Tourist mega attractions like Disney World in Orlando, Florida have to work on attracting visitors with newer and bigger attractions. Although park attendance is still somewhat healthy, they too are feeling the lingering effects of the recession. Disney’s theme park admission prices have grown exponentiallysince its opening on October 1, 1971. Since then Disney and Universal have been vying for customers and each venue jacks up its prices when the other does. Right now a ticket for one day at one Disney’s park is over 100 dollars for both adults and children. Still, when vacation time rolls around families are flying into The Sunshine State to have the Disney experience, often again and again. This is especially true when Disney World announces that they are expanding by adding new attractions.
According to an article posted on The Motley Fool Website, Disney World has recently shut down two of their once touted attractions. At Epcot, they closed Ellen’s Energy Adventure and the Great Movie Ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is no more. They are making way for a new Guardian of the Galaxy Ride at Epcot and they are constructing a Mickey and Minnie Runaway Railway where The Great Movie Ride was situated. Closing down rides to make room for others leaves a gap, and it takes time to build and open these new attractions. The Marvel ride which would have been better built two years earlier to get traction from the movies, won’t be ready until 2019. Toy Story Land is also slated for 2019 and no doubt this will bring in lots of guests, but in the meantime, Disney World is in a slump.
Besides these delays, there are still logistical issues. Unveiling new attractions and large crowds don’t mix. This Memorial day found tourists frustrated by long lines and waits up to four hours to get on a ride. This Memorial Day Disney opened its new Avatar: Flight of Passage, a 3D thrill ride that left some guests less than thrilled about the wait.
Still, die hard Disney Fans swear that wait times of three hours or more are worth it to get on Disney’s newest rides. Even with the jacked up prices, Disney’s American Theme Parks are not making money like they used to. The hotels surrounding both Disney and Universal properties are also feeling the pinch. Millenials will wait in line for two to three hours to board a ride. but parents with young children can’t take them on many of these rides. These young families will think twice before blowing the family vacation budget just to spend the day at one of Disney’s Parks eating overpriced food and waiting around. Disney property hotels also face fierce competition from hotels on Cocoa Beach, which gives the family time at the seashore beside just being sequestered at Disney.
Will Disney survive these “growing pains?” The answer is, of course, they will as long as vacationers have money to spend on an Orlando getaway. Disney’s International properties are red hot due to new travel privileges enjoyed by Chinese all over Asia and Europe. Locals visitors to Disney World will not likely make up for lost tourist traffic. Those like me who actually live in Florida aren’t in a rush to head down the 528 Beachline to Disney World. no matter what new attraction is promised. For Floridians, Disney World is just like the Atlantic Ocean–its just there.