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Disney World Low Attendance Paradox


Well-Known Member
Your blind faith in management is admirable.
It's not blind faith in management. Rather, it is informed knowledge and decades of experience seeing how often random, anonymous complainers on the Internet - without proof of experience as leaders of multinational corporations, credentialed expertise in the management of large businesses, or even research data to definitively back up their complaints - are wrong when they criticize professionals doing their jobs with benefit of experience, expertise and data, especially when those criticisms (oh how conveniently) are sob stories about how their own personal preferences aren't being stroked by way of decisions that are actually best for the owners of the company.


Well-Known Member
They cannot lower prices because bob’s sole goal is stock price.
And safeguarding the dividend.

Dividend Payout Ratio 5 yr Average = 26.00%
Dividend Growth Rate 5 yr Average = 22.25%

Remember - even though some inanely immature people might disparage and disrespect elders who rely on dividends to pay their bills, to afford their groceries and critical healthcare, etc., that's a significant portion of what drives those who invest in the company, either directly or through funds who reinvest those dividends.

What if the price is too high that there’s no reinforcements to rush in and fill the void?
I’m not saying that’s happening...but if it were that’s a permanent situation and would be carastroohic.
Even though you're "not saying that's happening" just mentioning it without any reasonable basis for it is ridiculous doom-baiting. It's sexy to raise such specters - it's captures the imagination of people who aren't happy about price increases, but what we can see clearly is how such things, in the context of an echo chamber, grow far out of bounds with any reasonable measure of actuality.

When professional financial analysts, who care more about money than about Disney, and who spend as much time focused on Comcast and the other major competitors rather than fixated solely on Disney, start saying it, then it'll be worth considering.


Well-Known Member
Seems like basic mathematics. If you expect to make higher profits with lower attendance, would it not require one customer to spend more money than two customers combined?
Not at all.

Like you said, it is basic mathematics:

1.00*X > 1.12*(0.9X)

And that's only half the price increase that some saw this past month.

I really should get back into teaching when I retire. It seems that basic knowledge about basic, business-relevant, mathematics is severely lacking.


Well-Known Member
It is fairly simple...but no one believes it. TWDC in no way wants less attendance. Chisel that on the tablets and carry it down from the mountain of commerce.
Let's be clear: They don't "want less attendance". They want more profit. Attendance is a variable, not part of the goal.


Well-Known Member
Why would they keep building resorts if they wanted lower attendance?
See above.

So: Why would they keep building resorts? Another really basic question that should be readily obvious: They want to shift the percentage of on-site versus off-site vacation visitors toward on-site, or in the context of expected continued growth of both their vacationer business and their convention business (read: Grand Destino Tower) they want added capacity at least in proportion to that expected growth.


Well-Known Member
It’s certainly one part of the profit equation as is increased prices. Unlike continued price increases, expense cutting isn’t meant to be interminable. It just establishes a new baseline.
Yes, in a way. Another way of thinking about it is that innovative new product development is always somewhat speculative. Are you building what the market is going to realize they want? Will they realize they want it now or will it take time? How much time? And so on. Have you figured out how to offer it most effectively? Have you figured out how to offer it most efficiently? And so on. In addition to the speculative nature of it, it also happens in the context of circumstances. So that raises questions: Has the existing circumstances forced you to build what's new in a less effective or efficient manner? That last one is easily understood by considering a redevelopment of a complex and busy intersection between highways. You can't just take it all down and build the new intersection the way it "should" be built. How you're building it and even what you end up with will be affected (sometimes adversely) by what you were forced to start with. And part of the plan might be to come back around later to clean that up.

So in business practically every innovative new product development delivers to the market a product that is not exactly what it could be, delivered in a manner that could be better, and delivered with excesses that can be corrected.

They’ve made it clear that raising prices to reduce and redistribute crowds while enabling cost reductions is a goal.
Reducing "crowding" is not the same as reducing attendance. That's one of the "features" of second-hand information: It regularly distorts something that was actually said into something that was not said.


Well-Known Member
Let's be clear: They don't "want less attendance". They want more profit. Attendance is a variable, not part of the goal.
I’m sure you got an “A-“ in that course...

Per guest spending is the #1 tracked financial metric in wdw...now that VARIABLE of attendance times per guest spending tells them something.

No econ lectures...you can’t account for all of Disney’s variables


Well-Known Member
Disney’s response will probably be a tepid minor discount or promotion. They can’t do a standard fall discount because doing so means there is a problem. Doing this will not be enough to attract people concerned the cost of visiting, and probably not do much to help the situation developing.
I wouldn't be surprised if they do a full on fall discount. There is some manager in Disney that will know his/her success or failure is tied to the attendance numbers and will be pushing to achieve higher numbers. In most corporations you'll find that for every metric that can be measured versus last year, that metric is the basis of someone's annual performance review and the last thing you ever want to do is try to explain why your numbers are lower than the previous year. If percentage of rooms reserved is already lower than in prior years at this point for Fall then you can bank on discounts coming because someone who is measured each year on the rooms booked will be pushing for it. They have already thrown out he free dining so unless it magically fills all the rooms to the same level as last year you can expect more discounts in other areas.


Active Member
The attendance did feel a little light this week at some points, but other times, it was impossible to walk across a street without being cut off by some 50+ person tour group, which there seemed to be about 6-8 in each park.


Liker of Things
Premium Member
I like to look at @lentesta Touring plans numbers. It is really worth the cost of a subscription. Without giving too much away, based on his predictions and actual observations, there clearly has been a noticeable slow down for late spring and summer. It even appears that winter and early spring crowds outperformed the current period. Total reversal of crowd distributions.
Looking at the touring plan numbers and my wife getting the week of the 4th of from work led us to book a 6/29-07/04 WDW vacation 6 weeks in advance. Very last second by Disney standards. I got a FoP fastpass for the 4 of us. Crowds were low all week. We've been in early/mid summer before when I've used my DVC points for family reunions. The sun surface temps make it a not favorite time, but its the only time everyone can get off. Anyway, crowds were lower than any summer I've been in the past 12 years.


Well-Known Member
I think it's all a bit of an illusion. The crowds in some areas may be slightly lighter and people are saying it's the price hikes reaching its max but tbh, I bet the crowds are actually as busy.


Well-Known Member
They want to shift the percentage of on-site versus off-site vacation visitors toward on-site
Resort occupancy and theme park attendance are not the same thing. They're not even especially strongly correlated.
If raising prices is part of the effort to lower crowds, then how would they expect to entice off-site visitors, who for the most part stay off site because of Disneys room prices, to suddenly have a desire to spend more money and stay on-site?

And wouldnt that actually increase attendance since on-site guests tend to spend more days at Disney vs off-site guests going to Uni, Sea World, etc? It would definitely make EMH busier with more on-site guests.

Or if the idea is to have more resort availability for those who prefer on-site but cant get a room during the dates they need, then attendance is still increasing. My only point is that building more resorts can only increase attendance, whether its to shift percentage of off-site to on-site or just have more availability. There will always be people who stay off-site. Building more resorts and raising prices wont eliminate that. And there are die hard Disney fans who most likely are getting priced out of staying on-site but still want to go so they will shift to off-site but still attend the parks.


Well-Known Member
Yeah we actually send our kids to private school and it's much more flexible for our Disney trips with pulling them out when it's more convenient for us from a DVC standpoint. Also I'm super pumped that they might FINALLY be gonna build a sidewalk from the Grand Floridian to MK. That was the ONLY drawback to the VGF for me and I've told people that my "favorite attraction in all of Disneyworld is the sidewalk from Bay Lake to the MK". LOL! I really hope that becomes a reality! All of our points are at BLT but we go 3 times a year and I'd for SURE do at least one of those stays at VGF if they'd make that walkway.
I thought that was a rumor still since it didn't explicitly state it was for a path that would require a draw bridge unless they want to not have the boats go in and out as usual. If there is a path, I hope it is better shade than the one to BLT/Contemporary. Not a fan of how exposed it feels.

Our public school was more flexible than the private school I went to. So it's all about the school itself, not type when it comes to that. Home schooling would be more flexible though ;)
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