The Disney company's progressive agenda is no secret—as recent films flaunt gay characters as wholesome and adorable—but it could be severely impacting their bottom line, particularly when it comes to tourist destinations.
Combined with the Orlando location, the push for LGBT inclusivity through a family-friendly norm is driving away Christian families, says C. Britt Beemer, founder and chairman of America's Research Group.
"Since the Pulse nightclub shootings a year ago in Orlando, I've observed a significant number of evangelical Christians shift their vacation plans: They will see the Ark [Encounter] instead of visiting Disney in their own backyard," Beemer says.
"As I survey these future visitors to the Ark, however, what I do find is genuine concern about how children might be influenced by the pro-gay/lesbian movement in Orlando," Beemer continues. "The city of Orlando has so much embraced the pro-gay/lesbian campaign after Pulse that many evangelical Christians worry—with justification—that this crazed jihadist attack on America was not an attack by a jihadist but by an anti-gay individual."
The Orlando Sentinel reports decreases at the Disney parks for 2016 ranged from 0.5 percent to 0.7 percent, including a drop of 97,000 visitors at Magic Kingdom.
Meanwhile, Christian-themed attractions like the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum are seeing unprecedented growth.
Beemer says the number of Floridians wanting to visit the Ark has doubled from 5.1 percent to 10.9 percent since the Pulse shooting in June 2016.
"We rejoice in seeing how God has blessed this world-renowned attraction, which is drawing visitors from all over America and dozens of countries," AiG President/CEO Ken Ham says. AiG funded both the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum. "When I give lectures in the museum's large lecture hall, I ask for a show of hands of guests who travelled here from outside our tri-state area of Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana. About 95 percent of the hands go up. Also, we have several visitors from other countries each day."
The Ark Encounter is expected to have 2 million visitors within the next three years.
"It will become a viable alternative for family-vacation dollars," Beemer says.
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