Theme parks continue to drive strong results for Disney

Theme parks and resorts continue to drive strong financial results for the Walt Disney Company with further international expansion “inevitable” according to CEO Bob Iger.

The quarterly earnings report for the Walt Disney Company shows that its theme parks and resorts received a 13% increase in revenue to $4.9bn. Operating income rose 27% to $954m, its highest quarterly growth in five years.

The higher operating income at US parks was attributed to increased in-park spending, attendance growth at Walt Disney World Resort and higher sponsorship revenue. Attendance rose 5% across US parks and hotel occupancy increased from 88% to 90%.

Internationally, Disneyland Paris saw increased visitation as did Hong Kong Disneyland Resort. However, Shanghai Disney Resort offset some of these gains with lower attendance and cost inflation.

Toy Story Land officially opened to visitors at the Shanghai park at the end of April, which Disney hopes will spark a turnaround in the next quarter. Another version of the area is due to open Orlando next month.

In a conference call on the earnings report, Iger said it was inevitable that Disney would build more international parks. In particular, he believes there are opportunities to expand in China as well as other markets.

“It doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re going to build something anytime very soon, but we’re going to look,” he said.

Overall, the company reported $14.5bn in revenue and net income of $2.9bn. Higher returns from the film studios helped the theme park division make up for struggles in the television business.

The results follow a strong first quarter, which saw theme park revenue hit $5.2bn, a 13% increase compared to the same period the previous year. In March, Disney announced a reorganisation of its business with its parks and resorts division merging with the consumer products group.