Though Disney Had Large Labor Day Crowds Expect A Tough Fall Ahead
If you’ve been following along with MickeyBlog then you know that over Labor Day weekend we shared images and wait times from Walt Disney World showing that the crowds were definitely on the up during the holiday weekend. However, a recent report from Forbes reminds us that there are still trying times ahead for the theme park giant.
Let’s start with the positives, Walt Disney World reached capacity limits on Saturday as did Downtown Disney in Disneyland Resort. It should be noted that the West Coast theme parks STILL remain closed!
Though Disney has yet to release any official figures regarding weekend attendance, according to Forbes, Disney Exec George Kalogridis did say that the company was reopening at 20 – 30% of its total capacity. So the crowd levels were definitely much lower than in years past.
The Labor Day crowds is a bit of a silver lining against more bleak news last week that SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa will be letting a sizeable amount of employees go amidst a 96% drop in attendance. Universal has also reduced park hours, closed a couple hotels and will also be letting about 1,200 workers go. Over at Disney World, Halloween and Christmas celebrations have been cancelled and there are still many Disney cast members that have been out of work since April.
As we previously announced here at MickeyBlog, Disney World theme park has reduced their theme park operating hours post Labor Day weekend and have rolled out new ticket and room discounts. Disney World’s new hours of operation are as follows:
- Magic Kingdom: 9am – 6pm
- EPCOT: 11am – 7pm
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios: 10 am – 7pm
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom:9am – 5pm
With the holiday weekend behind us, the theme parks will reportedly continue to be about 80% down throughout the Autumn. This is high compared to Universals 64%. This is according to figures compiled by Deutsche Bank. In addition, STR released statistics on hotel occupancy in Orlando which currently sits at only 27.2% This makes it one of the lowest rates of ANY market in the country.
Consumer confidence has been slow to return in a COVID-19 world. Walt Disney Company made a controversial decision to reopen the parks in July as coronavirus cases started to surge in Florida. During his last earnings call, CEO Bob Chapek said that August crowd levels had been lower than anticipated with more cancellations than the company had predicted. According to Forbes, the Disney parks division has seen over $2 billion in losses in its third quarter.
That brings us to Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Both theme parks making up Disneyland Resort have remained closed as per restrictions by the state government. However, Downtown Disney, the resorts downtown shopping district has reopened with outdoor dining and has hit capacity several times since businesses have returned. There is no indication as of yet as to when we might see business reopen though Governor Gavin Newsom has said that the state was making gradual progress toward reopening.
Though cases in Florida are on the decline, the past few days have seen at least 3,000 new residents test positive for COVID-19. Disney is banking on the fact that attendance will go up as COVID cases go down. CFO Christine McCarthy said in a recent earnings call, “We expect demand will grow when the COVID situation in Florida improves.”
This is a story that we here at MickeyBlog will continue to follow closely. Readers are encouraged to keep check in with us for further news and updates!
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