Disney reported that theme park revenue increased 9% during the year, to $14.1 billion. The company reported that both Walt Disney World and the Disneyland Resort hit record attendance numbers for the year, though attendance was down at the Disneyland Resort during the last three months of the company's fiscal year, when compared with the same period last year. Remember, July-September of 2012 were the first three full months that Cars Land and the new California Adventure were open to the public, and Disney didn't offer any major new openings for visitors this year.
Attendance also was down at Disneyland Paris, but for the entire year there — off 6.9 percent, from 16 million to 14.9 million visitors. But revenue at the Paris theme parks and hotels was down just 1.1 percent, thanks to higher spending per guest.
The story was the same across all of Disney's theme park resorts. Higher prices for tickets, hotel rooms, food, souvenirs led guests to spend more on their Disney visits. But the increased prices haven't hurt attendance at Walt Disney World, which is up for the year and for the latest three months. Recent declines at Disneyland haven't been enough to drag down overall revenue there, either. So long as people keep showing to pay higher prices, one should expect that Disney will keep raising them.
Here's the company's official statement on its theme park division:
"For the year, operating income growth reflected increases at our domestic parks and resorts, Disney Vacation Club and Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, partially offset by a decrease at Disneyland Paris and higher pre-opening costs at Shanghai Disney Resort.
"Operating income growth at our domestic parks and resorts was due to increased guest spending, attendance and occupied room nights, partially offset by higher costs. Increased guest spending was due to higher average ticket prices, food, beverage and merchandise spending and average daily hotel room rates. Cost increases were driven by spending on new guest offerings and labor and other cost inflation. Significant new guest offerings included MyMagic+, the expansions of Disney California Adventure and the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort and Disney's Art of Animation Resort. The increase at Disney Vacation Club was primarily driven by sales of The Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, which is a higher margin property.
"Operating income growth at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort was due to higher guest spending and attendance, partially offset by higher costs driven by resort expansion and labor and other cost inflation. At Disneyland Paris, increased guest spending was more than offset by lower attendance, fewer occupied room nights and labor and other cost inflation. Increased guest spending at our international resorts was due to higher average ticket prices, the opening of the World of Disney store in July 2012 at Disneyland Paris and increased average daily hotel room rates."
In other company news, Disney announced that Episode VII of Star Wars will debut December 18, 2015. That freed the May slot on Disney's 2015 release calendar, which now will go to the theme park-themed Tomorrowland movie, written and directed by Brad Bird and starring George Clooney, which is soon to be filming in Orlando.
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