Disney World and the nightmare scenario for tourism
Published: September 18, 2007 at 10:03 AM
The study, Yee writes, was promopted by the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the resulting collapse of the air travel market. This time, Disney's consultants are forecasting what could happen to the Central Florida resort when "peak oil" forces prices far beyond the current $80 a barrel.
Yee writes that the Disney study predicts that Disney World could stop making money for the Mouse House at an oil price as low as $160/barrel. That, in turn, is prompting Disney to outsource as much of the resort as it can -- hotels, restaurants, Yee even imagines Disney selling the parks themselves, a la an Oriental Land/Tokyo Disney deal.
Obviously, Disney World would not be the only property to suffer if oil prices make long-distance travel prohibitively expensive. All Orlando parks would tank, and parks that rely on regional visitors would suffer as well.
Yee's piece barely mentions the point, but oil price increases could actually help Disney on the west coast, as a massive Southern California audience would look to Disneyland for its vacation get-away, with Hawaii, Cabo and even Las Vegas becoming too expensive to get to. (Disneyland attendance, unlike the rest of the theme park industry, surged after 9/11, boosted by locals staying close to home.)