Central Florida - The wave that is upon us.

Edited: May 23, 2019, 5:21 PM

Reviewing the TEA/AECOM estimates for 2018, the theme park attendance at Walt Disney World clocked in at more than 62 million guests (62,585,000).

And the media is taking notice.

But the analysis being published is not just looking back at the previous year, they are making note that WDW's accomplishments as the dominant leader in Central Florida are being identified at a time when the resort is about to add multiple attractions, hotel properties and amenities.

Simply put: Disney has an extraordinary level of momentum.

From Rick Munarriz (Motley Fool): "Momentum matters as we head into the peak summer travel season, and on that front, we got a taste of how things played out last year when Themed Entertainment Association put out its annual attendance report for 2018 on Wednesday. Disney smoked Comcast on a worldwide basis. Disney's global collection of theme parks saw its turnstile clicks climb 4.9% to an estimated 157.3 million guests last year. Comcast's Universal Studios attractions rose at a more modest 1.2% clip to entertain 50.1 million visitors.

"Things weren't so bad for Comcast in Florida, as its global results were weighed down by a sizable decline at Universal Studios Japan. Disney's results were actually padded by the success it had last year at its Asian parks. However, even if we focus on the Sunshine State, we see that Disney's four parks combined to grow at a higher pace than Universal Orlando's two theme parks for the second year in a row."

Coming soon: The NBA Experience, the Disney Skyliner system, Galaxy's Edge, Cirque du Soleil, Ratatouille, Guardians of the Galaxy, Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway, the EPCOT Forever show (one among several new entertainment productions), the EPCOT space restaurant, a new play pavilion at EPCOT's Life & Health, a revitalized Communicore, the TRON coaster all supported by a massive marketing campaign to celebrate the resort's 50th anniversary.

The next 55 months (through October 1, 2022) are going to be exceptional for Walt Disney World as well as the entire Central Florida hospitality/themed entertainment industry.

(Edited to correct the WDW total to the correct 62.58 million)

Replies (6)

Edited: May 25, 2019, 9:40 AM

>>>Coming soon: The NBA Experience, the Disney Skyliner system, Galaxy's Edge, Cirque du Soleil, Ratatouille, Guardians of the Galaxy, Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway, the EPCOT Forever show (one among several new entertainment productions), the EPCOT space restaurant, a new play pavilion at EPCOT's Life & Health, a revitalized Communicore, the TRON coaster all supported by a massive marketing campaign to celebrate the resort's 50th anniversary.

Wait, are we allowed to call it that in the forum section?

May 23, 2019, 5:59 PM

More ink!

From Gabrielle Russon (Orlando Sentinel): "The “Pandora — The World of Avatar” expansion is still paying off for Disney as attendance at Animal Kingdom keeps surging, jumping 10% in 2018."

The article continues: "Animal Kingdom was ranked the sixth-busiest theme park in the world in 2018, with an estimated 13.75 million visitors. It surpassed both Epcot and Hollywood Studios in attendance, the report said."

Again, momentum.

May 23, 2019, 9:49 PM

Totally agree, TH, Disney has tremendous momentum now and for the foreseeable future.

But you might want to ease up on the hyperbole a little bit.

In Central Florida, attendance at the Universal parks grew at an annual rate of 3.8% from 2017 to 2018.

In Central Florida, attendance at the Disney parks grew at an annual rate of 4.4% from 2017 to 2018.

Throw in the fact that Pandora had its first full year of operation in 2018, and DHS recovered from attendance drops in 2016 and 2017 by opening Toy Story Land in mid-2018 while Universal only opened a few replacement rides and you have a very plausible explanation for the very slight difference in attendance growth.

And while the sleight of hand with the statistics can be blamed on the good folks at the Motley Fool (the international statistics were given in numerical form while the Central Florida statistics were only mentioned in non-numerical form) you quoted Rick Munarriz, who I have observed over the years to almost always be high on Disney to the point of sycophancy.

I'd say that in Central Florida and in the USA overall, both Disney and Universal have tremendous momentum!

Edited: May 23, 2019, 10:16 PM

Referring to Rick Munarriz as "the media" (as in the mainstream media) is a stretch, he's been the theme park writer at the Motley Fool for a long time...at least a decade that I can remember, and he writes articles like this all the time.

But yea I think we can all agree with him nothing he says here is controversial, basically saying everything we already know.

May 28, 2019, 9:51 AM

Things going well for Disney means things going well for the industry. Great news for all!

May 28, 2019, 9:53 AM

A rising tide lifts all boats, Let's not forget that.

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