Growing attendance and higher guest spending are driving rising profits at The Walt Disney Company's theme parks, Disney reported today.
"I could not be more proud of our Disney Parks, Experiences and Products segment, which posted its second-best quarter of all time," Disney CEO Bob Chapek said in an investors' conference call.
The Disney Parks, Experiences and Products segment reported revenue of $7.234 billion, up from $3.588 billion in the same period last year, but down slightly from the $7.396 billion the segment reported in 2020, just before the pandemic started closing parks worldwide. The Disney Parks segment reported operating income of $2.450 billion, up from a loss of $119 million in the first quarter of Fiscal year 2021, and up from $2.338 billion in the first quarter of fiscal 2020.
"Growth at our domestic parks and resorts was due to higher guest spending and, to a lesser extent, increased attendance, partially offset by higher costs," Disney reported in its press release. "Guest spending growth was due to an increase in average per capita ticket revenue, higher average daily hotel room rates and an increase in food, beverage and merchandise spending. The increase in average per capita ticket revenue was due to attendance mix and the introduction of Genie+ and Lightning Lane. Higher costs were due to an increase in operating costs, due to volume growth, and higher marketing spending."
"While we anticipated these products would be popular, we have been blown away by the reception in the quarter, when more than a third of domestic park guests purchased either Genie+, Lightning Lane, or both," Chapek said. "That number rose to more than 50% during the holiday period.
"While demand was strong throughout the quarter at both domestic sites, our reservation system enabled us to strategically manage attendance. In fact, their stellar performance was achieved at lower attendance levels than in 2019. As we return to a more normalized environment, we look forward to more fully capitalizing on the extraordinary demand for our parks, along with the already realized yield benefits that took shape this quarter.
"And we of course will continue to invest in the guest experience. I am personally looking forward to Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser at Walt Disney World, a two-night adventure into the most immersive Star Wars story ever created. We are pleased with demand for this premium groundbreaking experience, which will welcome guests starting on March 1. Later this summer, we will debut an innovative new roller coaster at Epcot, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, and open Avengers Campus at Disneyland Paris, where the iconic Quinjet landed a few weeks ago, in advance of the resort's 30th anniversary celebrations."
Update: Followed up with another story, adding Chapek's comments on capacity and staffing issues: Why Disney Needs More Cooks in Its Kitchens
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