The Walt Disney Co.'s parks and resorts division saw a 25% drop in operating income for fiscal year 2009 to $1.4 billion, compared to the previous year. Revenues for the division were down 7% to $10.7 billion for the year ended Oct. 3.
For the fourth quarter, operating income at the parks and resorts division decreased 17% to $344 million, and revenues fell 4% to $2.84 billion.
Excluding the impact of an additional week in the fourth quarter of 2009 over 2008, combined attendance at the parks was up 3%, Disney CFO Tom Staggs said on the company's earnings call. A 15% attendance increase at Disneyland in Southern California offset a 4% decline at Walt Disney World in Orlando.
"Not surprisingly, our promotional packages led to greater room and admissions discounting, which contributed to softer guest spending," Staggs said.
Per capita guest spending at domestic parks decreased 10% and per-room spending at the resorts was off by 7%, Staggs reported. He added that first quarter bookings for next year are running roughly 5% behind this time last year.
However, he noted that recently announced promotions have sparked a "pickup in bookings."
On a cautionary note, Staggs said that the company expects its pension and post-retirement medical expenses to increase by about $270 million this year, driven in part by lower discount rates. About half of that will impact the parks and resorts segment, he warned.
The parks and resorts division -- which includes the worldwide theme parks and resorts, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Vacation Club and Adventures by Disney -- fared better than some of Disney's other segments.
Walt Disney Studios, Disney's film production arm, saw a striking 84% decline in operating income for the year from $1.1 billion to $175 million.
However, the company's television, cable and radio segment, emerged from the year least scathed with only a 4% decline in operation income to $4.77 billion.
Disney's net income for the year fell 25% to $3.3 billion, and revenues slid 4% to $36.15 billion. For the fourth quarter, Disney saw its net income increase 18% to $895 million, and revenues too inched up 4% to $9.87 billion.