The theme park industry was hit hard by the global pandemic to say the least. Walt Disney World and other parks were shut down for months, and when they reopened, it was under new conditions that greatly limited what the parks were able to offer. While things are certainly trending in a positive direction, it's unclear exactly when things will be "back to normal" from a park perspective. And even when that does happen, it's too be expected that many might still be apprehensive about going out in crowds that size. But while there are certainly some that are putting off trips to Walt Disney World due to safety concerns, the biggest factor preventing trips is a much more "normal" consideration, price.
According to a recent poll from Insider, The biggest reason that people won't be visiting Walt Disney World this year isn't that they're not sure it's safe, it's that they feel it's too expensive. More than half of those responding to the poll, both those with and without children, said they felt Walt Disney World was too expensive. About a third of respondents with children, and nearly a quarter of those without kids, said they would like to visit a Disney property. But that the cost prevented them from doing so.
While price was the big reason that most people said they were unlikely to visit the parks this year, safety was also a concern. About 42% of people said they are still concerned about the pandemic, with nearly 30% specifically stating that they felt not enough people were currently vaccinated.
The poll was conducted in mid-May, right in the middle of a number of changes to the parks in Florida, as temperature screening was being phased out and social distancing measures were being reduced. Currently, masks are not required outdoors in Florida parks. Universal Orlando Resort is no longer requiring masks at all for guests who are vaccinated.
In a weird way, this is probably good news for Disney Parks. The fact that the cost of a Disney vacation is the biggest hurdle for most people is the way it usually is, so in that regard things are back to normal. And price is something that Disney has control over. While ticket prices were steadily on the rise before the pandemic, and they're not cheap now, if price ever became so high that people stopped visiting the parks in significant numbers, then Disney could offer discounts to turn that around.
While many simply don't feel they can afford a Disney vacation, there are plenty more that can, and as long as there are enough of those people, the pricing issue isn't likely to change. It is certainly frustrating. On the one hand, if prices were significantly lower, the parks would be packed on a daily basis and visiting them likely wouldn't be a lot of fun. But at the same time it's upsetting that so many that want to go to Disney Parks can't because of the cost.