Disney’s theme parks had a “fantastic quarter” for the three-month period ending on July 2, chief financial officer Christine McCarthy said on the company’s latest quarterly earnings call.
Revenue at Disney’s U.S. theme parks and experiences segment (which includes Disney Cruise Line) was $5.4 billion for the quarter, more than double the $2.6 billion for the same quarter in 2021, during which time Disneyland ended its COVID-19 closure.
The domestic parks division reported $1.6 billion in operating income, while international parks were still in the red, reporting a $64 million operating loss. Not a surprise, since Shanghai Disneyland was closed for all but the last three days of the quarter, and Hong Kong Disneyland was shuttered for part of April.
McCarthy said that theme park attendance at Disney World and Disneyland in the quarter was “slightly below” 2019 levels. With Disney’s park reservation system, however, attendance growth is not necessarily the company’s goal.
“We have delivered significantly higher revenue and operating income over that same time period,” McCarthy said. “This approach also provides flexibility with levers we can adjust if demand were to shift.”
One such shift could be caused by a recession. Historically, Disney theme parks have been hit hard by recessions as vacation spending declines, but if a recession is coming, company executives are not seeing signs of declining demand.
“I think a lot of onlookers look at our park business and try to sum up our success recently and say that it has something to do with pent-up demand,” Disney CEO Bob Chapek said. “Certainly there is pent-up demand, but what we’re seeing is far more resilient, far more long-lasting.”
Should demand start to drop off, McCarthy said one of the “levers” the company could use to attract more guests is to reduce the number of blockout dates for annual passholders. Right now, annual passes at both Disney World and Disneyland are suspended with the exception of the lowest-tier, weekday-only Pixie Dust Pass at Disney World.