CEO Bob Iger says Disney World business has slackened amid a ‘softening’ of tourism | Orlando Area News | Orlando

Disney CEO Bob Iger didn’t address the entertainment giant’s continuing fight with Gov. Ron DeSantis during a quarterly earnings call Wednesday.

But Iger noted Walt Disney World’s business has slackened amid an overall “softening” of tourism in many pockets of Florida.

“We saw softer performance at Walt Disney World from the prior year, coming off our highly successful 50th anniversary celebration,” Iger said during the conference call, which mostly focused on the company’s online streaming services.

“Also, as post-COVID pent-up demand continues to level off in Florida, local tax data shows evidence of some softening in several major Florida tourism markets. And the strong dollar is expected to continue tamping down international visitation to the state,” Iger added. “However, Walt Disney World is still performing well above pre-COVID levels, 21 percent higher in revenue and 29 percent higher in operating income compared to fiscal 2019.”

The state’s second-quarter tourism numbers will be out in the next couple of weeks. Orange County recently announced tourist-development tax collections on hotel and vacation-rental room nights were down more than 7 percent in June from June 2022.

Iger didn’t bring up —- and no questions were asked about —- the company’s ongoing legal and ideological clashes with DeSantis that began after Disney opposed a 2022 law that restricts instruction in public schools on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Also, the company’s decision in May to scrap plans to build a nearly $1 billion office complex in the Orlando area and add 2,000 jobs in Florida was not brought up during the earnings call.

“We’re making numerous investments globally to grow our parks’ business over the next five years, and I’m very optimistic about the future of this business over the long term,” Iger said.

The company’s quarterly report said a “decrease at Walt Disney World Resort was primarily due to higher costs and lower volumes.”

“The increase in costs was attributable to inflation and accelerated depreciation related to the planned closure of Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser,” the report said. “Lower volumes were due to decreases in occupied room nights and attendance.”

The report noted growth at Disney Cruise Line through an increase in passenger cruise days.

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