Disney Slashing Prices Amid Reports of Empty Parks
The new promotions apply to both Walt Disney World and Disneyland.
Over the summer, guests were reporting eerily empty Disney parks, posting photos of thin crowds and shockingly short wait times at Walt Disney World in particular. Other visitors said the theme park was "far from a ghost town" during the warmer months, but it appears that Disney is keyed in to the fact that the numbers aren't where they want them to be. With that in mind, the company is slashing ticket prices at Disney parks—meaning you might want to cash in soon to save on your next vacation. Read on to find out more about the new promotion.
Disney's CEO previously weighed in on park performance.
While the COVID-19 pandemic brought the travel industry to a screeching halt, in the aftermath, amusement parks like Disneyland and Disney World saw a nice boost as people yearned to get out of the house and explore. This was especially true for those in Florida, as the state opened up to visitors earlier than other parts of the U.S. But now, foot traffic is slowing down.
Responding to questions about lagging attendance, Disney CEO Bob Iger said that it's unfair to compare numbers from previous years (when travel was booming) to lower numbers in 2023. In an appearance on CNBC's Squawk Box in July, he also refuted claims that a drop in attendance was related to ticket pricing or a feud between Disney and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, adding that Disney World is "very successful."
However, during a third-quarter earnings conference call in August, Iger conceded that Disney World saw "softer performance," noting that "post-COVID pent-up demand continues to level off in Florida" and "local tax data shows evidence of some softening in several major Florida tourism markets."
Still, Iger has stressed that Disney isn't concerned about "a significant decline over time" at Disney World, and the company didn't have "long-term concerns" about parks. With price cuts, however, Disney may be trying to pick things up in the short term.
There are separate promotions for Disneyland and Disney World
In an apparent effort to drive sales, Disney is kicking off a new promotion this fall, slashing prices for children's tickets (valid for those between the ages of three and nine), CNBC reported.
For tickets to Disneyland in Anaheim, California, parents can expect to pay as little as $50, and use them any time between Jan. 8, and March 10, 2024. The deal starts Oct. 24.
For Disney World, children's tickets and dining plans will be half off when you buy a four-day, four-night vacation package to one of the park's resorts. This deal starts a bit later, on Nov. 14, but can be used between March 3, and June 30, 2024, per CNBC.
Other amusement parks are feeling the pressure, too.
CNBC reports that Disney parks have seen a slowdown in attendance and hotel room occupancy amid ongoing inflation. But Disney World isn't alone in feeling the effects.
According to CNBC, Universal Studios, as well as other parks in the region like SeaWorld Orlando and Six Flags (in Austell, Georgia) have also reported lower attendance rates. When it comes to declining theme park attendance, travel agents suggest that the higher ticket prices do play a role, as well as people taking more trips to Europe.
Things may not be as rough as they seem for Disney parks.
While the summer may have appeared to be a struggle, Disney's parks division did fare well in the third quarter, with revenue up 13 percent, CNBC reported in August. However, that includes international parks, where performance was stronger than at domestic parks.
Price changes and promotions aren't necessarily out of the ordinary, either. Earlier in 2023, the company lowered prices and adjusted policies for U.S. parks. Adjustments were made following complaints about both ticket costs and longer wait times, CNBC reported.