What is going on with Disney parks?

rteetz

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Feb 20, 2013
I decided to start a thread since this is a huge topic as of late. Surely this isn't specifically news or rumors however we are seeing plenty of news and rumors based on the issues.

Attendance has been down. Disney's 2019 fiscal year ends September 30th. We do typically see cuts every year around this time but this seems to have a larger impact this year.

Pricing is part of it as well. Is Disney getting too expensive for people? Are we getting close to that tipping point?

SWGE isn't the draw it was expected to be? SO many reasons for that...

Big and popular entertainment options cut and other options more limited.

Photopass boxes being expanded...

Where are you with this? Why do you think this is happening? What is your breaking point in which you would not return or take an extended break?
 
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Bing Showei

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 10, 2017
Maybe it's not just Disney parks, but what we notice because of our little bubble here. What if this is a bigger trend being observed across the economic landscape (e.g. Thomas Cook Travel)? Vacations are always the first to go when there is economic uncertainty.
What is your breaking point in which you would return?
Breaking points move. As consumers (especially Disney consumers with such an emotional attachment to the product), we adjust and push the point a little further each time something is taken away. I don't know what my breaking point is, but whatever it is, someone else will always be willing to fill in should I find Disney has left me by the wayside.
 

rteetz

Rumors and News Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Feb 20, 2013
Maybe it's not just Disney parks, but what we notice because of our little bubble here. What if this is a bigger trend being observed across the economic landscape (e.g. Thomas Cook Travel)? Vacations are always the first to go when there is economic uncertainty.

Breaking points move. As consumers (especially Disney consumers with such an emotional attachment to the product), we adjust and push the point a little further each time something is taken away. I don't know what my breaking point is, but whatever it is, someone else will always be willing to fill in should I find Disney has left me by the wayside.
Very good points. I think economic uncertainty/recession would/will hurt Disney pretty hard the next go around. Disney will have to heavily discount to fill rooms.
 
  • Bing Showei

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 10, 2017
    Very good points. I think economic uncertainty/recession would/will hurt Disney pretty hard the next go around. Disney will have to heavily discount to fill rooms.
    True. It's a good thing The Walt Disney Company, Inc. has all of that good will they've built up over the past several years with their most loyal base to fall back on during the hard times.
    This is what I'm hoping for lol
    Right, because when **** hits the fan and the economy start hemorrhaging jobs, retirements get halved, and home values plummet, going to pay to see a fake castle is pretty high up on people's list of things to do.

    Be careful what you wish for, even if it's upon a star.
     

    scrappinginontario

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 7, 2010
    Personally I would much rather pay a little more for our Disney vacation (and in turn go less often) and have a reasonable amount of people in the park then still pay a lot and not enjoy ourselves as the parks are just too busy. There was one evening early last December that we arrived in the MK and other than eating at Casey's we didn't do a single thing due to the massive crowds. We were there about 90 mins when we left as it just was not enjoyable to be squished in with so many people.

    It's not a new idea and something that's been talked about, Disney increasing prices to possibly lower attendance in the parks.

    I will say it's probably easier for me to concede this as right now I can still afford to go to WDW. Less often, but still go. We were priced out of Disney cruises a few years ago so I understand being 'priced out.'
     
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  • Brianstl

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 8, 2019
    I haven't reached my breaking point. In fact I plan on booking a trip in the next few weeks renting points and I am exploring options on a resale DVC purchase.

    That said, I think their are some big problems and the photopass boxes pretty much encompass them all. If anyone involved in the that decision actually vacationed at their own parks, they would have understood what an awful idea it was. They are worried about maximizing profits while they have no understanding of what goes into creating an experience at their parks that allows them to charge the premiums they do compared to their competitors. The fact that in today's instragram world they don't understand the importance of great photographs both for their customers' satisfaction and the value of free advertisement of their product shows a company that doesn't understand their own product and customers. The boxes, also, show that Disney has forgotten how important the human touch is their parks. The CMs at their parks are what really set them apart from their competition.
     

    han22735

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 24, 2014
    I really hope they see that pricing may have a part in this. We have cut back our park time. And for the 1st time next August will be our first non-parks trip. We will still use our DVC points to stay but will spend time at the water parks, pool and Disney springs. The ticket/AP increases have caused this.
     

    Brianstl

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 8, 2019
    Maybe it's not just Disney parks, but what we notice because of our little bubble here. What if this is a bigger trend being observed across the economic landscape (e.g. Thomas Cook Travel)? Vacations are always the first to go when there is economic uncertainty.
    But, Disneyland Paris is doing better than ever.
     
  • Candlelady

    A dream is a wish your heart makes
    Joined
    Oct 7, 2001
    I really hope they see that pricing may have a part in this. We have cut back our park time. And for the 1st time next August will be our first non-parks trip. We will still use our DVC points to stay but will spend time at the water parks, pool and Disney springs. The ticket/AP increases have caused this.
    I agree. We'll continue to visit because of DVC and maybe rent out half our points to cover maintenance fees. I see little to no park time if prices continue to climb and more is taken away.
     

    tlmadden73

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 9, 2014
    Breaking point isnt there yet, especially with all the new additions coming.

    If Disney CONTINUES to raise the prices every year (on everything) and/or cancles one of their upcoming announced projects, that may be the stopping point for a while. The hotel pricing is getting ot of hand, but if they are filling rooms, you cant blame them on those prices.
     

    mamaofsix

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 8, 2017
    Maybe it's not just Disney parks, but what we notice because of our little bubble here. What if this is a bigger trend being observed across the economic landscape (e.g. Thomas Cook Travel)? Vacations are always the first to go when there is economic uncertainty.

    Breaking points move. As consumers (especially Disney consumers with such an emotional attachment to the product), we adjust and push the point a little further each time something is taken away. I don't know what my breaking point is, but whatever it is, someone else will always be willing to fill in should I find Disney has left me by the wayside.
    I think the point is, though . . . "someone else" is not filling in for those who have reached their breaking point. Hence, the plummeting attendance.

    Apparently those on these boards who claims "it's always busy at Disney, there are not 'light crowd' times anymore" have been proven wrong.

    I know our breaking point was breached the last trip. Too expensive for the diminished experience, large amount of closures, long wait times despite low crowds (obviously staff cut-backs), etc. Instead of every two years, we'll moving to about once every five.

    Perhaps, also, one of the problems with Disney announcing all of it's new attractions years in advance means that folks are simply delaying their trips until more things are open. Maybe for 2019 it's not so much economics, but people delaying their trips until after Rise of the Resistance opens. Maybe Jan-Mar will be swamped...
     

    Mikey15

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 29, 2018
    People are reporting crowds are low now, but are Septembers (after Labor Day anyway) ever truly busy?

    My last September trip was 2016 and it was pretty quiet then too. And not just Disney; SeaWorld/Busch Gardens/Aquatica/Discovery Cove also.
     

    Brianstl

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 8, 2019
    That's a pretty low bar.

    When Disney actively tackled the Disneyland Paris problem in 2017, it had shown losses for more all but 7 years of its 25 year history. It would be a bad sign if even DLP had trouble riding the global economic boom.
    The bar might be low, but Disneyland Paris was the reason why Chapek's division turned a profit in the third quarter. If it wasn't for Paris booming, the division would have lost money last quarter.
     

    rteetz

    Rumors and News Moderator
    Moderator
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    Feb 20, 2013
    People are reporting crowds are low now, but are Septembers (after Labor Day anyway) ever truly busy?

    My last September trip was 2016 and it was pretty quiet then too. And not just Disney; SeaWorld/Busch Gardens/Aquatica/Discovery Cove also.
    The past couple years Septembers have been decently busy. Not Christmas or anything but busier than Septembers in the past.
     

    SaharanTea

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 21, 2016
    I decided to start a thread since this is a huge topic as of late. Surely this isn't specifically news or rumors however we are seeing plenty of news and rumors based on the issues.

    Attendance has been down. Disney's 2019 fiscal year ends September 30th. We do typically see cuts every year around this time but this seems to have a larger impact this year.

    Pricing is part of it as well. Is Disney getting too expensive for people? Are we getting close to that tipping point?

    SWGE isn't the draw it was expected to be? SO many reasons for that...

    Big and popular entertainment options cut and other options more limited.

    Photopass boxes being expanded...

    Where are you with this? Why do you think this is happening? What is your breaking point in which you would not return or take an extended break?
    Thanks for giving this topic a place of its own.

    Personally, I think it's a little bit of everything.

    -There's a little bit of economic uncertainty (though I don't think we've quite talked ourselves into a recession at this point).
    -There's a good bit about service cuts right now.
    -Those cuts coming just off the heels of some massive price hikes doesn't help potential guest perception.
    -Even around the general price hikes, you've got to deal with the nickel and dime service charges that are running rampant and getting harder to get around (looking at you resort parking fee).
    -The new land isn't performing well. Again, I think it's a combination of factors. Fear of crowds (both in preparation and reaction), untimely weather, delay of attractions, cutbacks to offerings, and a souring of parts of the fan base to recent movie offerings (Last Jedi especially).
    -Persistent rumors of even more price hiking and service charge changes (e.g., paid FPs).
    -The current construction boom necessitated by too many years of neglecting to fix issues.
    -The issues still present within the parks (Epcot now being the most obvious).
    -The cutback of extra hours and the advent of paid extra hours. And even fans of the extra charged events are complaining that crowding is a problem.
    -The micromanagement of worker hours leading to further cuts in services (shutting down parts or all of rides during fringe times, food locations with limited hours).

    What'd I miss?
     

    tlmadden73

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 9, 2014
    People are reporting crowds are low now, but are Septembers (after Labor Day anyway) ever truly busy?

    My last September trip was 2016 and it was pretty quiet then too. And not just Disney; SeaWorld/Busch Gardens/Aquatica/Discovery Cove also.
    Right .. I am curious what October will look like.

    Will it be the normal Halloween crowds or are people delaying their trips until after Rise now? They didnt offer Free Dining in October, so they must have had a big amount of rooms filled .. though they did have the Fall AP and normal room-only discounts.

    I think the after noon ticket was a telling sign of how Disney is worried about attendance this fall.

    At least they are looking at discounts now as a way to boost attendance and revenue rather than just more add-ons like the short-lived Tomorrowland Cabanas or the Express park-hopper bus.
     


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