A Star Wars problem?

By | Category: Travel destinations

Disney open their Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge attraction at Disneyland in California on August 29th

Normally a new attraction would spur holidaymakers to trek to the theme parks and, in seasons where there is no upgrade or no new attraction, visitor numbers would drop.

Star Wars is such a worldwide draw that Disney must have thought it would have a roller coaster year and it would be one of their most profitable ventures to date. And, in truth, I would have thought the same.

Disney – and I – are wrong.

But why are we wrong? Where are the visitors? What’s keeping them away? Is it due to the strength of the US dollar?

Visits to Disneyland by those living in the USA was down 3% in the three months of Disney’s financial year with the company blaming lower figures on the fact that those people who have annual passes stayed away. Why should they do this?

Disney, itself, blames the downturn on Star Wars. It thinks that because of the fame of Star Wars and the media coverage that the opening had in the USA and around the world that people thought there would be crowds.

But the new attraction hasn’t opened yet. Could it be that people are waiting for it to open and then they will arrive? If Disney is looking at the advance bookings and is disappointed could it be that visitors want to see the reviews first?

It sounds like Disney itself is blaming the downturn on it being too successful in building up expectations.

If true then it is something that many other organisations would love to have as a problem!

Now that Disney has announced these figures will people visit thinking that the crowds won’t be as bad as thought. Or will they stay away because they think that everyone else will think that so the crowds will be even greater. In which case the best plan would be stay away and visit later. I still think they will visit from September onwards

But it could be a far for more usual reason why people have stayed away. Disney increased its prices recently. Could it be that people have considered Disneyland is too expensive? But that thinking shouldn’t affect those who have existing annual passes. They won’t feel the hit until they renew and then they will pay a minimum of $599 for someone aged over three and it could be as high as $1,399. A day pass will set you back between $104 and $149 depending on the season.

Another reason for thinking that price might be the reason could be that the 3% drop has still resulted in a 10% increase in spending by visitors.

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