Walt Disney World’s theme parks are currently seeing historically low crowds due to Disney’s attendance caps and a dramatic lack of guest demand. If you’re a Disney fan who follows any Disney content creators on YouTube, Instagram or elsewhere, you’ve probably seen many celebrating the open walkways, low wait times and deserted areas.
But should they be rejoicing so much?
Let’s first make it clear that it’s good Disney’s parks aren’t shoulder-to-shoulder at this time. Health and safety has to remain the top priority. However, the overall attendance has been so bad and the departure from normal operation is so off that we have to discuss what’s next.
Reports suggest that Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the only park approaching its daily attendance cap. The Magic Kingdom might be next best while Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Epcot aren’t even close to hitting their caps each day. Disney has not officially disclosed what their cap on attendance is or how many guests are actually visiting.
Excluding some isolated instances of crowded areas, Walt Disney World’s theme parks have been mostly empty. That’s especially true late in the day in the final hours of operation. Walking around Disney’s Animal Kingdom an hour or two before close is a bizarre experience where cast members outnumber the guests.
Consider how eerie the usually-popular Toy Story Land has been at times:
There are times when Toy Story Land is remarkably empty. pic.twitter.com/MXg8B1kHwr— bioreconstruct (@bioreconstruct) July 20, 2020
Passionate Disney fans celebrating empty parks is incredibly shortsighted. It’s a disaster for the Walt Disney Company and will have extreme repercussions. Rumors have already been popping up that wide company layoffs are incoming. We’ve already seen multiple projects delayed indefinitely and others may be cancelled entirely. Those hoping for park expansions or additions beyond the work that’s already nearing completion are going to be disappointed. Unprecedented budget cuts are coming.
Disney content creators literally squealing with joy about the empty parks and their fortune lacks any empathy towards the health and financial heartache many are experiencing. There’s a reason the parks are so empty. It also lacks any awareness of what this means for Disney in the future. The company they claim to love so much is going to have to make some very ugly decisions as a result of the current financial turmoil.
We’ll begin to understand just how bad things are for Disney during their next earnings report in early August. Based on what other companies have reported (Universal’s revenue fell 94%), we’re expecting Disney to post some shocking figures. That could be the catalyst that will spur layoffs, delay/cancel projects and other decisions that may negatively impact guests.
Remember that the empty parks we see now carry a steep cost that will eventually have to be paid.