Disney Admits to Lower Than Usual Crowds at Disneyland Due to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

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Bob Iger pointed out in today’s earnings call that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge may have caused lower than normal crowds this summer at domestic parks. While many speculated Galaxy’s Edge scared people away from the parks, hearing it from the Disney CEO indicates it is a significant issue.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios during Cast Member previews.

At the domestic Disney Parks, Disneyland, and Walt Disney World, park attendance was down by 3%. Disney said this was due to Annual Passholder block-outs at Disneyland, and that paid attendance was actually up. In fact, Iger reiterated that there was no “pricing issue” at any of the domestic parks.

At Disneyland, Iger said the May opening of Galaxy’s Edge caused Disney and nearby hotels to raise rates in anticipation of large crowds. When the crowds did not appear due to consumer expectations of overcrowding, Disneyland was left with lower-than-normal attendance numbers.

For the first few weeks of opening, Disney blocked out numerous Annual Passholders and Cast Members to try to control the number of people visiting Disneyland Park. Also, Disney announced Rise of the Resistance would not open with the rest of the land, keeping many Annual Passholders who might’ve bought a one-day ticket to see the land, at home. It was suggested that many of these same guests are now waiting for the attraction’s official opening in December for Walt Disney World and January in Disneyland, potentially offering strong numbers in the next quarter.

At Walt Disney World, Iger and other Disney executives speculate that the late August opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge made many guests defer their summer vacations until the land opened. Also, two major attractions in Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, are opening in early 2020. These factors may have caused a large number of guests to defer their vacations into late 2019 and even 2020.

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Derek Sterling

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Jack C.
Guest
Jack C.

No Bob you’re pricing people out of Disney, that’s the problem. Maybe after next quarter’s reports the stockholders will start to realize that he is a fool.

Earitch
Guest
Earitch

I would gladly pay double for everything if it meant a consistent lower crowd level. During our last Disneyland vacations over the years, the crowd level gets so unbearable that the experience is neither pleasant or fun.

Sean
Guest
Sean

As a current stockholder, let me give you my perspective. Year to date, stock price is up over $30 and new record high value was also reached this year. Considering that I bought my stock when it was $19 after 9-11, I don’t think he’s a fool.

Aaron
Guest
Aaron

Bob Iger said paid attendance was up. So that’s actually just the opposite of what you said. They’re not pricing people out of Disney, Annual Passholders were just blocked out. By the way, a fool can’t grow stock prices to the level that he has, or raise park attendance to the level he has.

Tom Corless
Admin
Tom Corless

They lifted blackouts for cast members after two days. What they say and what is real are often two different things.

Joy Kieleski
Guest
Joy Kieleski

That’s how I feel! You expect more people so you raise prices!!!! Just plain GREED! You block out season pass holders so they have to pay the day rate! Again,just basic GREED!!!

Hilly
Guest
Hilly

Where I don’t 100% agree that this is the only issue here, Iger himself certainly provided backup for this POV: “May opening of Galaxy’s Edge caused Disney and nearby hotels to raise rates in anticipation of large crowds.”

Danielle A.
Guest
Danielle A.

I’m going next month. I have a few days left on an old no-expiration pass, but it’s a day less than my vacation buddies all have. I looked at buying the extra day so I can join my friends. Coming from someone with a good job and decent salary, with reasonable expenses and no one else to monetarily support… they’ve still managed to price me out. As much as I’d like to go, how can I justify that money for one day? I’ll use one of my Universal passes that day.

Brian
Guest
Brian

Unfortunately when they do figure it out they won’t lower prices. They will likely have discounts until things pick up again.

Hollis
Guest
Hollis

The greed at Disney is stifling…the blatant overpricing and disrespect for the customers who love Disney and have been fans for years is amazingly stupid. Walt would NEVER have let it get to this point. Massive fan base developed over decades treated like dirt. Sad.

Tiffany
Guest
Tiffany

Agreed. And this includes pricing out Annual Passholders. After paying $800 for a Deluxe pass at Disneyland, they still block out almost the whole summer. And they already had a reservation only system for the first 30 days that Galaxy’s Edge opened. Why block everyone out of the rest of the park when you’re already restricting access to the land?

Marc
Guest
Marc

Totally agree, feels like my Deluxe pass just isn’t worth it anymore sometimes.

Hardy Sevahc
Guest
Hardy Sevahc

Actually, its more because they kept pass holders out. Southern California residents account for a big part of their occupancy and daily revenue during non-summer season. By blocking these people out to make room for people who visit with family from out of town, you’ve essentially given up a lot of revenue. This is why they have introduced the “flex” pass, which allows pass holders who are blocked off to make a reservation, pending they aren’t expecting a large crowd. Yes, Disneyland is expensive. It always has been, and is even higher now… but its actually right on with full… Read more »

Jayson
Guest
Jayson

I attempted to upgrade my annual pass so we could go see star wars land.. They wanted me to pay the full price for the upgrade instead of the actual time I had remaining on my pass (Pro-rating is a norm). If my pass renews in 2 months, I will add it then. Sorry Disney.. you just lost money thats still in my pocket because of greed.

Barbara Richards
Guest
Barbara Richards

And by then, it will be too late to recover the losses, not that they care. Families will move on. You shouldn’t have to take out a small loan in order to take your family to Disneyland/Disneyworld. Oh wait! That’s probably next on their agenda. They lose because of the pricing so they’ll extend a payment plan for those that want to go but can’t because they can’t afford it! Just like Disney to be so inventive with other people’s money! lol

Meg
Guest
Meg

Also, a visit to any Disney park is too expensive for most people. Duh Bob.

EricJ
Guest
EricJ

“What happened? Is it a SOCIAL factor? Was it Last Jedi? Was it the economy??”
No: It was a lot of people who couldn’t get Fastpasses for Pandora two years ago saying “You’re not going to fool us TWICE”, and waiting.

(And frankly, all the “Ghost-town” panic/hype has made this Orlando fan want to plan a trip to Anaheim, since I can’t wait for the East-coast version, but knowing Anaheim, it’s probably crowded to the gills with AP locals.)

Donna
Guest
Donna

Maybe Star Wars land is a mistake. I don’t think there are as many Star Wars fans as Disney thinks. I have not seen even one movie. And I don’t know ANYONE who is into Star Wars.

Moogle
Guest
Moogle

It would be interesting (not that we’ll ever find out) to see what Disney was expecting attendance to be right after it opened. It likely wasn’t just going to have the same attendance level as before given the boarding group infrastructure they set up to accommodate larger crowds that haven’t yet come to fruition. The true attendance miss would be illustrated by the 3% decline from the prior period plus whatever that expected increase percentage was supposed to be.

Jvsett
Guest
Jvsett

“Disney said this was due to Annual Passholder block-outs at Disneyland, and that paid attendance was actually up. ”
Um…Annual passholders DUE pay for attendance. They PAY for a year of attendance. To imply otherwise is arrogant and foolish.
Once you ditch an annual pass you can still go to the park; it just changes how you go. But you piss off your hard core base enough guess what – they won’t come.

Heather
Guest
Heather

Stop double dipping Bob. You are pissing your people off right out of the parks. Fans don’t mind paying a premium price, we do mind being forced to pay twice. AP holders needing to buy another ticket because 1 new ride opened? No. Ticket holder needs to pay extra for a decent fireworks view? No. Pay again for an extra hours ticket as the only guarantee for a certain ride? No. Can’t get your FPs at 60 days, so pay extra for 90 days? No. Please let’s hope the Skyliner doesn’t reduce transport and force people to Mini-van, but would… Read more »

Ra Mu
Guest
Ra Mu

Do not foget the star wars last jedi backlash. It may be also a significant issue affecting a boycott of Disney products.

Robert Taylor
Guest
Robert Taylor

I’ve already gave Disney my fingers and toes with the high pricing. Now Disney wants my hands a feet as well.

You can’t use the jedi mind trick on us. Blacking out season pass holders wasn’t about crowd control yet about money. You already have season pass holders money. If they are so inclined make them pay again or get additional money from new purchasers by keeping pass holders away.

Brian
Guest
Brian

Bob, did you think having block out dates that coincided with the lands opening would go any other way? Disney was going to make passholders buy a ticket at whatever rate just to see a land? No thank you

Lynn
Guest
Lynn

Disney numbers are down because you charge way too much to get in!! I’ve boycotted going there for years due to your ridiculous high prices.

Rocky J
Guest
Rocky J

When I added up that a trip to Disneyland for my family was going to cost $2000 just for one day and going to one park……. that’s why I don’t go anymore. It has gotten ridiculously over priced.

Jeff Fels
Guest
Jeff Fels

So….I’m one of the people who postponed a trip to Disney world until next year so Galaxies edge will be fully operational and Mickey and Minnies runaway thingy would be open.

Angelo B
Guest
Angelo B

That’s why I didn’t renew my annual pass. I had it for years, but now I’ve been priced out. I can’t afford the new annual pass fees with a family of four. I would visit the parks multiple times a year, now they’re lucky if I can afford one trip a year.

Rhonda
Guest
Rhonda

It’s the outrageous prices…overpriced water and people with medical emergencies due to 300xs the profit on water is so important…shame on the mouse!

Rhonda
Guest
Rhonda

Its the excessive prices. 300xs the price of bottled water and people passing out. The city spends tons of money attending to medical emergencies because of greed…shame on the mouse!

The mouse also has said they dont want local visitors because they dont spend the amount of money visitors do.

Geri Shaw
Guest
Geri Shaw

BIG $$ increases in annual passes, specific date pricing for daily tickets; and only ONE fast pass for top tier [email protected] Studios. Pushing everyone to less popular attractions and increasing already long lines for the most popular attractions- misery!! The big $$ squeeze has begun. Is this a preview of PAID fast passes as per Universal’s express passes?
No wonder the switcheroo to get Star Wars WDW complete before mega $$$$$ Holiday season vs Disneyland. Higher ticket prices, higher food and drink prices, increases in hotel parking fees!
The bottom line is the bottom line.

Paul
Guest
Paul

It would make a great case study.

Barbara Richards
Guest
Barbara Richards

We’ll see. I’m a passholder and I’m not renewing this year due to the increases. It’s not worth it. Disney is increasing all costs across the board in order to pay for their new developments. It’s never enough for them. They just keep increasing. Pretty soon families won’t be able to afford the parks anymore and not want to go even if they could afford it. It’s sad actually how greedy Disney has become.

James B
Guest
James B

Maybe the $150 peak day ticket prices are what’s keeping people away.

Nick
Guest
Nick

The last Jedi was so bad that I want nothing to do with it