As Universal continues to cash in on Harry Potter hype, Disney is looking to Star Wars and MyMagic+ to bring competitive returns to its parks and resorts.
This past quarter was the first full quarter during which the MyMagic+ program was available to all Walt Disney World guests. And about half of the Florida park’s guests are now using the MagicBands, Disney CEO Bob Iger said during Walt Disney Co.’s third-quarter earnings call.
“The plan all along was for [MyMagic+] to enable us to grow revenue, [and] clearly that happens in a variety of ways,” Iger said. “It’s increasing guest satisfaction. So that should have an impact on essentially length of stay, repeat visitation, word of mouth.”
Iger noted that the PhotoPass program that is a built-in option of MyMagic+ is one example of the revenue-generating potential of MyMagic+.
“But there are many more,” Iger added. “We’re very pleased with the growing popularity of MyMagic+ and expect it to contribute to [the parks’] earnings growth starting in the fourth quarter.”
Asked by an analyst whether Disney has a franchise that could serve as a game changer for the Disney parks the same way Harry Potter has been a game changer for Universal, executives responded that they have many.
“We have a lot of them,” said CFO Jay Rasulo. “Cars Land is a great example of it. ... Clearly, Disney Princess is a franchise that is all over our parks globally. Star Wars is going to be just that.”
The parks and resorts division saw its quarterly revenue increase 8%, to $4 billion, and operating income grow 23%, to $848 million.
The revenue growth for the quarter was driven by higher guest spending and higher average ticket prices at the domestic parks. Profit from that growth was partially offset by higher costs associated with the MyMagic+ rollout and an income decrease at Disneyland Paris.
For the entire company, Disney’s revenue grew 8%, to $12.5 billion, for the quarter ended June 28. The company’s net income increased 22%, to $2.25 billion, for the quarter.