- Mar 20, 2018
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Shorter wait times for rides and more discount offers are signs of thinning crowds at the theme parks.
Visitors to Disney theme parks this summer are encountering something they haven’t seen in a while: elbow room.
Travel analysts and advisers say traffic to Disney’s U.S. parks, and some rival parks, has slowed this summer. Data from a travel company that tracks line-waiting time at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., shows that the Independence Day weekend was one of the slowest in nearly a decade.
Disney executives have said they have expected weaker earnings from their U.S. parks this year. The Orlando-area resort is even offering hotel discounts around Christmas, typically a peak period.
Travel advisers and industry analysts say the slowdown is the latest sign that Disney’s recent price hikes and changes to park operations have soured some families on visiting the Most Magical Place on Earth….
…..Park visitors in recent weeks have had significantly lower wait times to get on rides, according to data from Touring Plans, a company that tracks wait times at major amusement parks, including Disney World and Disneyland in California. Industry analysts say shorter wait times generally correlate with smaller crowds….
….Still, the July 4 lull signals that tourists have cooled somewhat on theme-park vacations, travel professionals say.
“From what we’re seeing with our bookings, that pent-up demand has somewhat transitioned to cruises and Europe,” says Greg Antonelle, co-owner of MickeyTravels, a travel agency based in Windermere, Fla….
….The recent flood of promotions suggests that greater savings could be on the horizon for next year. “If I were going to Disney World, I would probably hold off until 2024,” Wolfe says.