Universal Orlando Resort's parent company Comcast released their most recent quarterly financial results earlier this week, and while the theme parks may not be the entire focus of their report, Comcast's press release did contain some interesting information for fans of the Universal theme parks both in Orlando and California. From rising revenue to a sputtering start for a new attraction at Universal Orlando Resort, here's everything we learned about the present (and future!) for Universal parks from parent company Comcast's financial results: 

1. Guest spending is on the rise, but attendance numbers for 2016 may not be that great at Universal Orlando Resort

According to the official press release, Comcast's parks and resorts division saw a sizable bump during the most recent financial period, with revenue increasing 32.1% to $1.3 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016. This is largely due to the higher attendance and per guest spending, primarily at Universal Studios Hollywood’s The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which is continuing to break records for this park, despite having been open for several months now.

However, though it looks like the money is still coming in at a healthy clip, one thing that was not disclosed in the financial report was any information about attendance, beyond the fact that it is up across the board, worldwide. And while that may initially sound like a good thing, that average could be inflated by continued interest in the aforementioned west coast Wizarding World of Harry Potter. 

Image: Universal

While it is pretty common for these financial reports to omit specific, hard figures about how many guests are entering Universal theme parks during a given period, they do often include some statistics about growth year-over-year. However, Comcast's earnings do not include any such information, which seems to imply that guest levels are either stagnant or perhaps even down in 2016, particularily at Universal Orlando Resort, which is not mentioned at all. Of course, such a development would not be too surprising, as we saw slower attendance at Walt Disney World in 2016 as well. Which begs another question specific to the Florida parks.. 



2017 at Universal will be interesting indeed.....Some of my overseas friends have heard about the Race Through NY attraction and wonder who the heck Jimmy Fallon is. Seems his "star' isn't very bright overseas, which to me, isn't surprising. When they mention their tv personalities, I don't recognize their names either, so I wonder how much appeal this attraction will have when it comes to international tourism. Depending on the plot line of the attraction, this could be a huge hit, or a huge miss. Only time will tell with this one.
Volcano Bay, as a water park, looks pretty impressive, from the outset. As Universal is touting this as their third theme park, will Disney counter by upping their park count to 6? Either way, I'm a bit disappointed that the volcano isn't themed completely around...looks like a prop dropped into the water park, so the immersion factor is lacking for me, though I'm sure the thrill factor will be right up there.
Either way you look at it, Orlando theme park fans are up for a great year with the Universal additions, as well as Pandora and Rivers of Light at Animal Kingdom.

I think 2017 will be a record year. 2016 had the turbulent presidential election and that scared travelers from visiting Orlando. P.S. If Universal wants to call Volcano Bay their third theme park, then let them, don't let that bother you so much.

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