ORLANDO, Fla. – Universal’s theme parks are bouncing back from the pandemic in a big way, with record profits in the last few months and strong attendance growth, according to earnings reports released Thursday.
Comcast, Universal Studios’ parent company, unveiled its fourth quarter and full fiscal year reports for 2021.
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Comcast said theme parks revenue increased to $1.9 billion in the fourth quarter of 2021, bolstered by strong guest attendance at the U.S. parks and higher spending per guest in the U.S. and in Japan.
The company said it was the most profitable fourth quarter on record for the theme parks division.
Comcast officials attributed part of the growth to new attractions at theme parks, which were built during and in spite of the pandemic, including the Velocicoaster at Universal’s Islands of Adventure in Orlando, and the Nintendo-themed land at Universal Studios Japan.
Comcast officials also pointed out on the earnings call that the growth comes in spite of lower international attendance, especially at its Orlando theme parks. While there has been increased attendance from the United Kingdom and Europe, visitors from Latin American countries have not returned in the same numbers.
For the full year, theme park revenue increased $3 billion to $5.1 billion, showing a continued rebound from 2020 and the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Comcast officials said Universal’s fourth park in Orlando, Epic Universe, is going “full steam ahead,” with construction, and is on track to open by the summer of 2025.
Universal halted work on the theme park, to be located south of Sand Lake Road, in 2020 because of the pandemic, and resumed construction in March 2021.