Analysts Warn Disneyland Faces 32 Million Attendance Drop Over 2 Years

Image Source: OC Register

The OC Register reports that the Wall Street analysts Cowen and Company have a report that shows a grim picture of attendance losses at Disney’s Parks. A new analyst’s report also shows that Disneyland faces a drop in attendance of 32 million visitors over two years amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but that pales in comparison to the nearly 100 million guests Disney’s U.S. parks could lose during that time.

“With the spread of COVID-19 having accelerated in the U.S., we expect a prolonged impact to Disney’s parks,” according to the Cowen report.

Disney’s U.S. theme parks could see 97.7 million fewer visitors passing through its turnstiles in fiscal years 2020 and 2021, based on forecasts from the Cowen report and attendance data from the Themed Entertainment Association. The Cowen analysts don’t expect Disney’s theme park division to recover from the pandemic and return to profitability until 2025.

Both Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure remain closed until further notice. Walt Disney World’s four theme parks reopened in mid-July with strict capacity constraints.

Other Wall Street analysts paint a better picture of Disney’s theme park rebound than Cowen and Company. Goldman Sachs analysts expect Disney theme park attendance and revenues to recover by 2022 or 2023.

The Anaheim theme parks have already lost 10.2 million visitors during the coronavirus closure, based on TEA data.

The Cowen report forecasts that attendance at Disney’s U.S. theme parks will decline 35% in fiscal 2021 on top of a 47% drop in fiscal 2020 with capacity constraints expected to continue until mid-2021.

“We had previously assumed that the spread of COVID-19 would be relatively halted with social distancing requirements significantly lessened by late 2020,” according to the Cowen report. “We have now extended that timeline out to at least mid-2021. The situation remains very fluid and we do not rule out the possibility that the impact could last even longer.”

Attendance at Disney’s U.S. theme parks in 2021 is expected to fall dramatically to about one-third of 2019 levels, according to the Cowen report.

In Anaheim, Disneyland’s attendance could decline from 18.7 million in 2019 to 6.4 million in 2021, according to Cowen estimates and TEA data. DCA’s attendance could drop from 9.9 million in 2019 to 3.4 million in 2021, based on the Cowen and TEA estimates. Combined, Disney’s Anaheim theme parks could lose 32.1 million visitors in two years, according to the estimates.

That pales in comparison to the potential attendance losses at Disney’s Florida theme parks.

The Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme parks lost 18.6 million visitors during the nearly four-month COVID-19 closure of the Florida parks, based on TEA data.

Disney’s four Florida parks could lose 65.6 million visitors in two years, based on the Cowen and TEA estimates.

Combined, Disney’s U.S. parks could see a 97.7 million decline in visitors by late September 2021 when the company’s fiscal year ends, according to the report.

This assumes that Disney’s U.S. parks aren’t forced to reclose like Hong Kong Disneyland.

“Given the reaccelerating epidemic in the U.S. however, we think the risk that the parks have to reclose after any opening is rising rapidly,” according to the Cowen report.