- Disney said guest spending at its U.S. parks was up 40% from pre-pandemic levels.
- Customers spend a lot on tickets, hotels, food and drink, and merchandise.
- New paid services that allow guests to skip lines are also paid for by Disney, the company said.
Guests at Disney parks are spending big these days — even more than pre-pandemic levels.
Disney released its second-quarter results on Wednesday, beating Wall Street expectations
growth in subscribers and announces that revenues from its parks, experiences and products segment have more than doubled compared to last year. And while the pandemic is still affecting Disney parks in Asia, its US parks are getting a major boost.
CEO Bob Chapek called his national parks’ performance “standout” in the second quarter due to high volume and high visitor spending.
“They continue to fire full steam ahead, fueled by strong demand coupled with tailored, personalized customer experience enhancements that have increased per capita spending by more than 40% over 2019,” Chapek said.
This is the second straight quarter that Disney has reported a 40% increase in spending from the pre-pandemic period.
So how do Disney World and Disneyland guests spend so much? A combination of inflated prices and the ability to pay to avoid queues.
Ticket prices go up
In February, popular Disney theme parks blog WDW News Today reported that Disney had raised multi-day ticket prices for guests visiting its Florida parks. Visitors looking to buy passes between four and 10 days saw a 2% to 6% increase, according to site tracking, the first time Disney has made a significant adjustment to ticket prices since March 2019. CNBC reported.
Specialized experiments cost even more. The recently 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 jumped an average of 6% last October, with the price of some tickets increasing by as much as 8%.
Hotels have also become more expensive
Disney said in its results that it is seeing “an increase in average daily hotel room rates,” which is helping to fuel guest spending.
The Washington Post reported in March that rates were rising sharply at several Disney World hotels. At Pop Century Resort, a value option near the Epcot theme park, the cheapest room was $95 in 2013 — this year it had jumped to $168, a 77% increase. Rooms at Port Orleans Riverside and Animal Kingdom Lodge, two other Disney World hotels, have soared more than 60% over the same period, the Post reported.
Spending on food, beverages and merchandise is on the rise
Disney said in its results that spending on food and beverages increased, as did spending on merchandise at its parks’ many gift shops.
While Disney didn’t dive into the specifics, it’s easy to see how those expenses 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 Generates Revenue for Disney
In December, Disney rolled out two new “enhancements” for guests at its parks: Genie Plus and Lightning Lanes.
Genie Plus lets customers pay $15 or $20 — in Florida and California, respectively — to skip lines on certain park rides. Visitors can also pay to access individual “Lightning Lanes” at high-demand attractions, where they select an arrival time and skip the lines.
During Disney’s first-quarter earnings call in February, Chapek said more than a third of visitors to its national parks purchased one or both of the services in the previous quarter, and more than 50 % had done it during the holidays.
“While we thought these products would be popular, we were blown away by the reception,” Chapek said.