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  • News Disney World reports flat attendance and tries to conceal it.

    Disney said its Orlando theme-park attendance was "within a percentage point" of last year's total during the company's fiscal fourth quarter, after adjusting for the effect of an accounting quirk that left this year's fourth quarter with one less week than last year's.

    The grudging disclosure came only after inquiries from the Orlando Sentinel about why the Walt Disney Co. did not report Disney World's attendance during a Nov. 11 conference call to discuss the company's quarterly earnings or in its year-end financial report, filed late Wednesday with federal regulators. In both instances, Disney reported year-over-year changes in attendance only for its two U.S. theme-park resorts combined.

    It was the first quarter in at least five years that Disney had not disclosed separate attendance trends for Disney World in Central Florida and Disneyland in Southern California.
    Disney World attendance: Disney said Friday that Walt Disney World attendance was essentially unchanged during the company's fiscal fourth quarter. - OrlandoSentinel.com

    So while Universal Orlando experienced a 36% increase, WDW stayed flat, and saw hotel occupancy go down... Interesting, very interesting.
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  • #2
    Re: Disney World reports flat attendance and tries to conceal it.

    Wow...that's rather embarrasing.

    I know it's been argued over and over again that the Fantasyland Expansion is not meant to compete with WWOHP at Universal, but let's face it guys, Disney could seriously use any help they can get right now.

    With the last new attraction added to the entire resort being TSMM in 08 and the Fantasyland Expansion (with only one ride officially confirmed, another still pending) not to be completed till 2012 at the earliest, TDO is going to have a rough couple of years ahead of them. They really screwed themselves over by not doing something to compete with WWOHP and put too much focus into their non-attraction properties instead.

    They got lots of Meet and Greets planned but only having one or two new attractions to add to an already full day park in the next 3-4 years is rather sad. It's time for TDO to get serious and step up their game here or else they're going to get hit hard financially in the next decade.

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    • #3
      Re: Disney World reports flat attendance and tries to conceal it.

      I wouldn't freak too much - it's not bad news, it just isn't good news. Of course they're going to soft-pedal it.

      Those quarterly earnings conference calls and reports are not for you and me, they are aimed at big institutional investors that insist on a profit growth every year, period, or they take their money elsewhere. Disney made no new investments, so no corresponding gain in income.

      Disney does need to get off their duffs and change that trend, but it takes a great idea for a new attraction or two, and a good-sized hunk of capital investment and a year or two's time to bring it to fruition. If they can hold the current attendance levels steady or make a small year-to-year positive growth in the process, that's still news.

      The Hotel occupancy level situation is a different story and has far more to do with the economy - People might still be vacationing, but when they do they're squeezing their travel dollars till they scream.

      I'll bet if you get the raw numbers the Disney 'Value Level' Resorts are holding steady or showing a slight gain, and the Luxury Resorts are the ones that took a huge hit and dragged the numbers down.

      (The numbers would be saying to me "Open all the rooms you can at the Value Resorts and offer more AP and Affinity Group Discounts to get the occupancies up, make it more attractive to stay "on property" than going off-site - and partially mothball the empty wings at the Luxury Resort offerings to cut expenses.)

      And the Off-site hotels on International Drive and further out (that Disney doesn't benefit from) that are holding the line on prices are probably still doing okay, and the Four-Star off-sites are going to be hurting too. Same reasoning.

      --<< Bruce >>--
      There's No Place Like 127.0.0.1

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      • #4
        Re: Disney World reports flat attendance and tries to conceal it.

        Originally posted by Bruce Bergman View Post
        And the Off-site hotels on International Drive and further out (that Disney doesn't benefit from) that are holding the line on prices are probably still doing okay, and the Four-Star off-sites are going to be hurting too. Same reasoning.

        --<< Bruce >>--
        Actually off site luxury hotels here in Orlando are doing well and are up over 10% in Occupancy levels.

        So non-disney are seeing booms in relation to conventions, and the huge uptick in demand at the Universal Resort. I posted the Orlando Business Journal article on this a few days ago.
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        • #5
          Re: Disney World reports flat attendance and tries to conceal it.

          harry potter park is kicking butt lol.

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          • #6
            Re: Disney World reports flat attendance and tries to conceal it.

            Let's not give Universal Orlando all the praise from this story. That means that Disneyland has been doing really well for itself too ;PPP

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            • #7
              Re: Disney World reports flat attendance and tries to conceal it.

              Originally posted by almandot View Post
              Let's not give Universal Orlando all the praise from this story. That means that Disneyland has been doing really well for itself too ;PPP
              You are 100% correct, but this is the WDW forum, and I personally care about Central Florida.
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              • #8
                Re: Disney World reports flat attendance and tries to conceal it.

                Makes sense I don't see any reason to fly from CA to WDW again (went there 3 years ago) what has Disney added to make it a must go resort? Good to hear Universal is getting into the theme park game (after how many years, lol)
                Hope Disney does not just make excuses but works on all there parks to make them better and get a new show and a BIG E ticket ride in another park and of course make sure the Fantasyland expansion is not just a bunch of meet and greets. This could be a good thing in the long run, might push TDO to spend some money and make the parks better.
                Happy Halloween!!!

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                • #9
                  Re: Disney World reports flat attendance and tries to conceal it.

                  Star Tours II will give WDW (or at least DHS) a boost when it opens this summer, but surely nothing comparable to the 36% increase that Universal recently enjoyed (and how ridiculous that TDO initially wanted to keep the original Star Tours!). Hopefully the current numbers will light a fire under the notoriously complacent TDO, and convince them that they have to be pro-active and more aggressive in developing their four parks. This isn't like the old days, guys; you have serious competition these days!

                  Personally, I thought that the hordes descending on WWOHP would also give WDW an attendance boost, so I was surprised by these numbers. What it means is that some tourists visited Orlando solely or mostly for Universal and Potter, and that people are devoting a larger portion of their trips to Disney's cross-town rivals.
                  Last edited by disneyfann121; 11-28-2010, 05:43 AM.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Disney World reports flat attendance and tries to conceal it.

                    Originally posted by disneyfann121 View Post
                    Personally, I thought that the hordes descending on WWOHP would also give WDW an attendance boost, so I was surprised by these numbers. What it means is that some tourists visited Orlando solely or mostly for Universal and Potter, and that people are devoting a larger portion of their trips to Disney's cross-town rivals.
                    This was the common thought. The interesting thing is that in my conversations with tourists from overseas (playing a much larger role in Orlando now days) is that those who go to UO first LOVE it, and then go to WDW find WDW dated. Which breaks my heart, but the truth hurts.
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                    • #11
                      Re: Disney World reports flat attendance and tries to conceal it.

                      Actually when I went to WWHOP I found it made the rest of the park look like garbage and the rest of the guests avoided all other areas of Universal like the plague. Harry Potter has a great ride, but it's just too small for it to be more than a few hour event. In the end I think Universal created something great, but it also hurt themself in my opinion because nothing else they have measures up.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Disney World reports flat attendance and tries to conceal it.

                        Keep it up Universal!
                        "The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing" -Walt Disney

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                        • #13
                          Re: Disney World reports flat attendance and tries to conceal it.

                          Originally posted by SeeJackRunn View Post
                          Actually when I went to WWHOP I found it made the rest of the park look like garbage and the rest of the guests avoided all other areas of Universal like the plague. Harry Potter has a great ride, but it's just too small for it to be more than a few hour event. In the end I think Universal created something great, but it also hurt themself in my opinion because nothing else they have measures up.
                          That is a interesting opinion SeeJackRunn, one that I have only heard on this message board. Question to you, how does customer service compare to you UO vs WDW. Personally I have much BETTER customer service at UO vs WDW
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                          • #14
                            Re: Disney World reports flat attendance and tries to conceal it.

                            Originally posted by almandot View Post
                            Let's not give Universal Orlando all the praise from this story. That means that Disneyland has been doing really well for itself too ;PPP
                            Disneyland is always going to make a profit regardless of how they do. A park in an urbanized area like that will always have people coming to visit as long as Disney keeps up with the high quality maintenance and service. Plus got lucky with the timing of the DCA billion dollar expansion, everything there is making slow but sure progress to such a degree that there's a new attraction of major show opening once a year (this year it's WOC) and the icing on the cake (Carsland) will be done before MK's Fantasyland Expansion most likely.

                            WDW has a bigger challenge as they're a very tourist dependent destination and flagging during an economic slump is the last thing that's gonna help them. I'm starting to think that Disney Vacation Club is a pressure tactic to help bring repeated guests back which is why they're building so many at WDW.

                            Originally posted by disneyfann121 View Post
                            Star Tours II will give WDW (or at least DHS) a boost when it opens this summer, but surely nothing comparable to the 36% increase that Universal recently enjoyed (and how ridiculous that TDO initially wanted to keep the original Star Tours!). Hopefully the current numbers will light a fire under the notoriously complacent TDO, and convince them that they have to be pro-active and more aggressive in developing their four parks. This isn't like the old days, guys; you have serious competition these days!

                            Personally, I thought that the hordes descending on WWOHP would also give WDW an attendance boost, so I was surprised by these numbers. What it means is that some tourists visited Orlando solely or mostly for Universal and Potter, and that people are devoting a larger portion of their trips to Disney's cross-town rivals.
                            Originally posted by KingEric View Post
                            This was the common thought. The interesting thing is that in my conversations with tourists from overseas (playing a much larger role in Orlando now days) is that those who go to UO first LOVE it, and then go to WDW find WDW dated. Which breaks my heart, but the truth hurts.
                            Looks like the higher ups have put too much confidence into the Disney name being enough for people to go there. Universal has impressive deals on their hotels and the perks of staying in them so I cant say I blame either side. There was no way to predict what effect Harry Potter at Universal would have on Disney until the numbers started coming out.

                            Originally posted by SeeJackRunn View Post
                            Actually when I went to WWHOP I found it made the rest of the park look like garbage and the rest of the guests avoided all other areas of Universal like the plague. Harry Potter has a great ride, but it's just too small for it to be more than a few hour event. In the end I think Universal created something great, but it also hurt themself in my opinion because nothing else they have measures up.
                            I think a lot of the 36% increase can be attributed to complete newcomers to Universal Parks who've never even considered Universal for a destination until Harry Potter came along. There's definitly something to be said for a brand new land keeping all the other near decade old lands in check.

                            I dont see the increase going up by much but I can see either a steady level or a slow (not affective) drop in the years ahead. Universal may have it easy for now. Let's hope Harry Potter keeps them inspired and on their toes to be serious Disney competition.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Disney World reports flat attendance and tries to conceal it.

                              If one wants to sell more, one has to offer more to sell.
                              People pay to ride. But even a small world becomes a boring world after a while.
                              Last edited by TimmyTimmyTimmy; 11-28-2010, 09:48 AM.

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                              • #16
                                Re: Disney World reports flat attendance and tries to conceal it.

                                Originally posted by KingEric View Post
                                So while Universal Orlando experienced a 36% increase...
                                When you compare to the basement - most gains do look great 2009 saw double digit drops compared to 2008 while WDW was able to discount it's way around most of that UO suffered through in 2009. YoY results for UO are going to look great when you compared to the rut they were in (in all metrics, debt, profit, and attendance) in 2009.

                                Harry Potter is great for UO no doubt - especially on the profitability side - but keep perspective on the numbers companies like to boast about in PR
                                Check out my blog - Coreplex: Rambling from inside the Grid


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                                Am I evil? I am man, yes, I am

                                Originally posted by sleepyjeff
                                Disneyland was meant to be sipped not chug-a-lugged

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                                • #17
                                  Re: Disney World reports flat attendance and tries to conceal it.

                                  Originally posted by KingEric View Post
                                  That is a interesting opinion SeeJackRunn, one that I have only heard on this message board. Question to you, how does customer service compare to you UO vs WDW. Personally I have much BETTER customer service at UO vs WDW
                                  Interesting you ask that. I'd have to say my customer service experience has been better with Disney but that's based on two bad experiences I have had on-site at Universal. I know that they are owned by Loews, but it still represents the Universal brand. The first, when I stayed at PBH, they put a hold on my entire credit card and could only use it on-site without me knowing. Imagine my embarrassment when we traveled off-site. I returned to PBH in October, and had originally booked 4 nights with my AP rate. Plans changed and we decide to spend a few nights at Disney, so when I called to change my reservation to just 2 nights (two nights that I had already reserved and paid for), they would not let me do it. I had to call and argue with quite a few people to let me make those changes. We ended up having a great time and enjoyed WWHOP and HHN, but I think I may be done with staying at their hotels.

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                                  • #18
                                    Re: Disney World reports flat attendance and tries to conceal it.

                                    It's true that you shouldn't read *too* much into one year's numbers. USO has done exceptionally well compared to last year, but 2009 was a year of record low attendance coming at the tail end of a steady, decade-long decline.

                                    To put things into perspective, combined attendance at the 2 Universal parks in 2000 was just over 14 million. Combined attendance in 2009 was a tad over 10 mil. Even if attendance increased for the year by 36% (and it won't because Universal was still registering losses in the months before Potter debuted) that still wouldn't be enough to match attendance levels from 10 years ago.

                                    OTOH, WDW saw record high attendance levels in 2009. Even without Potter one wouldn't expect them maintain their attendance levels with no new attractions and fewer discounts.

                                    Overall DLR's results seem to be the most impressive because the attendance gains are coming on top of record crowds from the previous year. After Carsland debuts the crowds will be approaching Tokyo levels!
                                    Last edited by sheetz; 11-28-2010, 08:45 PM.

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                                    • #19
                                      Re: Disney World reports flat attendance and tries to conceal it.

                                      I think it is great news that UO actually is willing to spend some money investing in new technology and trying to improve. WWHOP has quality and great planning all around it. Hopefully, it will lead to them investing more money into the resort.

                                      International Drive is big winner right now also, if you stay on Intl Dr hotels you are near to UO and Sea World. The outlet malls at both ends of Intl Dr are always packed. If they open the Orlando Thrill Ride Park, that will take more business away to the area.

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                                      • #20
                                        Re: Disney World reports flat attendance and tries to conceal it.

                                        Originally posted by sheetz View Post
                                        Overall DLR's results seem to be the most impressive because the attendance gains are coming on top of record crowds from the previous year. After Carsland debuts the crowds will be approaching Tokyo levels!
                                        DL's attendance boost is no big deal, considering that they bribe people to pack the parks by offering ludicrously cheap APs with a monthly payment plan. They've turned that park into a weekly hangout, like going to the mall. Not a good trend, and any idiot could do it.

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