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Disney Theme Parks’ New Attractions Help Drive Record Attendance

Aug 08, 2013 3:30 am

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Disney was hoping for strong numbers after investing heavily in both Orlando (on the New Fantasyland) and Anaheim (Cars Land).

— Eliza Ronalds-Hannon

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Joe Burbank  / Orlando Sentinel/MCT

Fireworks and confetti fly over Cinderella Castle during the grand opening ceremony for the New Fantasyland at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, Thursday, December 6, 2012, in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Joe Burbank / Orlando Sentinel/MCT


Disney’s U.S. parks marked record attendance in the spring and early summer, becoming one of the biggest moneymakers for the company, officials reported Tuesday.

The Walt Disney Co. reported its earnings between March 31 and June 29 — a time that includes the end of spring-break crowds and the beginning of summer tourism. The parks helped contribute to the overall company’s 4 percent growth in revenue over the same period a year earlier, to $11.6 billion.

Earnings remained virtually unchanged for the quarter, at $1.85 billion.

Attendance at the Anaheim and Orlando, Fla., parks increased 3 percent, with both resorts setting attendance records for the quarter, said Jay Rasulo, the company’s chief financial officer, in a conference call with investors.

Three U.S. parks, including two in Anaheim, stayed open for 24 hours at the start of the Memorial Day weekend. Disneyland also started a new show, “Mickey and the Magical Map.”

Disney no longer breaks out statistics by Anaheim and Florida parks.

The report comes a year after the June 2012 debut of Disney California Adventure’s $1.1 billion makeover, including the new Cars .

“Cars Land, and the impact of that on California Adventure, has continued to show great strength,” said Bob Iger, the company’s chief executive officer.

Tourists at U.S. parks spent 7 percent more than they did last year, partly because of ticket-price increases. The Disneyland Resort boosted its price by $5 for a one-day, one-park pass, which now costs $92 for adults.

Visits to hotels, as well as spending at them, stayed about the same, Rasulo said. So far this summer, hotels are about 3 percent fuller and tourists are spending about 4 percent more on those rooms.

The parks overall reported a 7 percent increase in revenue.

Overall, the Walt Disney Co. made money from its parks, consumer products and media networks. But the company fell short in its movies and interactive division, which largely makes video games.

(c)2013 The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.) Visit The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.) at www.ocregister.com. Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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