When I am feeling down, I always know a good Disney movie will make me feel better. I have always been a Disney lover and a Walt Disney World traveler. They are not lying when they say Walt Disney World is truly the happiest place on earth. I want to dive deeper into the behind the scenes of Disney World that the average person may not be aware of: yearly attendance per park, the overall revenue, food options, and even top rides. As an avid Disney lover, I feel that I have a lot of knowledge on the parks, but not necessarily on the behind the scenes. That is why I took to the internet to learn more about this magical company. It’s a small world after all, but there’s a great big beautiful tomorrow!
As we all know, there are four parks that make up Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. The four being Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. Although it is a fact that everyone has a favorite park, they are all incredible to visit and have their own spark of magic inside. According to David Mumpower with Theme Park Tourist, 157.3 million people visited a Walt Disney theme park in 2018 (Mumpower, 2019). Within his article titled “By the Numbers – Daily Disney Theme Park Traffic,” Mumpower breaks down the numbers of how many people seem to visit each park per day. “Disney The Themed Entertainment Association suggests that 58.3 million guests visited Walt Disney World in calendar 2018” (Mumpower, 2019). He goes on the tell us that, “99 million guests attended all other Disney theme parks while 58.3 million went straight to the Most Magical Place on Earth” (Mumpower, 2019). Magic Kingdom (MK) seems to be the most popular park because of Cinderella’s Castle and the fact that it was the first park opened. There is a completely different kind of magical experience that happens at MK than what is seen at the other three parks. Magic Kingdom averages a daily attendance of 57,148 people compared to a daily average of 37,671 at Animal Kingdom (Mumpower, 2019). However, it is important to note that this average for Animal Kingdom shot up in the last two years solely because of the opening of the new Pandora ride that simulates an Avatar-like experience.
I decided the call up my boyfriend Hunter because he knows more about Disney World than anyone I know, and he participated in a 9-month Disney College Program last year. He told me that although his favorite park is definitely Magic Kingdom because of the fireworks and the atmosphere, he has his favorite parts about each park that make them just as high up on his list of favorite places to be. Hunter was so excited to share his favorite parts of each park with me. He said that “At Epcot you just can’t go there without getting the fish and chips from the United Kingdom pavilion, but then you can’t go to Animal Kingdom without trying to get onto Pandora or the Safari, and then if you go to Hollywood Studios you have to ride Tower of Terror at least 4 times and then Rockin’ Roller-coaster.”
Hunter’s comment about the fish and chips got me thinking about the dining options and fun facts that I could find. While I know there are favorite foods like Dole Whip, Mickey Bars, and the Kitchen Sink, I was curious to know how much of the simpler items does Disney sell in a year? According to Magic Guides, “Walt Disney World has over 300 dining outlets” (MagicGuides). When Hunter was working at Disney for his 9-month program, he was placed in Quick Food Service at Magic Kingdom. When I asked Hunter about his favorite cart to work at, he excitedly said “definitely the castle cart at night because I got to work at the most magical park and I got to watch the Happily Ever After firework show every night while on the clock.” This basically means that he worked in the little food carts that appear all over the park. These carts sell things like Mickey Bars, popcorn, pretzels, water, soda, etc. Magic Guides says that 300,000 pounds of popcorn are served and sold every year (MagicGuides). In addition to popcorn, Magic Guides says that “Disney World serves 10 million hamburgers, 6 million hot dogs, 9 million pounds of French fries, and 1.6 million turkey drumsticks.” When you are eating so much food and walking miles around the parks, staying hydrated is incredibly important. Magic Guides makes it a point to mention that “13 million bottles of water and 75 million Coca-Colas are sold each year at WDW.”
When talking with Hunter, I had him call up his best friend Michelle from his program so that I could ask her some questions about Disney as well. When asking her about her favorite parts of Disney, she actually said “Although I love that parks, there is something so comforting about just lying in bed watching a Disney Movie.” She emphasized her love for Disney+ and the live shows that are put on by performers at the Disney Parks. She said that she and Hunter would go to some of the parks to specifically watch the 4D shows because they were relaxing and genuinely a good time. This conversation with Michelle got me thinking about the overall revenue of the Walt Disney Company. Amy Watson from Statista wrote about the Walt Disney Company 2019 revenue and breaks it down into four sections: Media Networks, Parks, Experiences, and Products, Studio Entertainment, and Direct-to-Consumer and International. As seen in the graphic below, there is so much more the magic of Walt Disney than just the four parks in Florida.
As Walt Disney once said, “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths” (Goalcast, 2017).