Euro Disney S.C.A., the parent company of the Disneyland Resort Paris, has reported that attendance at its theme parks and hotels fell during the first half of its financial year.
The number of visitors to Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios fell by 1.5 percent when compared to the same period a year earlier, to 6.9 million. There was a larger drop in hotel occupancy, which fell by 3.6 percent to 79.8 percent. Overall, this resulted in a net loss of €100.8 million, some €21 million higher than the loss last year.
Despite the fall in attendance, revenues from the two theme parks increased by 2 percent to €304.8 million, due to an increase in the average amount spent by each guest on tickets and merchandise. Disneyland Paris blamed the drop in attendance on a reduced number of visitors from unemployment-hit Spain and Italy, as well as the Netherlands and Belgium.
The resort's hotels and Disney Village shopping and entertainment area fared less well, with revenues decreasing by 1 percent to €224.5 million. This was due to fewer guests visiting from Italy and the UK, although this was partially offset by an increase in visitors from France. In addition, refurbishment of Disney Village restaurants ahead of Disneyland Paris' 20th anniversary celebrations led to reducing takings during the period.
The increased loss was largely due to higher operating costs at the resort, which rose by €13.9 million. In part, this was due to the expense of preparing for the anniversary celebrations, which should result in higher attendance and revenue figures for the second half of the year.
EuroDisney S.C.A. still has an enormous debt mountain of close to €1.8 billion, and is obliged to meet objectives set by its lenders. If it fails to do this, it will be forced to cut costs or seek further investment from the Walt Disney Company.
Disney has already loaned EuroDisney S.C.A. €150 million, which will be used to install a new dark based on Pixar's Ratatouille at Walt Disney Studios. The resort is planning further investment in the park, which currently suffers from a lack of attractions and restaurants when compared to neighbouring Disneyland Paris.
Philippe Gas, the CEO of EuroDisney S.C.A., said of the results: "The challenging economic environment has impacted attendance and occupancy compared to last year, but we are encouraged by our ability to continue to improve guest spending and resort revenues. This semester, we significantly increased our investments in the guest experience, through new entertainment and product offerings as well as targeted refurbishments in both our parks and hotels. These investments are essential for our 20th Anniversary celebration launched in April and the long term success of Disneyland Paris."
"As part of this celebration, we opened our new night-time spectacular, Disney Dreams, which brings Disney stories to life using the castle as a backdrop, and which is truly a unique experience for our guests. We remain excited about the 20th Anniversary festivities and the growth opportunity it presents. We look forward to celebrating this milestone with our guests, Cast Members, community and partners in the months ahead."
The Disney Dreams show combines water, pyrotechnic effects and projections to produce a spectacular night-time display based around Sleeping Beauty Castle. It is designed to encourage guests to stay at Disneyland Paris for longer.