Universal Orlando Resort's parent company Comcast released their most recent quarterly financial results yesterday, and while the theme parks may not be the focus of their report, Comcast's press release did contain some interesting information for fans of the Universal theme parks. From surprising preliminary information about attendance and cash flow during the holiday period to official acknowledgement of a rumor that many had previously been taking as fact, here's everything you need to know about Universal that was tucked away in this financial report.
1. Attendance and guest spending are up from 2014, despite no new attractions
It looks like 2015's holiday period was a very good one for Universal Orlando Resort, as fourth quarter revenue from the Universal’s theme parks (which includes Universal Orlando Resort as well as the smaller Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Studios Japan, which Comcast has a controlling interest in) increased 38.6% to $1.0 billion up from the $735 million in revenue that the parks notched in the fourth quarter of 2014, right after the opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley. In addition, fourth quarter operating cash flow increased 36.6% to $452 million compared to $330 million in the same period last year.
Though these figures encompass increased revenue at all of Universal’s parks, the report singles out higher guest attendance and per capita spending at Universal Orlando Resort specifically as driving these revenue increases. In addition, the report mentions that the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley and 2015’s anniversary edition of Halloween Horror Nights in Orlando provided significant boosts to the theme park division during the fourth quarter in particular.
Overall, for 2015, revenue from all of Universal’s theme parks increased 27.3% to $3.3 billion, way up from the $2.6 billion reported in 2014. In addition, operating cash flow increased 33.5% to $1.5 billion compared to $1.1 billion in 2014.
Though these results aren’t exactly record breaking, they do show some interesting trends. The fact that Universal Orlando Resort didn’t open any new attractions in 2015 but still had a blockbuster year and improved upon the previous year’s results (in both revenue and attendance) is very interesting. While we always knew that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley would give Universal a boost, it looks like interest remains high a year later, which proves that the Harry Potter franchise is still paying dividends (literally!) for the park group. This is definitely good news as Universal Studios Hollywood is currently on the cusp of opening the west coast version of the Wizarding World, and rumors are circulating that even more of the Wizarding World could be coming to Universal Orlando via a rumored expansion (but more on that in a minute).
While we’ve still got a few more weeks before 2015's official attendance report is released, we wouldn’t be surprised if Universal matches or even exceeds its blockbuster 2014, which would be quite a feet indeed, considering 2015 was the last year that Universal won’t be opening new attractions for quite some time. In case you need a refresher, this year will bring Skull Island: Reign of Kong to Islands of Adventure and next year will see the opening of The Fast and the Furious: Superchaged, Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon and the Volcano Bay water park. While nothing has been announced for 2018 quite yet, Comcast did take a moment in its financial report to address recent expansion rumors...