Walt Disney World and the Disneyland Resort continue to see “strong demand” and increased earnings, Disney CEO Bob Chapek said on the company’s latest quarterly earnings call Wednesday.
The U.S. side of Disney’s Parks and Experiences segment — which includes theme parks, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Vacation Club and Adventures by Disney — reported $4.8 billion in revenue and $1.8 billion in operating income for the quarter that ended on April 2. Per capita guest spending jumped by more than 40 percent compared to 2019, which Chapek attributed to “customized and personalized guest experience enhancements,” namely the Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane ride reservation systems.
“We continue to see really strong demand and we’re encouraged by the trends we’re seeing, particular as we’re going to get some improvements to our international visitation,” Chapek said.
Chapek singled out the new Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser for praise during the call. He said that guest feedback for the immersive hotel experience has been positive and he expects “100 percent utilization” of available rooms through the end of this current quarter. That’s despite Galactic Starcruiser being among the most expensive experiences at Disney World.
The picture isn’t as sunny for Disney’s international parks. Both Shanghai Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland were closed for portions of the last quarter due to COVID-19 restrictions in China, and the Shanghai resort remains closed. Disney chief financial officer Christine McCarthy said for the current quarter, the parks division could see a “$350 million impact” because of those interruptions in operations.
No analyst asked about what is arguably the hottest topic involving Disney parks these days: Florida’s new law, championed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, that would eliminate the Disney-controlled governing body Reedy Creek Improvement District that provides utilities and public services to Walt Disney World. Chapek has yet to make a public statement about the law.