Walt Disney World is typically a bustling tourist destination that attracts guests from all over the world. That hasn’t been the case since Walt Disney World’s theme parks and resorts reopened in the wake of COVID-19.
In an article highlighting Disney’s safety precautions and discussing virus spread, The New York Times reports that about half of all Walt Disney World visitors have been Florida residents since reopening.
The Orlando area has had an even sharper decline. Disney has said Floridians have made up about 50 percent of attendance since the reopening.
“The data shows that we opened responsibly,” Dr. Pamela Hymel, chief medical officer for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, said by phone. “We didn’t cause a surge.”
The ongoing pandemic has shifted guest demographics dramatically as travel restrictions, economic instability and general health concerns have limited out-of-state guests. It’s not much of a surprise that the first visitors back are the ones who live in the area.
Beyond the obvious health and financial liabilities, out-of-state visitors may also be waiting for Walt Disney World to resume select activities and entertainment. Currently, nighttime fireworks shows, park hopping, select shows and more are on hiatus. It may not make sense to spend a small fortune to take the whole family to central Florida while Walt Disney World is offering a modified experience.