Forgot Your Password Or Login?

Having trouble logging in?
Try clearing your cookie:

Disneyland Article
Why 1 Billion Dollar Star Wars Land Is Not A Bust Despite Flat Attendance

Star Wars Rise Of The Resistance
ID:
TMS-4660
Source:
marinij.com
Author:
Brady Macdonald
Dateline:
July 20, 2020
Posted:
July 26, 2020
Status:
Current
Increase Font Size
The old adage of “if you build it, they will come” didn’t pan out for Disneyland with the debut of the $1 billion Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge as attendance at the Anaheim theme park remained flat in 2019.

But while on the surface it may seem like Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge was a bust, if you dig a little deeper you’ll realize that keeping attendance flat during the largest expansion in Disneyland’s history was all part of Disney’s larger strategy.

Disneyland attendance remained flat at 18.7 million visitors in 2019 with annual visitorship also unchanged at Disney California Adventure at 9.9 million, according to the Themed Entertainment Association. The annual TEA report looked at the 2019 calendar year before Disney shuttered all 12 of its theme parks around the globe amid the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.

Before the opening of Galaxy’s Edge, news reports warned of massive crowds that would descend on Disneyland with the late May debut of the new Star Wars Land. Soon after Galaxy’s Edge opened, those same news reports marveled at the thin crowds that turned Disneyland into a “ghost town.”

Those big crowds didn’t show up until the ballyhooed Rise of the Resistance trackless dark ride was unveiled in January — after the 2019 attendance figures had been calculated and before the coronavirus closure of Disneyland.

The Batuu East version of Galaxy’s Edge opened at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in late August, helping to boost 2019 attendance at the Florida park by a modest 2%, according to the TEA report.

But certainly Disney didn’t spend a combined $2 billion on Star Wars lands on both coasts to attract an additional 225,000 visitors at Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2019. Disney World’s four parks draw a combined 320,000 visitors per day.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter boosted attendance at Universal’s Islands of Adventure by 30% in 2010 and 29% in 2011. The Diagon Alley expansion next door at Universal Studios Florida brought attendance jumps of 17% in 2014 and 16% in 2015. Attendance spiked 60% in early 2017 after Wizarding World West debuted at Universal Studios Hollywood.

Disney and Universal take decidedly different approaches to running their theme parks. Universal likes to be the first and the biggest. Disney strives to be the best and is willing to cautiously wait to get things right.

It turns out flat attendance following the grand opening of Galaxy’s Edge might be exactly what Disneyland wanted.

The two chief knocks on Disneyland that get delivered repeatedly like a one-two punch are that the park is too crowded and tickets are too expensive.

Headlines proclaiming flat attendance at Disneyland in 2019 help combat the perception of a crowding problem. An extra 14 acres carved out of backstage space for Galaxy’s Edge also increases the footprint of Disneyland — meaning more room for visitors and a less crowded park. The extended coronavirus closure of the park is expected to lead to lower attendance at Disneyland for several years — a potential unintended benefit when it comes to crowding.

On the price side of the equation, Disneyland uses variable ticket pricing to help manage attendance. The five-tier pricing system charges less for admission on the slowest days and more on the busiest days. The goal: Draw more visitors when attendance is light and fewer people when the park is crowded. The result: More economy-minded visitors midweek and during the off-season and more well-heeled customers in the summer and on weekends and holidays.

Variable ticket pricing helps spread out the crowds more evenly across the entire calendar — with an eye toward drawing fewer visitors year over year but overall attracting bigger spenders with deeper pockets.

Disney’s “yield strategy” admits fewer visitors at higher ticket prices for an improved “guest experience” that results in greater spending on food and merchandise and increased profits. The plan is deceptively simple: Happier customers spend more. And the objective is even simpler: Make Disneyland the happiest place on Earth.

Galaxy’s Edge certainly drew its fair share of fear-of-missing-out visitors to Disneyland. The TEA attendance figures suggest the fear-of-big-crowds contingent may have decided to wait until all the excitement died down before checking out the new Star Wars land. Another factor: Disney acknowledged some Disneyland visitors deferred visits until the delayed Rise of the Resistance attraction opened more than six months after the land.

But one thing is clear: Those FOMO fans and Star Wars die-hards dropped a lot of galactic credits on food, drinks and merchandise in the Black Spire Outpost village on the Star Wars planet of Batuu, the setting for Galaxy’s Edge. Which helped drive up per capita spending at Disneyland.

Travelers to Batuu dropped $200 on build-your-own lightsabers, $100 on build-your-own droids, $42 on alien cocktails at Oga’s Cantina and even $25,000 for a full-size R2-D2. That kind of spending adds up quickly — particularly when fans wait in hours-long lines to trade their cold, hard galactic credits for interstellar souvenirs.

Despite the flat attendance in 2019, Galaxy’s Edge certainly helped Disney’s bottom line.

Disney’s Parks, Experiences and Products revenue increased 8 percent in each of the two full quarters after Galaxy’s Edge opened at Disneyland.

The Galaxy’s Edge themed lands drove increases in per-capita spending, food and beverage sales and merchandise sales, then Disney CEO and now Executive Chairman Bob Iger said in November.

“Those two land have been far more successful than have been reported,” Iger said on a call with analysts.

The twin debuts of the Rise of the Resistance attractions in California and Florida contributed to a 10% increase in per capita spending at Disney’s U.S. parks, Iger said in February.
 
Attractions Referenced

Star Wars Rise Of The Resistance

 
Restaurants Referenced

Oga's Cantina

 
Lands Referenced

Star Wars Galaxys Edge

 
Top Of Page
Solution  Graphics Western Union Money Gram



MickeyMousePark.com   Contact Us   Privacy   Payment Options   Disclaimer   Email Policy   Site Map   Clear Cookie  

Copyright: (c) 1997-2020 by ThrillMountain Software

MickeyMousePark.com is not associated in any official way with the Walt Disney Company,
its subsidiaries, or its affiliates. The official Disney site is available at disney.com
Troubleshooting Info:

BrowserBrand: IE
LocalHost: NO
BrowserOS: 
BrowserServer: mickeymousepark.com
BrowserAgent:CCBot/2.0 (https://commoncrawl.org/faq/)
BrowserURL:Page=5&Ident=4660&FontSize=1
BrowserCurrentPage: /disneyland-article.aspx
Login: 0
FilterBy: 0
SortBy: 0