Two theme park-related earnings reports on Wednesday showed disappointing results at certain parks, a troubling sign that their post-pandemic growth has cooled off.
SeaWorld Entertainment reported its third quarter earnings Wednesday morning. Compared to the same time period in 2022, the company reported declines in attendance (down 2.8 percent), net income (8.2 percent), total revenue (3 percent), and adjusted EBITDA (2.8 percent).
Through the first nine months of 2023, attendance across the SeaWorld chain has dropped by around 400,000 guests, or 2.1 percent.
SeaWorld CEO Marc Swanson said, “Our attendance levels are still below the total attendance levels we achieved in 2019 and well below our historical high attendance of approximately 25 million guests recorded in 2008.”
Swanson pinned the drops in guest visits on “significantly adverse weather” throughout the quarter, “including some combination of unusual heat, cold, rain and/or the fall-out from Canadian wildfires.”
Also on Wednesday, Disney’s Parks, Experiences, and Products division reported what appeared to be a solid 13 percent jump in revenue in the company’s fourth quarter ending Sept. 30. However, it was Disneyland and the company’s international parks, along with growth in Disney Cruise Line and the Disney Vacation Club timeshare business, which carried the division, as Walt Disney World had what the company called “lower results” in attendance and guest spending — without offering specifics.
Still, Disney CEO Bob Iger tried to put a positive spin on the report for Florida.
“Even in the case of Walt Disney World, where we have a tough comparison to the prior year, when you look at this year’s numbers compared to pre-pandemic levels in fiscal 19, we’ve seen growth in revenue and operating income of over 25 percent and 30 percent, respectively, over the last five years,” Iger said.
Iger reiterated the company’s plans to “turbocharge growth” in the division over the next 10 years, though Dinsey’s interim CFO, Kevin Lansberry, cautioned that the investments will move gradually in the first half of the decade.