Disney World attendance drops, Bob Iger blames Florida’s lax COVID restrictions!
Since 2019, wait times for attractions at the Magic Kingdom, Disney’s most-visited park, have significantly decreased. Average wait times dropped from 47 minutes per ride in 2019 to 31 minutes in 2022, according to recent reports. In 2023, the figure decreased again to 27 minutes.
Disney World in Orlando is suffering – here it is nearly mid-July, schools are out, families are on vacation, and the streets at Disney are just about empty! pic.twitter.com/y0wf0ZvB4Z
— Old Spook 👻 (@maxheadroom470) July 8, 2023
Disney CEO Bob Iger is pushing back on reports of worrisome drops in Disney World attendance. On a Wednesday televised CNBC interview, Iger revealed that foot traffic is down because of difficult comparisons with 2020 when Florida’s lax COVID restrictions caused an unusual boom at the theme park.
“Florida opened up early during COVID, and it created a huge demand. It didn’t have competition because there were a number of other places — states — that were not open yet,” said Iger. “We see no sign of [Disney’s warring lawsuits with Gov. Ron Desantis] at all.”
NBC interviewer David Faber asked if the company’s lawsuits with Desantis could be impacting attendance. To which Iger responded with a firm “No…there’s much more competition today…I’m not at all concerned” that attendance would continue to drop and affect business over time.
As well as citing competition from other states, Iger also noted that Central Florida’s high temperatures in the summer usually take their toll. Indeed, visitor Jaime Brown, an Orlando-based annual pass holder, commented on her surprise at how “light the crowds were” during the week of July 4.
Disney World hit a ten year low in July 4th guests & company is now discounting Christmas hotel rooms as attendance collapses at parks. Combine this with ESPN disaster & movies losing money like crazy & it’s now clear Disney is getting Bud Light’d. https://t.co/mavIdOVqAU
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) July 10, 2023
Although the current figures are a far cry from the ones reported in 2019, Disney has still seen an impressive financial return. The company reported a staggering $28.7 billion in revenue and $7.9 billion in profit for the Fiscal Year 2022 — even surpassing its pre-pandemic performance.
Despite the income upswing, ticket prices for the Magic Kingdom have surged. One-day passes are now anywhere between $124 and $189 dollars depending on date and demand. Additionally, three of Disney’s annual passes have increased, with the Incredi-Pass increasing to $1,399 from $1,299 and the Sorcerer Pass going from $899 to $969. The Pirate Pass is now $749, up from $699, while the Pixie Pass remains at $399.
In the immediate future, the fate of Disney World’s attendance remains uncertain. Although Iger remains confident in the park’s long-term prospects, with more states allowing their own theme parks to open, the competition is sure to be tough.