfortunate victims of our own desire here. Think about it this way ... when you have a couple of kids, say 5 and 7 years old, if you suggest the mountains, the beach, or Disney World, which do you think they'll want to see? They want the mouse -- nothing else will do.

    Can you imagine explaining to your 7 year old that you don't want to take them to WDW this year because of Disney's "repeated pattern of lackluster investment in their theme parks"?

    Most familes visit WDW only every few years (at best), so they look at it as something they do mostly for their kids that they can enjoy as well. I remember the first time I took my kids; I thought it was great that everything was the about same as it was the last time I had visited six years before -- now, I see where that's actually not a good thing.

    What else can we do when little Jennifer wants to see Mickey? Spiderman ain't gonna cut it.
     

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