Disneyland Expected to Reach Historical Attendance Levels by 2022 Due to Pent-Up Demand
UBS predicts that Disneyland and other Disney theme parks will reach historical attendance levels by 2022 due to pent-up demand.
“We believe the parks business has bottomed and we’ll see improved attendance/profitability as the vaccine becomes more widely distributed,” UBS financial analyst John Hodulik stated in the report. “We expect parks to approach historical performance and attendance metrics by FYE22 with higher margins given operational improvements implemented during the pandemic.”
He goes on to write that Disney theme parks will be the “beneficiary of vaccine availability and pent-up demand for leisure travel” in the latter half of this year, allowing Walt Disney World—and Disneyland when it reopens—to increase attendance to 70% capacity. Walt Disney World’s attendance is currently at 35% capacity. UBS predicts that attendance will fully recover by 2023.
Magic Kingdom was the most attended theme park in the world in 2019 with 21 million visitors while Disneyland was second with 18.7 million, according to Themed Entertainment Association/AECOM. Disney theme parks all over the world had approximately 157.3 million visitors total in 2019.
In April 2020, Hodulik predicted that Disneyland Resort might not be able to reopen theme parks until at least January 2021 and his prediction has proven true.
“We now believe the lingering effects of the outbreak — including crowd avoidance, new health precautions, etc. — will dramatically reduce the profitability of these businesses even after they are reopened until a vaccine is widely available,” he wrote in April. ”The economic recession plus the need for social distancing, new health precautions, the lack of travel and crowd aversion are likely to make this business less profitable until there is a widely available vaccine.”
With the vaccine being slowly rolled out across the country and the world, the future is looking better for Disney theme parks.