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Major Decline Seen at Disney World, Fans Ponder Future

spaceship earth
Credit: Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World Resort opened in 1971 and has become one of the most iconic and beloved entertainment destinations worldwide. Disney World is home to four theme parks, two water parks, numerous hotels, and entertainment venues, captivating millions of guests each year with its enchanting atmosphere and immersive experiences.

crowds walt disney world magic kingdom florida cinderella castle

Credit: Disney

From the moment guests step foot onto Main Street, U.S.A., in the Magic Kingdom, they are transported into a realm of fantasy and wonder. Each park within Disney World offers its own unique lands, attractions and much more. Guests can spot the futuristic landscapes of EPCOT, the wild adventures of Disney’s Animal Kingdom and the movie magic of Disney’s Hollywood Studios provide endless entertainment and excitement for guests of all ages.

However, from time to time, while Walt Disney World Resort is a popular tourist location, they see a decline in guests heading to Disney World. The earnings for the first quarter of 2024 reveal a mixed picture for Disney parks, with domestic revenue totaling $6.3 billion, reflecting a 7% increase from the previous quarter.

bob iger and Disney

Credit: Disney

While Disney is still in the business of making money, one thing they have noticed about guest decline is a decrease in the number of guests visiting and lodging at Walt Disney World Resort compared to the same period last year, which coincided with the resort’s 50th Anniversary celebration.

Another reason for seeing a decline is that inflationary pressures have led to higher operational costs, impacting the overall financial performance of Walt Disney World. This includes increased expenses related to staffing, maintenance, and other operational aspects necessary for maintaining the park’s high standards.

Disney-money

Credit: Disney, Canva

Due to the decline of guests at Disney parks, some of the changes made by the company may have dampened the appeal of a Disney vacation. With rising Disney World ticket prices, the introduction of variable pricing structures like Disney Genie+, and increased costs for food and merchandise have led some guests to reconsider the value proposition of visiting Walt Disney World.

The Walt Disney Company may need to explore various strategies to address this trend, such as adjusting pricing models, enhancing guest experiences, or launching targeted marketing campaigns to reinvigorate interest in visiting the iconic resort.

Do you think the guests’ decline is due to Disney World’s prices now?

About Brittni Ward

Brittni is a Disney and Universal fan; one of her favorite things at both parks is collecting popcorn buckets. While at Disney World Resort, Brittni meets the princesses and rides Kilimanjaro Safaris. At Universal, Brittni enjoys the Minions and watching Animal Actors on Location! When not at Disney World Resort or Universal Orlando, Brittni spends time with her family and pets.

5 comments

  1. Between the breaking down of rides and unruly guests, we find it hard to travel to Disney World for a fun, relaxing vacation.

  2. The magical express missing and lines to get on rides are for sure a deterrent to planning a vac there. It was nice when they use to have tickets for people to get right at the ride with a time to return. Too much planning now. Dinner and hotel are fine for reservations but that’s it. We like to relax on vacation. Not having to worry about how to get to Disney from the airport or be at a certain park at a certain time for a certain ride. Easing up on a pre planned vacation would be more relaxing. Thanks

  3. It is a number of things. All the things Disney has taken away; Magical Express, extra magic hours, free magic bands etc AND all of the extras they want us now to pay for such as Lightning Lane, Genie+, magic band+, transportation to the resorts, the after hour parties…taking away and adding items that cost have made us choose to vacation elsewhere and now that the Disney Resorts have zero extra perks, why stay on property? So many resorts that are not Disney owned offer the same perks as the Disney resorts, if not more at much much better rates.

  4. Between the much higher prices, the guests behaving badly, the much longer lines even while paying to skip them, and part of the population convinced the company is ‘too woke’ people are choosing to vacation with their kids elsewhere. My friend who introduced me to WDW and would NEVER consider staying anywhere else, has gone with her kids the last two times and rented an Air BNB. Having to pay for transportation to and from the resort, it just made sense for them to stay offsite. I retired a bit early from my Retail management job because people were just getting to mean, rude and violent. I see the same in the parks and it takes the ‘shine’ off my vacation. I normally go every year with no plans to go this year, or maybe next.

  5. I am a DVC member and for years was an annual pass member so, I’ve been very fortunate to have been to Disney over 100 times since 1992. However, each trip in the last few years has become outrageously expensive. When you consider the price hikes for the room, the passes, dining, etc. it’s just not practical anymore to spend that kind of money for a week. I don’t like the genie plus and the lightning lanes at all. I’m retired now and prefer a much slower pace. I don’t run from attraction to attraction anymore. Having to pay for rides after having already purchasing the park ticket is not appealing but sometimes necessary if you don’t want to stand in 90° heat or want any chance of riding the new rides at all. I preferred the fast pass system. Also, for us retired folks, there aren’t enough benches to sit down and take a break. I was going through cancer treatments a few years ago and had to go find a place to sit down. There were none available. I ended up leaving the park at 11 AM that day and never went back. I know that’s minor in the big picture. I’m sure Disney’s goal is to not have benches because they want you to go browse their air-conditioned stores. Sometimes a bench is all you need to take a five minute break. Disney used to be a fun place to go to but now I think about the money end of things with every trip. I still love Disney but my trips are getting fewer and fewer. I don’t see one in 2024 at all and that’ll be a first in many many years. Disney is making the cost for an average family prohibitive. Perhaps that’s their goal and if so, that’s unfortunate because they got where they are because of the average family..

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