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Disney released its third fiscal quarter earnings report for 2015 yesterday, and while the report was jam-packed with information about the performance of Disney’s film properties, TV networks and other business ventures (you can check out the full earnings report here), there were plenty of interesting revelations about Disney’s theme parks tucked away in the report as well. 

Not only do these quarterly financial results provide a window into the current state of Disney theme parks around the world, they can also give us a bit of a hint about some future developments for these parks as well. 

1. MyMagic+ is even more successful than we thought

Despite the lack of new attractions debuting in 2015, Disney’s most recent financial results show that Walt Disney World hit yet another all-time high for guest traffic in the third fiscal quarter this year (which ended June 27th). In addition to breaking the third quarter attendance record during this time period, guest spending during the third quarter is also way up at Walt Disney World as well, hitting its own third-quarter high. Though there are likely many factors contributing to this growth, executives are primarily attributing increased in-park revenue to the success of the MyMagic+ system. 

Though specifics were not provided about how exactly MyMagic+ is driving increased spending at Walt Disney World, it looks like Disney’s $1 Billion investment in the pilot version of MyMagic+ is paying off big time for the company. These results may help explain Disney’s haste to bring MagicBands and MyMagic+ to Disneyland (which, incidentally launched a preliminary version of its own My Disney Experience app yesterday as well). Though we’re not expecting a full rollout of MyMagic+ at Disneyland resort any time in the near future, it's clear that Disney is trying to get this technology on the west coast as soon as possible, with this new app potentially laying the groundwork for at least a partial rollout later this year. 

2. Even more price hikes are on the way…because guests don’t mind paying more

Speaking of Disneyland, one area where both the east and west coast parks have something in common is rising prices. 2015 not only brought ticket price hikes to all Disney parks in the US, but also saw prices for food, merchandise, and hotel rooms inflate to their highest levels yet. But what’s interesting here is that despite nearly every component of a Disney vacation costing more in 2015, guests on both coasts don’t seem to mind paying more. In fact, Disney's third quarter financial results actually show that guest spending is up quarter over quarter, as guests now spend on average about 2% more on on food, drinks and merchandise in the parks than they did during the third quarter last year. And in even more good news for Disney, Parks and resorts revenues increased 4% to $4.1 billion overall. 

This development is certainly an interesting one, as the increase of both spending and revenue basically ensures that price hikes at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort will continue for the foreseeable future. Disney still hasn't found an upper limit for what it can charge guests without losing revenue, and while some guests may find themselves priced out of a Disney vacation very soon, those who are willing to spend that extra cash will be able to make up the difference and fill this void, making Disney's annual price hikes a low risk endeavor that is virually guaranteed to goose thier balance sheets every year. 

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Comments

I always grew up with the idea that a Disney vacation was something you saved up for to be able to enjoy. My family is solidly middle class and we took our first Disney vacation this year. I found it surprisingly affordable for all that my family was able to experience, and there are five of us!

I don't understand where all the griping and whining comes from. I didn't feel like Disney was constantly trying to suck money from me while I was there. My family made a budget and we paid what we knew we could afford. I think many people are taking a Disney vacation for granted. Treating it like an entitlement instead of a privilege.

You don't have to stay at a deluxe resort, you choose to. You don't have to eat dinner or every meal in the park, that's your choice. You don't have to spend a fortune or souvenirs, or any money for that matter. Everything is a matter of choice! Disney provides plenty of options and I know that many middle class families can afford to take a Disney vacation if they properly save, plan, and budget for it.

There are ways to get around some of the expense. We always bring a cooler with lunch meat, fruit, and juices and a little bag of bread, cereal, and snacks. Everyone has a bowl of cereal before leaving the hotel room. I put sandwiches, fruit and snacks in my backpack so we have something to eat throughout the day. Rent an $8 locker if you don't want to carry it around. Then we have dinner out somewhere. Not only does it save money but it prevents you from eating so much "fast food" during your stay. If you come in by plane a short trip to the local Walmart should get you some grocery's and a throw away cooler. Think of the savings both in money and health for a small family during a 5 day trip.

I am a DVC member and I visit Disney World usually 2 times a year. I bring my kids and their spouses and grandkids usually once during that time. However, even though I provide the rooms it is expensive for them to come. I try to pick up some of the meals but restaurant prices in the park are very pricey for decent food. I would not call it great food for the price you are paying. I would hope that Disney would think twice about raising prices yearly. Sooner or later it will effect them since not all people are rich that come. My kids and their families love Disney but sooner or later they will be priced out and I will probably sell back my timeshare. That is not something I would want to do but may have no choice.

Hong Kong Disneyland opened in 2005, not 2008 as stated in the article. disney better do something Fantastic for Disney World's 50th. We are constantly hearing about year long celebrations at Disneyland, but on major Disney World anniversaries what do we get a banner and pin on the date of the anniversary. Maybe a little merchandise (eg 40th). When it comes to celebrations Disney World and it's parks are treated like red headed step children.

I'm sure I'll always make room for a disney vacation but price hikes will mean they'll come infrequently. It makes me sad--Walt would not have wanted the company to jack up prices just because they could. He wanted disneyland and wdw to be a park for families, a welcoming place for everyone--not just the upper class. Of everything (the unexpected closing of so many hollywood studios attractions, the major park-wide changes surrounding one popular movie that will eventually lose its stamina), the potential that they might continue raising prices is the most disappointing development I've heard. If they end up following through, that might be the key to losing this disney fan, even if I could still afford it...but I guess that's already what they're trying to do

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