- Disney said visitor spending at its US parks is up 40% from pre-pandemic levels.
- Guests spend a lot on tickets, hotels, food and drinks, and merchandise.
- New paid services that allow guests to skip lines are also paying off for Disney, the company said.
Visitors to Disney parks are spending heavily these days, even more than pre-pandemic levels.
Disney reported second-quarter earnings on Wednesday, beating Wall Street expectations by
subscriber growth and report that revenue from its Parks, Experiences and Products segment more than doubled compared to last year. And while the pandemic continues to affect Disney’s parks in Asia, its parks in the US are seeing a big boost.
Chief Executive Officer Bob Chapek called its national parks’ performance “outstanding” in the second quarter due to high volume, in addition to high guest spending.
“They continue to fire flat out, fueled by strong demand coupled with personalized and personalized guest experience enhancements that increased per capita spending by more than 40% compared to 2019,” Chapek said.
It is the second quarter in a row that Disney has reported a 40% increase in spending compared to pre-pandemic times.
So how do Disney World and Disneyland visitors spend so much? A combination of inflated prices and the ability to pay to skip the queues.
Ticket prices are on the rise
In February, the popular Disney theme park blog WDW News Today reported that Disney raised multi-day ticket prices for guests visiting its Florida parks. Visitors looking to purchase four- to 10-day passes saw an increase of between 2% and 6%, according to the site’s tracking, the first time Disney made a significant adjustment to ticket prices since March 2019, it reported. CNBC.
Special experiences cost even more. The newly opened two-night Star Wars experience at Disney World, which has had a “phenomenal” response so far, Chapek said, starts at $4,809 for two guests.
At Disneyland in California, prices increased an average of 6% last October, with some ticket prices increasing as much as 8%.
Hotels have also become more expensive
Disney said in its earnings that it’s seeing “higher average daily hotel room rates,” which is helping to boost guest spending.
The Washington Post reported in March that rates were rising sharply at several Disney World hotels. At the Pop Century Resort, a budget option near the Epcot theme park, the cheapest room was $95 in 2013; this year it had risen to $168, an increase of 77%. Rooms at Port Orleans Riverside and Animal Kingdom Lodge, two other Disney World hotels, are up more than 60% over the same period, the Post reported.
Spending on food, beverages and merchandise has increased
Disney said in its earnings that spending on food and beverages has increased, as has spending on merchandise at its parks’ gift shops.
While Disney didn’t dive into the details, it’s easy to see how that expense would add up. For example, the new Star Wars experience includes a curated themed menu, access to a Star Wars-themed lounge, and gift shops with Star Wars costumes and other merchandise.
A Disney World visitor told the Post that she and her husband spent $600 on food alone during their visit; another said her family of four spent a total of $1,100 on a one-day visit, which included tickets, food and merchandise.
Skipping the lines is generating revenue for Disney
In December, Disney launched two new “enhancements” for guests visiting its parks: Genie Plus and Lightning Lanes.
Genie Plus allows guests to pay $15 or $20, in Florida and California, respectively, to skip the line at select attractions in the parks. Visitors can also pay to access individual “Lightning Lanes” at on-demand attractions, where they select an arrival time and skip the line.
During Disney’s first-quarter earnings call in February, Chapek said that more than a third of visitors to its national parks purchased one or both services the previous quarter, and more than 50% did so during the holidays.
“Although we anticipated that these products would be popular, we were surprised by the reception,” said Chapek.