In the final three months of 2010 Orlando theme park Walt Disney World saw a 54 percent quarterly profit growth.
Disney said it made $1.3 billion for the three months that ended January 1, the first quarter in the company’s fiscal year. That number was up from $844 million a year earlier. Companywide revenue rose 10 percent to $10.7 billion.
“It’s a great start to a new fiscal year,” Disney CO, President and Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger said.
This was the strongest performance Disney has seen since being dragged down by the recession three years ago. The unit posted a 25 percent increase in operating profit—to $468 million—on sales growth of 8 percent—to $2.9 billion.
Disney stated that the improvement was driven primarily by gains in guest spending, as the theme park continued to pull back the discounts it had used to sustain the business during the recession, and guests bought more souvenirs and food.
Guest spending wasn’t the only thing that has improved in recent months. Attendance has also perked up, by 2 percent, between the two coasts. Disney also said Disney World attendance was up “more than 2 percent” during the quarter while Disneyland was “slightly down” from last year. The increase might be from the huge crowds being drawn to Orlando by Universal Orlando’s popular Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios.
“They built a great property down there,” Iger said during a conference call with analysts. “And I believe when a competitor puts a good property in the marketplace, it brings more people to the market. So, I think it stimulates attendance to Orlando and we all know that’s good for us. Because we usually get a good piece of all visitation to Orlando.”
Disney has also seen financial gains with their many hotels. Room reservations at its U.S. hotels are currently running 3 percent ahead of the pace set last year at this time. But Iger is still hesitant believing consumers still haven’t reverted to their pre-recession habits. He noted that travelers have not yet begun booking their trips further ahead of their travel dates.
“You still have an environment that, while less challenging certainly than it was a year ago, still has its challenges,” Iger said though he added that Disney’s parks business is better positioned than in previous downturns for a recovery because it now has more cheaply priced, or “value” category hotel rooms.
“We’re more accessible and we’re more accessibly priced than we were,” Iger said.
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