Half of Walt Disney World Vacationers Cancelling Trips Due To Zika

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According to a recent survey, “about half” of the people surveyed who are planning trips to the Orlando area said they have canceled or decided not to visit Walt Disney World due to the threat of the Zika virus.

Bloomberg reports:

Zika cases in Florida may be causing vacationers to reconsider plans to visit resorts including Walt Disney Co. parks in Orlando, according to BTIG LLC analyst Rich Greenfield, who cited a survey of travelers.

About half of roughly 800 people planning trips to the area said they have canceled or decided not to visit Walt Disney World due to the threat of the virus, based on a 5,000-person survey earlier this month by CivicScience, a Pittsburgh-based consumer polling and research firm cited by Greenfield in a research note Thursday.

With growth at Disney’s ESPN network slowing and the company’s film studio and consumer unit facing tough comparisons, the company is relying on the parks to drive growth in fiscal 2017, wrote Greenfield, who has recommended selling the stock since December 2015.

As of last month, Disney had “not seen an impact from Zika,” Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger said on an Aug. 9 earnings conference call.

Disney, based in Burbank, California, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

While the survey suggests travelers have Zika fears, it’s not clear that will show up in Disney’s attendance numbers, Greenfield wrote.

“Given how meaningfully the cancellation/deferral rate appears to be, this is clearly a key question Disney should be pushing management to talk about,” he wrote.

Disney shares were little changed at $92.25 in New York. The stock is down 12 percent this year as of Wednesday.

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About the author

Jason Diffendal

Jason has been a lifelong fan of the Disney parks since his first visit at age 2. His biennial pilgrimages during his childhood accelerated into semi-annual visits by the year 2000, when he also Joined the Disney Vacation Club. Luckily, Jason’s bride-to-be was also a Disney fan, which allowed his infatuation with the Disney parks to continue, and ultimately culminated in their wedding at Disney's Wedding Pavilion in September 2003. Early in 2007, Jason began his involvement with the planning for what became Celebration 25, the unofficial fan gathering to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Epcot®. Soon thereafter, Jason met Tom Corless at a pin trading meet in New Jersey, and became part of the WDW News Today podcast starting with Episode 17. Jason has been involved with the WDWNT Network ever since, and can't seem to escape no matter how hard he tries.
Contact Jason at [email protected]


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  • Zika was inevitable and hopefully Disney crowds will thin and they will bump up their game. Until Disney Parks Florida Chris out a better experience for our family, we’ll do better to just enjoy their movies at home. As little as they put in parks the last 8-10 years, I think that’s what corporate Disney really wants.

    • What were you looking for them to do to “Chris out a better experience” for your family? Disney just spent a fortune on MagicBand technology, completely changing the vacationing experience. They’re overhauling four major areas (Disney Springs, Avatar, Star Wars and Toy Story). In the last 10 years, they’ve added over 100 attractions between rides, shows and restaurants. I don’t get it.

      • I agree Ryan. With the expansions coming to both DHS and AK, not to mention what they have done at Downtown Disn…errr, Disney Springs…I cannot see why so many people are constantly whining that Disney isn’t “Chrising out a better experience” (whatever that means). In truth, what you are really dealing with are Universal trolls (they have mosquitoes there too btw), and malcontents that are upset because some ride or area that they liked as a kid got closed to make room for new things. Disney will never please everyone…and that is a good thing. The more of these malcontents that stay away from the parks, the less people to deal with in the lines.

      • 100 new attractions between rides, shows and restaurants in the last 10 years? We maybe if you include merchandise carts, DVC kiosks, retails stores and a parking garage. New attractions have been far and few between. Maybe you are counting hard ticket events at every turn to empty your wallet. If Universal wasn’t kicking their butt with taking Orlando tourist market share, they would be only adding a new coat of paint to the parks. Oh wait, that is what they are doing in now in Tomorrowland. With all that said, I’m still a DVC member and will be returning soon. My first visit? 1972.

        • 100? You must be on drugs or paid to say that. The entire property has cut back enormously with emphasis on guests gone. Just efficiency. Sales per inch per person. The place is andirtynunkoeptnmess
          And out last visit cast
          Member called someone’s near us an ass hold for wanting to use fast pass. That is the new Disney. Partially open. Half cleaned.

    • Thank you Disney marketing team. The Alligators are harmless too, right? Dummies. I wouldn’t risk it if child bearing age. Disney theme parks kinda have really declined for a few years too. No care for customers and really low value for the cost anymore. Rather go to Europe or something for less money. Icing on the cake for our family to cancel.

      • Derek, I see you are Disney’s No.1 Fan. You were bashing the Epcot food and wine festival also, and I’m sure you will bash them at every opportunity that you get.

        • MUCH bigger fan than most here, yourself included. If you think Disney is on point and perfect and hasn’t cut to the bone….You must work for them or don’t give a damn about their “product”. Sites
          Such as this are one of few good ones that give all sides. If you don’t like it. Piss off!

          • He doesn’t come across as a know it all. There’s room for
            Differences of opinion. I happen to see both sides. Disney is great and all, but hard to disagree with some of his points or say he’s not a fan. I’m sure many will be cancelling trips. Our family is. Pregnant wife!

  • ok the guy who talking “survey” has had hit pieces on Disney for the last 2 years he advises his clients to short the stock so its in his interest for the stock price to fall. he also came out after the force awakens opened and tried to tell everyone it would be a bomb. people see the word Bloomberg and think its fact when its just middle of the road analyst who goes on tv and talks his book to try and sway the market. this is not real news and should not be taken as fact what so ever…..i just did a survey and 100% of the people said they don’t care about ZIKA do you believe me? probably not!!!!! unless you know exactly how this survey was done don’t trust it.

  • Unless you are planning to have or are already pregnant Zika affects you like the flu. A very mild flu at its worst. Zika has been around for almost 60 years and has not been a problem until Monsanto started to use the pesticides in poor uneducated areas.

    • Planning or already pregnant describes half Disney. And you miss makes getting it and passing it on. Disney and Fl tourism is gonna be fuc*ed by Zika, whether you are a conspiracy theorist or not on this survey.

      And I agree with Derek above. Disney has gotten sloppy.

    • I’d say at least half. Doesn’t surprise me. We dont go as often cuz kids don’t like it as much anymore. I’m the only Disney fan. Yet agree their product not what it was a few years ago.

  • LOL, yeah right. I’d say in the neighborhood of maybe 5-10% is likely. We’ll be there in a month and it’ll be slammed for the Columbus Day holiday and Halloween party. I can guarantee it.

  • I’d really like to know how someone outside of Disney was able to contact people planning on visiting Disney without having access to guest reservations? I’m assuming this was a flawed online survey where people self identified theyselves as planning on going to Disney. The method is flawed without having a true guest reservation to survey against. I don’t doubt there’s a percentage of people that will cancel but half is a ridiculously number. There’s still not 100% definitive proof that it’s Zika causing any birth defects. Reguardless, if your pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant you should avoid exposure if at all possible. However, crazy surveys like the one that was reported by Bloomberg is completely flawed and is poor and irresposible reporting on Bloombergs part.

  • I wish it would cut it by half and Disney would up their game. They don’t have to I guess with so many dumb Americans returning on legacy memories back when Disney was both into making money and showing a good experience. Our family is cancelling our plans…why take risk..and parks have become sales and promo centre only. Disney has become an enjoyable experience for those who find American airline economy food gourmet and airport TSA line experience ‘fun’…actually the American Airlines try harder to please now. We wish it different, we are tremendous Disney fans, but Disney is movies now. Or their parks outside US are Ok. Our money goes to buying stuff and movies but skipping Florida parks. There is NO WAY the parks wind be impacted,but just as much by their “cattle Hearding” mentality and charging huge prices for worsening quality. Clearly some posts here by people who work for Disney. The 100 new attractions made me laugh.

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