We recently reported that Florida’s currently dismal tourism numbers are impacting Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.
In that article, we shared this information from an Orlando Sentinel report:
Florida’s tourism industry suffered an estimated 60.5% drop in visitors as the coronavirus pandemic hit hard during the year’s second quarter, with international travel off more than 90%.
And the outlook remains dim for the state after the nearly 20 million visitor drop from April through June. The tourism industry must combat ongoing negative perceptions of Florida’s handling of COVID-19, international travel bans, people slow to return to entertainment venues and double-digit unemployment.
The decline of tourism and current Walt Disney Company pandemic restrictions led Walt Disney World to cancel many of its typical holiday celebrations, including Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, earlier this week.
According to an Orlando Business Journal report:
“It may not make financial sense to do those events,” David Heger, an analyst with Edward Jones, told OBJ. “They have to be realistic that COVID isn’t going anywhere between now and the holidays, and they have to think they will be running the same low capacities.”
This is likely to have a cyclical effect — as much as Disney World has been impacted by reduced Florida tourism, Florida tourism is almost certain to be negatively affected by Disney’s holiday event cancelations.
Orlando Business Journal shared details about how exactly Florida holiday season tourism is likely to be impacted by Disney World’s lack of traditional holiday celebrations this year:
The cancellations [sic] are a big loss for Orlando’s tourism industry. “You will have families hear this message [of Disney cancelling the holiday events], when they want the full buffet, and [they will] wait until next year or 2022 to come back,” Speigel [Dennis Speigel, founder and CEO of International Theme Park Services Inc.] said.
The exact attendance for these annual holiday events is unknown, but experts have said the theme parks drew thousands of visitors each day for their special evening events. That’s on top of thousands of visitors during the day, meaning area businesses will lose more potential revenue.
In addition to the impact these cancelations will have on Disney itself, small businesses throughout the Orlando and Kissimmee area will not receive the same influx of travelers that they normally do from Thanksgiving to New Year’s.
Among the cancelations at Disney World this year are EPCOT’s Candlelight Processional, the Magic Kingdom Christmas party featuring Mickey Mouse & Friends, and the Cinderella Castle Holiday Dream Lights.
It’s not all bad news.
While this sounds unfortunate, it isn’t all bad news for Disney Park fans. Disney World officials have announced that the Florida theme park resort will be decorated for the holiday season from November 6 – December 30.
Disney Parks Blog featured the following details about Christmas at Walt Disney World this year:
We know how much our guests love the holidays, so from Nov. 6-Dec. 30, they will be able to enjoy festive décor, themed merchandise, seasonal food & beverage offerings and entertainment all across Walt Disney World Resort. Holiday magic will be in full force at the four theme parks and Disney Springs, and Santa Claus will make time for special pop-up appearances at each location, waving and exclaiming holiday wishes to all.
People still love visiting Disney World.
Despite the ongoing pandemic and travel concerns for families who would normally be planning Disney Parks vacations, people still want to travel to Disney World.
Labor Day weekend crowds hit capacity at Disney Springs and the property’s four theme parks were all busier than they have been since Disney World’s phased reopening began in July.
No matter what holiday events are available at Disney World, there’s no doubt that out-of-town Disney fans and Disney World Annual Passholders will still book Park Pass reservations to experience Christmas magic like only Disney can provide it!
What does this mean for Disney financially?
Although we won’t know the true financial impact of the limited holiday season at Disney World until sometime in 2021, it is safe to say that the coronavirus pandemic will continue to hurt The Walt Disney Company’s theme park operations until an effective vaccine is available.
That said, Disney is looking ahead to the future and has recently joined the Let’s Go There Coalition to encourage travelers to book vacations at Disney properties and on Disney Cruise Line as soon as they are ready to experience the magic again.
How do you think Disney World’s holiday cancelations will impact Florida tourism this year?
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