Lake Buena Vista, FL - August 7, 2019
By: William Guerro Sr
The Walt Disney Company's CEO Bob Iger in yesterdays call on the Company's 3Q earnings, reported that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge may have caused lower than normal crowds this summer at it's Disneyland and Disney World parks. While many have speculated Galaxy’s Edge scared people away from the parks, hearing it from the Disney CEO indicates it is a significant issue.
At Disneyland, California and Walt Disney World, Florida, park attendance was down by 3%. Iger said this was due to Annual Passholder block-outs at Disneyland, and that paid attendance was actually up.
At Disneyland, Iger said the May opening of Galaxy’s Edge caused Disney and nearby hotels to raise rates in anticipation of large crowds. When the crowds did not appear due to consumer expectations of overcrowding, Disneyland was left with lower-than-normal attendance numbers.
During the initial opening Disney blocked Cast Members and Annual Passholders to try to control the number of people visiting Disneyland Park. Also, Disney announced Rise of the Resistance would not open with the rest of the land, keeping many Annual Passholders who might’ve bought a one-day tickets, from coming. It was suggested that many of these same guests are waiting for the Disney World version to open in December and January for Disneyland, potentially offering strong numbers in the next quarter.
At Walt Disney World, Iger and other Disney executives feel that the late August opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge made many guests defer their summer vacations until the land opened. With two major attractions in Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, opening in early 2020. These factors may have caused a large number of guests to defer their vacations into late 2019 and even 2020.