The announcement that the Los Angeles metropolitan area will host the 2028 Summer Olympic Games raises an interesting dilemma for the region’s tourist attractions.
In 1984, the last time they were here, Disneyland experienced some of the smallest summer time crowds in its history then, as many locals left town.
So, do you scale up for the summer of 2028 in the hope of attracting a larger share of the tourists who will come to Southern California for the games? Or do you plan to scale back that summer, figuring that the Olympics will hog all the regional tourism business for itself, scaring off any other potential visitors?
Making this question ever more interesting is the fact for theme park fans is the fact that the 2028 games will mark the third consecutive Summer Olympics to be held in a metropolis that also is home to a Disney theme park resort, following Tokyo in 2020 and Paris in 2024. That gives Disney Parks three opportunities to cash in – or scale back – in the face of Olympic competition.
Disney’s already made its choice clear for the Tokyo games. Disney’s partners at the Oriental Land Company have announced an ambitious expansion plan for the Tokyo Disney Resort, with a new “Beauty and the Beast” dark ride joining a “Big Hero 6” ride and a Broadway-style live performance theater all opening in the spring of 2020 at Tokyo Disneyland, just before the start of the Tokyo games. Tokyo DisneySea will be getting its own installation of Disney’s Soarin’ ride the year before, in 2019.
Disney’s competitor Universal Studios Japan in Osaka, three hours by train from Tokyo, is not sitting out the Olympics, either. Universal has announced that it will open its widely anticipated Super Nintendo World video game-themed land in 2020, as well. All of these projects will help make Japan a wildly competitive, and attractive, destination for the world’s tourists that year.
Universal Studios’ parent company, NBCUniversal, holds the U.S. broadcast rights to the Olympics, giving Universal’s theme parks an opportunity for official tie-ins to the games that Disney, owner of rivals ABC and ESPN, will lack.
The Los Angeles Olympic bid calls for the media center for the 2028 games to be built at Universal Studios Hollywood, becoming a movie soundstage after the games. That might complicate Universal’s decision…