The year 2020 provided some unique challenges for Disney World, especially after the parks were closed for several months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When the parks reopened, capacity was limited, but since then, a lot has changed.
Capacity in the parks is back up (although park pass reservations are still required and are probably not going away anytime soon), and with the 50th anniversary celebration, along with some new attractions, guests have been returning to the parks in droves. But what does attendance look like as compared to pre-pandemic levels?
Let’s take a look at the 2021 Global Attractions Attendance Report recently published by the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) and AECOM. The report shows that, as of 2021, Magic Kingdom is the #1 theme park worldwide. The chart below kept the 2019 ranking order, but now shows the attendance numbers from 2021 in the “Attendance 2021” column. The report compares 2021 attendance to 2019 AND 2020 because of the closures and impact from the pandemic in 2020.
According to this new report, Magic Kingdom saw a total of nearly 12.7 million guests in 2021. However, it’s well under the 20.9 million guests Magic Kingdom had in 2019. We expect attendance to keep rising in the park — Magic Kingdom will see a new attraction open in 2023: TRON Lightcycle Run, as well as some elements of the Happily Ever After fireworks show returning.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom had 7.1 million guests in 2021, which is a significant amount below the 13.9 million in 2019. There are some plans in the works to update this park: Disney mentioned a possible retheme of DinoLand, U.S.A. with something like Moana or Zootopia.
EPCOT had 7.8 million guests in 2021, which (like the other parks) is still below the 12.4 million guests the park saw in 2019. EPCOT did see the opening of a new attraction in 2021 (Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure), along with another attraction opening in early 2022 (Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind). A massive transformation to the park is still underway, which will also include a Moana-based attraction.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios had a total of $8.6 million guests in 2021, but again, still well below the 11.5 million in 2019. Although Disney has not revealed any new expansions or attractions for the park, both Toy Story Land and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge remain big draws. Also, the nighttime show Fantasmic! will be returning in November and a new restaurant is set to open by the end of the year.
So although Disney World has recovered from its lower attendance levels in 2020 (when the parks had limited capacity), it has not yet fully recovered to its 2019 guest numbers. We’ll continue to keep an eye on those numbers and report in when we have any new information. Disney is hosting its Q4 earnings call soon — we usually get updates on park attendance in these calls, so we’ll be sure to let you know if anything is announced.
In 2021, Disney reported in its 2021 4th quarter earnings call that attendance at Disney World was up double digits from the third quarter of 2021. The call also revealed that guest spending per capita was up 30% when compared to 2019.
Are you planning on going to Disney World soon? The 50th anniversary celebration is still underway (and will be until 2023) and the holidays (and all the fun things that brings to the parks) are just around the corner!
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How long do you think it will be before Disney World reaches its 2019 attendance levels again? Let us know in the comments.
The post Has Disney World Attendance Recovered From the Pandemic? Here’s What a New Report Says. first appeared on the disney food blog.