Theme parks in Florida have been open for well over a month. But who is visiting them? And which garden is the most popular in the middle of the pandemic? A new report found that Universal Orlando Resort sees an “uplift in admissions.” But for Walt Disney World Resort, on the other hand, the theme parks aren’t bringing as many Guests in.
Orlando Sentinel reports that according to Deutsche research, analysts Bryan Kraft and Benjamin Soff, Disney theme parks worldwide are operating at 80% less than in 2019. Considering that capacity is significantly reduced at all Disney Parks that are currently open, it should be no surprise for Walt Disney World Resort, for example, to face low attendance. The report states that EPCOT and Disney’s Animal Kingdom are the best-performing parks for WDW.
Related: Aerial Photos Show How Empty Disney World Really Is
But by comparison, Universal Orlando Resort seems more successful during the current pandemic. On Saturdays, for example, attendance at Universal’s theme parks is improving, though attendance is still down 64% from 2019.
Even looking at aerial images, we can see a demand for Universal Orlando theme parks. Twitter user @bioreconstruct — known for sharing aerial photos of Florida’s parks –compared Guests driving into Universal Orlando, EPCOT, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Aerial comparison of guests entering parking of Universal Orlando, EPCOT, and Disney's Hollywood Studios today shortly before 11am. Photos several minutes apart. pic.twitter.com/gAigjGvOxe
— bioreconstruct (@bioreconstruct) August 15, 2020
It’s important to note that Universal Orlando opened its theme parks — Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure — on June 5. Over a month later, Disney World’s theme parks reopened with Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom on July 11 and EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios on July 15.
The report states that attendance at Universal Parks has improved since they reopened, and the decline in daily COVID-19 cases in Florida could also help Disney World improve attendance. “Given this ongoing improvement in Universal’s attendance and declining new daily COVID cases in Florida, we believe that Disney World will also soon see some benefit.”
Still, other surveys say people don’t want to visit theme parks.
Many even suspect that the lack of attendance at Walt Disney World is because most of the Guests who typically visit are not locals or Annual Passholders, and many people aren’t interested in traveling. Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek pointed out that WDW attendance is low. This has led many Disney fans to speculate that once Disneyland Resort reopens its southern California theme parks, there may be a higher demand, since many more locals and Annual Passholders visit Disneyland vs. Disney World. Only time will tell, however, as we won’t yet know how the California Disney Resort’s attendance will compare to that of Florida’s until later.
We continue to monitor the operations of Walt Disney World Resort and Disney Parks and Resorts worldwide. Disney World in Florida, Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disney Resort, and Shanghai Disney Resort are all open. Hong Kong Disneyland re-closed weeks ago, and the theme parks of the Disneyland Resort have remained temporarily closed since mid-March.