Universal Orlando May Be Rebounding Faster Than Disney World, Analysts Say

Visitors drive past a sign welcoming them to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida-Getty - H 2020
GREGG NEWTON/Gregg Newton/AFP via Getty Images

Both Florida destinations reopened to greatly diminished capacity.

Universal Orlando is bouncing back faster than Walt Disney World attendance-wise, according to a new report from Deutsche research analysts Bryan Kraft and Benjamin Soff.

Released on Thursday, Kraft and Soff note in their report that Universal, which reopened its theme parks in June (to a greatly diminished capacity), is seeing an “uplift in admissions," highlighting Saturdays when attendance is down 64 percent from 2019 crowds.

In comparison, Disney World, which reopened its them parks in July (also to a greatly diminished capacity) is operating at 80 percent less than last year, according to the Deutsche report.

"Given this ongoing improvement in Universal's attendance and declining new daily COVID-19 cases in Florida, we believe that Disney World will also soon see some benefit," the report states. "At present, Epcot and Animal Kingdom are outperforming Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios."

Disney and Universal shuttered all their domestic parks in mid-March due to the pandemic. Thus far, only the Florida destinations have reopened with new, strict health and safety measures in place. Disney recently announced it was slightly reducing the operating hours of Disney World, CEO Bob Chapek noting in the most recent earnings call that attendance was lower than anticipated due to increased cancellations.

Recently, Florida opened a novel coronavirus testing center on Walt Disney World property. The testing site is in Osceola County at Disney's main gate office complex near Animal Kingdom.

As for California, Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood remain closed indefinitely. However, both destinations' shopping and dining districts are open for business.