Profits soared across the Walt Disney Co.’s vacation businesses during the first three months of 2013, surging 73 percent on the strength of new investments in cruise ships and theme-park attractions in Florida and California

A booming parks business helped lift Disney to 32 percent profit growth during the second quarter of its fiscal year, the Burbank, Calif.-based company announced Tuesday afternoon.

Disney said it turned a companywide profit of $1.5 billion for the quarter, up from $1.1 billion a year ago. Sales climbed 10 percent to nearly $10.6 billion.

“We’re obviously pleased with our second quarter,” Disney Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger said in a prepared statement.

No unit performed better for Disney than its parks division, where Disney has plowed close to $6 billion into new projects over the last few years.

Operating income at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts skyrocketed 73 percent to $383 million, up from $222 million a year ago. Revenue jumped 14 percent to $3.3 billion.

Disney reported gains across its holdings, including higher attendance and guest spending at Walt Disney World and Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. Hotel bookings also rose in Orlando, where Disney last year opened the roughly 2,000-room Art of Animation Resort.

Another big boost came from the Disney Fantasy, the second of two new cruise ships that Disney has added to its fleet. The 4,000-passnger ship, which is based at Port Canaveral in Brevard County, had not yet begun sailing during Disney’s second quarter last year.

The U.S. businesses benefited from the favorable timing during the quarter of the New Year’s and Easter holidays.

Disney reported lesser growth at its international parks, thanks to higher guest spending at Disneyland Paris and larger crowds at Hong Kong Disneyland. ___


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Tags: disney, earnings, theme parks

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