US Disney theme park spending offsets impact of Hurricane Matthew

US Disney theme park spending offsets impact of Hurricane Matthew

Higher spending at Disney theme parks in the US helped offset lower attendance as Hurricane Matthew affected growth in the final quarter of 2016.

Revenues for the parks and resorts division of the Walt Disney Company rose by 6% to $4.6 billion with operating income up by 13% to $1.1 billion over the same three months in 2015.

The increase in guest spending was due to higher average ticket prices, food and beverage spending and average hotel room rates.

The improvement in operating income at Disney’s US operations was primarily due to growth at its parks and resorts and Disney Cruise Line.

“The growth in the quarter was unfavourably impacted by Hurricane Matthew at our domestic operations and a shift in the timing of the new year’s holiday relative to our fiscal periods,” the company said.

“Attendance reflected the prior-year benefit of the 60th anniversary celebration at Disneyland Resort, the impact in the current quarter from Hurricane Matthew at Walt Disney World Resort and the impact of the new year’s holiday shift.

“At our cruise line, growth was due to higher average ticket prices and lower dry-dock expenses.

“A portion of the dry-dock costs for the Disney Wonder were incurred in the current quarter whereas all of the dry-dock costs for the Disney Dream were incurred in the prior-year first quarter.”

Growth at international operations was due to the opening of Shanghai Disney Resort in the third quarter of the previous year and higher results at both Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland Resort.

“Disneyland Paris benefited from a full period of operations, whereas the park was closed for four days in the prior-year quarter. At Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, the increase was due to cost efficiency initiatives,” the company said.

Chairman and CEO Robert Iger described the parks and resorts division as delivering “excellent results”.

However, overall net income for Walt Disney Company fell by 14% year-on-year to $2.5 billion as revenues slipped by 3% to $14.8 billion.

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