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Disney’s theme parks reportedly see smaller crowds this summer

Jul 12, 2023


Media Landscape

This story is a Media Miss by the left as only 29% of the coverage is from left leaning media.

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Left 29%

Center 29%

Right 43%

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Disney World in Florida reportedly experienced one of its slowest Fourth of July attendances in years. This comes as the company undergoes changes to its park operations and fights an ongoing legal battle it initiated against Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.

According to data obtained by The Wall Street Journal, wait times at Magic Kingdom on July 4, which is typically one of Disney’s busiest days, averaged 27 minutes. This is a decrease of four minutes compared to last year and 20 minutes compared to 2019.

The story has received attention from both left-leaning and center oriented news media outlets, according to the Straight Arrow News Media Miss tool.

Headlines from right-leaning sources linked the decline in Disney’s ridership to the company’s ongoing feud with Gov. Ron DeSantis. Meanwhile, a headline from a left-leaning outlet, citing experts, suggested that Disney World’s noticeably lower attendance is “not a sign of DeSantis winning.”

DeSantis, who is currently on the presidential trail, has capitalized on the news, blaming Disney’s “woke agenda” for its low attendance.

However, there are several factors at play, as noted by The Wall Street Journal. Disney is currently undergoing cost cuts amounting to $5.5 billion, which has resulted in layoffs across its divisions. Additionally, the company deliberately raised admission prices recently, which has drawn the ire of many park fans.

Others have attributed the thinner crowds to Florida’s weather. The state’s heat index exceeded 100 degrees on several days in early July.

While industry analysts point to changes in pricing as a driving factor, Disney has not publicly attributed the drop in theme park attendance to a single reason. However, in May, the company stated that they were expecting lower demand in the second half of the year.

The outlook for Disney is mixed. The Walt Disney Company reported a 13% increase in quarterly earnings in May, primarily driven by its theme parks. NPR reports Disney’s Parks, Experiences and Products division increased its profits by 20% to $2.2 billion.

However, Disney+ lost some four million paid subscribers in the same quarter, amid broader trends of turmoil and layoffs in the entertainment industry.

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