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Disney reports huge increase in revenue from theme parks

Magic Kingdom castle image

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts made a major contribution to its parent company's bottom line during the second half of its financial year, with revenues increasing by 10 percent.

Between the start of October 2011 and the end of March 2012, revenues from Disney's theme parks around the world hit $2.9 billion. This was enabled by boosts in attendance at the Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and the Tokyo Disney Resort. Only the Disneyland Resort Paris fell below expectations, as reported yesterday.

Combined attendance at the Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World jumped by 7 percent compared to the same period a year earlier, with record numbers of guests visiting the California resort. Disney no longer reports separate numbers for its two US-based resorts.

Discussing the results on a conference call with analysts, Disney CEO Bob Iger pointed to Disney California Adventure as a likely source of further growth during the summer. A $1.1 billion series of upgrades to the park is due to complete with the opening of the new Cars Land and Buena Vista Street areas on June 15. Iger claims that the improvements will enable the Disneyland Resort to "become the destination resort we envisioned" when Disney California Adventure first opened in 2001.

Overnight stays at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World hotels increased by 2 percent during the period, with guests also spending 7 percent more on average. This was largely due to Disney reducing the number and level of discounts on offer, although they have not been eliminated entirely.

While revenues were up at Disney's theme parks, capital expenditure increased from $1.8 billion to $2.1 billion. This was driven by the cost of expanding Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom, constructing Cars Land, adding a Ratatouille dark ride to Walt Disney Studios, Paris and constructing Shanghai Disneyland.

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