Yesterday Walt Disney World announced that they saw slight declines in park attendance over the past few months. Theme park attendance at the company’s domestic parks fell 3 percent overall in the three months ending on July 3, the Walt Disney Company said as it announced third quarter financial results. Walt Disney World attendance dropped 2 percent while Disneyland saw a 4 percent decrease in visitors.
Disney said the fall in park attendance was in part due to a shift in timing of the Easter holiday in relation to the company’s financial reporting periods. Disney estimated that park attendance only fell one percent from year-to-year after the holiday period is taken into account.Park guests did spend 5 percent more in Q3, which the company attributed to higher average ticket prices.Revenue from Disney’s parks and resorts increased 3 percent to $2.8 billion in the quarter, while operating income decreased 8 percent to $477 million.
Over the past few months, Disney has attempted to scale back promotional offers for theme park visitors, a strategy the company reiterated during Tuesday’s earnings conference call. Jay Rasulo, Disney’s chief financial officer, said the company expected to see fewer visitors as discounts were scaled back.In May, Rasulo pointed to more guest spending in exchange for lower attendance.
In the second quarter, Disney said occupancy rates at the company’s hotels fell 8 percent, but both guest and room spending increased by the same amount. Rasulo said the company expected to be back at “normalized” pricing by 2011.One year ago, Disney reported that occupancy at its Orlando hotels was 91 percent, which it attributed in part to promotional discounts. In the past two quarters, occupancy has been 81 percent.Walt Disney World saw a slight increase in hotel occupancy in the most recent three months, to 83 percent.
Overall, Disney’s revenue grew 16 percent from last year to $10 billion.Disney credited its success in large part to the success of film releases “Toy Story 3”, “Iron Man 2” and “Alice in Wonderland”. Studio entertainment revenue grew 30 percent from year-to-year in the third quarter.Disney’s largest segment of growth was interactive media, which grew 74 percent from a year ago.
So, now would appear to be the right time to make a trip to Orlando and Disney World. The parks will be more enjoyable as lines are less and Disney are still offering some promotional offers. There hotel figures are interesting and maybe it’s a sign that people don’t want to stay at overpriced hotels, no matter how convenient, when there’s a better option just 5 to 10 minutes from the parks in the form of a vacation home?