Jul 13, 2023
Though Disney World theme parks constantly update their rides and experiences, some are iconic: taking pictures with Mickey and Minnie. Eating Dole Whip ice cream cones. Riding “It’s a Small World.”
Standing in long lines.
This summer, however, many have noticed that lines seem shorter and crowds thinner. This is not good news for the House of Mouse.
“I couldn’t believe how light the crowds were,” Jaime Brown told the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) about a recent visit. She is a Disney parks annual pass holder.
Touring Plans is a company that measures how long you have to wait for rides at big theme parks. It says that shorter lines mean that fewer people are visiting the four main Disney World parks. These are Epcot, The Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. The July 4th holiday weekend is usually when lots of people visit Disney. This year the average wait to enter the Magic Kingdom was only 27 minutes. This is much shorter than the 49-minute average wait in 2019.
The parks bring in a lot of money for the Walt Disney Company, so low attendance is a big deal for them. Experts say there isn't just one reason why fewer people are visiting. Higher prices for tickets (a two-day ticket for one adult is $285), hotter weather, and a legal fight with Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis may all be reasons why people are not as interested. This is happening even as more people are starting to travel again after the pandemic.
Greg Antonelle co-owns the MickeyTravels agency. He told the WSJ that people seem to be more interested in cruises and trips to Europe than going to Disney.
Photo by Kaleb Tapp courtesy of Unsplash.
Reflect: Think about your experiences visiting amusement parks or popular attractions. What are some things that can make a visit enjoyable or less enjoyable for you?
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