Disney has reported some big losses when it comes to streaming (to the tune of around $1.5 BILLION). That, among other factors, led to the end of Bob Chapek’s time as CEO and the reintroduction of Bob Iger in the CEO position.
But what’s been going on with the Disney parks? While streaming continues to lose money, the Disney parks are holding up the ship and bringing in BIG revenues and promising news in terms of demand still outpacing capacity. Now, we’ve got a more in-depth look at just what’s been going on with the parks and why those increased prices you’re paying for tickets might not go away anytime soon.
In late November of 2022, Disney filed an annual report on its finances with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The report covers fiscal year 2022, which ended on October 1st, 2022.
In the report, they detail just what’s going on with the parks, streaming, other media, and more. Part of their report even looks at their occupancy rates in the hotels and how much hotel guests are spending these days. You can click here to read a bit more about that.
In the section about the Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products division, Disney shared a chart documenting just how well the parks did in 2022 compared to 2021.
In terms of theme park admissions, the revenues are MASSIVELY up — over 100% compared to 2021 numbers. Revenues from parks & experiences merchandise, food, and beverage are also way up — nearly double the revenues that were obtained in 2021. The revenue for resorts & vacations is also up more than double compared to 2021.
Overall, total revenues were $28.7 BILLION, a massive jump from the $16.5 billion seen in 2021. It represents a 73% increase.
So just what’s happening here? Well, a few things.
For starters, many (but not all) of the Disney parks were open for more weeks in 2022 than they were in 2021. 2021 brought with it a number of COVID-19-related closures that impacted things. But we’re still seeing some limited closures with Shanghai Disneyland in 2022.
It goes beyond that though. Disney went on to explain why some of the specific categories in the first chart saw such big increases. First, let’s look at theme park admissions revenue. That went from $3.8 billion in 2021 to $8.6 billion in 2022. Why such a big jump? Disney shares that the increase in theme park admissions revenue was due to (1) attendance growth and (2) higher average per capita ticket revenue.
They noted that the higher attendance reflected increases at Disney World, Disneyland, and (to a lesser extent) Disneyland Paris.
But what about that per capita ticket revenue increase? Well, that growth came from two things. First, it was the introduction of Genie+ and Lightning Lanes in Disney World and Disneyland. Guests now pay $15+ for Genie+ (per person, per day) AND/OR varied amounts (per person, per day, per ride) for Individual Lightning Lanes, which appears to have really increased the revenues in the parks. Disney has essentially taken what was a free service (FastPass+) and replaced it with a PAID service, and it’s reaping some big benefits in terms of the Company’s finances.
But wait…there’s more. It’s not just Genie+ that’s helping the Disney Company make some big money in the parks division. Disney also noted that the growth in per capita ticket revenue was attributed to higher average ticket prices at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Paris (partially offset by lower average ticket prices at Disneyland Resort and Shanghai Disney Resort). In other words, you might not want to wait for those Disney World ticket prices to go down anytime soon!
At the start of 2022, we saw that Disney implemented some sneaky ticket price increases for Disney World tickets. Initially, while the tickets themselves remained the same price, some dates were placed in a higher price bracket than before, making them more expensive. Later, we also saw that some multi-day tickets and Park Hoppers changed in price.
And more increases are on the way.
Disney has announced that starting December 8th, 2022, 1-day, 1-park ticket prices will not only vary depending on WHEN you go, but also what PARK you want to visit. In other words, your ticket to Magic Kingdom will (on many days) be MORE expensive than a ticket to another park on the same day.
Here’s a quick breakdown of what the updated pricing will look like (again, this will be for 1-day, 1-park tickets starting December 8th):
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom — $109-$159 (prices are staying the same as current costs)
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios — $124-$179
- EPCOT — $114-$179
- Magic Kingdom — $124-$189
Starting December 8th, prices for some add-ons, like Park Hopper, will also vary by date. Instead of paying one set price to add a Park Hopper option to your ticket, your Park Hopper price will vary depending on when you’ll be visiting, with peak days expected to be more expensive.
On top of that, Annual Pass price increases have also been announced. Though most passes are not available for purchase now, the increases will impact renewal pricing — making it MORE expensive to renew your Annual Pass than it was before.
Considering the big increases Disney has had in revenue at the parks, and how part of that increase is attributed to higher average ticket prices at Disney World, Disney ticket prices could just keep seeing more increases in the future.
But you never know when things could change. If the U.S. (and thereby Disney) is impacted by an economic recession, that could change things. Additionally, the return of Bob Iger as CEO of the Disney Company could cause some changes. His return doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s going to slash ticket prices, but we could see some changes in terms of how frequently ticket prices are increased and by how much.
According to some reports, Iger felt Chapek had “given priority” to Disney’s streaming business “at the expense of other parts of Disney, like cable television and the theme parks.” Iger was even reportedly “alarmed by increases in prices at Disney theme parks,” which Chapek felt would “boost revenue and limit overcrowding.”
Only time will tell what changes (if any) get made.
Continuing with Disney’s financial report, they also noted that revenue growth within the Parks & Experiences merchandise, food, and beverage section was due to “increases of 82% from higher volumes and 9% from higher average guest spending.” So it looks like guests are spending more there too, some of which could have to do with the price increases that have been implemented across hundreds of Disney World restaurants.
Finally, in terms of revenue growth within the “Resorts & Vacations” portion, Disney notes that the changes there were due to “increases of 51% from higher occupied hotel room nights, 32% from an increase in passenger cruise days and 17% from higher average daily hotel room rates.”
Occupancy nearly DOUBLED in Disney’s domestic hotels from 2021 to 2022, so that seems to have impacted things, along with more expensive room rates and other factors.
Right now, the parks division is bringing in some serious cash, as streaming reports big losses, so the parks may be looked upon as a big “savior” for the company at this moment. It’s interesting how the roles have reversed, considering Iger previously called Disney+ a “beacon of hope” because it provided the Company a way to get revenue (subscriber fees) and release movies when the parks and movie theaters were closed during the height of COVID-19.
It’ll be interesting to see how things move forward and what changes are made regarding the parks and streaming, how those impact Disney’s financial standing, and how those impact guest budgets. To see more about Disney’s financial position, click the links below:
And stay tuned for more news.
Join the DFB Newsletter to get all the breaking news right in your inbox! Click here to Subscribe!
What do you think about the prices and price increases at Disney? Tell us in the comments.