Disney posts more strong financial results from its theme parks

February 6, 2018, 4:34 PM · Disney continues to crush it with its theme park business, reporting a big 13% jump in revenue during the three months ending in December when compared with the same period the year before. That pushed quarterly revenue to $5.2 billion for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, according to the company.

Operating income was up 21% in Disney's theme park division, offsetting declines or flat performances in all of Disney's other businesses.

Disney reported higher attendance and guest spending at its domestic theme parks for the quarter, driven by higher prices on tickets and room rates and more spending on food, beverages, and merchandise. Pandora: The World of Avatar drove record attendance at Disney's Animal Kingdom and to the Walt Disney World Resort in 2017, Disney reported. Attendance also was up at the troubled Disneyland Paris Resort, thanks to its recent 25th anniversary. If you want to crunch some numbers yourself, here is Disney's press release.

Disney CEO Robert Iger told investors in a conference call that the success of its recent spending on theme parks "deepens our confidence" in future investments in the parks, including the upcoming Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge lands and expansions at the Walt Disney World Resort in advance of its 50th anniversary in 2021.

Rival Universal also is enjoying strong performance from its theme parks. Parent Comcast reported last month that Universal Parks and Resorts posted $1.6 billion in revenue for the quarter, representing a 9% year-over-year increase.

Replies (13)

February 6, 2018 at 5:57 PM · Note to Disney. Please use some of those profits to fix animatronics and other broken effects. Indiana Jones and the Yeti are just the tip of the ice burg.
February 6, 2018 at 7:28 PM · Good call, Randy. Fix disco Yeti with your kajillion dollars, Disney!
February 6, 2018 at 11:19 PM · I always felt that the theme parks were Disney's most direct connection to it's customers. If people had an awesome experience at the theme parks, it would fuel a passion for all things Disney. I felt that way as a kid. The movies were good, but what really made me a passionate fan was Disneyland, to be able to experience the movies in three dimension.

This is what Eisner forgot. Yes, he built Disney/MGM Studios and Euro Disney, but when Euro Disney failed, he blamed it on the Imagineers and vowed never to spend so much on a park, so we got California Adventure, the Paris Studios Park and Hong Kong Disneyland.

Iger was also lagging behind, putting most of Disney's efforts into Shanghai, while leaving the domestic parks without major additions for years. Disney also put an emphasis on My Magic Plus over new additions, giving Universal the opportunity to up their game and take away some of Disney's market share.

The theme parks should be Disney's priority. Cultivate fans there and you have passionate fanatics, just witness the crowds at Disneyland. When a movie comes out, it has box office, video and merchandise revenue. But what keeps that movie's fandom alive is the theme parks. Indiana Jones is a 30 some years old franchise. Yes, people remember the movies, but what probably still keeps it in the public's imagination are the theme park attractions.

February 7, 2018 at 3:26 AM · It's about time they start to invest more in the parks - increase space and capacity. The experience is becoming miserable with such huge increases in attendance.
February 7, 2018 at 7:58 AM · Wow, just think - if Disney would have earned 5.3 billion they could have possibly considered refurbishing the Disney World monorail.
February 7, 2018 at 8:43 AM · I agree with Disfan... Disney consistently sees return on investment in their parks and suffers "disappointing numbers" when they try to be "efficient".

I wish investing in the parks meant more investing in the Cast Members. The thousand dollar bonus is only nice if you don't understand how much money they could be spending on their people. It's honestly insulting. So many Cast Member "perks" and "benefits" end up being tax write offs or business deals that result in benefits to the company.

Sorry for the rant. I just it was better for all those hourly Cast Members... and Team Members too!

February 7, 2018 at 9:42 AM · This is all good news for theme park fans! Once all the new projects are done, I think the 4 parks could easily be full day experiences (though I already think they are, but others disagree). As long as each park has something impressive to offer, I'll continue spending my meager teacher salary to take my family and enjoy it. Sure, it costs me a fortune, but I've honestly never been able to find another vacation that gives me and my family the most consistent bang for our buck.
February 7, 2018 at 11:45 AM · I love the fact that Disney is reinvesting billions into their parks. But I hope they will also take the profits and invest it in staffing. Pay the cast members properly, and stop cutting staffing and ride capacity during less busy times at the parks. The parks are pretty busy all year anyway, hence the huge and growing profits for their parks division.
February 7, 2018 at 12:00 PM · Queue the annual admission price increase announcement...
February 7, 2018 at 12:28 PM · All I hear is that Disney is again cutting money on every corner because of the investments that they are doing at the moment. Anyone remember #ThanksShanghai?
February 7, 2018 at 3:52 PM · #THANKSShanghi indeed!

The run away success of The Shanghai resort is another Iger SUCCESS.

As a shareholder, I say... #THANKSShanghai!

February 7, 2018 at 4:12 PM · Disney’s Parks & Resorts segment reported 1Q18 revenue of $5.154 billion and operating income of $1.347


Comcast’s NBC Universal Parks & Resorts segment reported 4Q17 revenue of $1.461 billion and adjusted EBITDA of $661 million

February 9, 2018 at 2:36 PM · Disney's parks are more popular, but they also have much more of them. And their parks division includes the cruise line.

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