The COVID-19 pandemic forced the closures of theme parks around the country. As of July, Florida’s two largest theme parks – Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort – have since reopened but to greatly diminished capacity. However, one theme park seems to be rebounding faster than the other.
According to a new Deutsche research report, Universal Orlando is bouncing back a lot faster than Disney World.
Deutsche analysts Benjamin Soff and Bryan Kraft note that Universal Orlando Resort – which reopened its theme parks on June 5th – has been experiencing an “uplift in admissions.” This despite the fact that its recent attendance has been down 64 percent as compared to the 2019 crowds.
Disney World, which began it’s phased reopening of the theme parks in mid-July, is seeing its attendance down 80 percent compared to last year.
Reasons for Optimism
Not all the news is negative for Walt Disney World Resort.
The report states that: “given this ongoing improvement in Universal’s attendance and declining new daily COVID-19 cases in Florida, we believe that Disney World will also soon see some benefit.”
It goes on to state: “at present, Epcot and Animal Kingdom are outperforming Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.”
COVID-19 on the Decline in Florida
The good news is that Coronavirus cases are now dropping in Florida. The Deutsche Bank report highlights that “given this ongoing improvement in Universal’s attendance and declining new daily COVID cases in Florida, we believe that Disney World will also see some benefit.”
Disney’s CEO Bob Chapek stated in his Q3 conference call that there’s “some level of trepidation to travelers who are anxious about long-distance travel jumping on a plane and flying to Walt Disney World.” But he remained optimistic because “research indicates that, and our bookings indicate, that we should be in good shape once consumer confidence returns.”
Safety Precautions and Reduced Hours
Disney World and Universal Orlando both closed in mid-March due to the pandemic. Since the Florida destinations have reopened to the public, there have been a series of strict health and safety measures to safeguard its guests and employees against the virus.
In light of the slower than anticipated attendance figures and continuing cancelations, Disney World has just announced that it will implement a slight reduction in its operating hours.
Florida has recently opened a COVID-19 testing center on Disney World property. The novel coronavirus testing site is located at Disney World’s main gate office complex next to Animal Kingdom.
California’s Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood continue to remain closed with no reopening date announced yet. Both destinations do have their shopping and dining districts open at this time.
Looking ahead, Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood have announced that they won’t be hosting the annual Halloween Horror Nights events this year because of the ongoing coronavirus concerns.
We hope that things return to normal soon. In the meantime, we thank you for reading Universal Orlando Attendance Rebounding Faster than Disney World and we hope that you and your loved ones remain safe!