Theme parks help Disney set record profit

Guests spending more money at Walt Disney World

By Erik Sandoval - Reporter

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - The Walt Disney Co. reported Tuesday that third quarter theme park revenue rose 8 percent, topping $3.98 billion.

That helped the company as a whole see a record-setting net income increase of 22 percent, topping analysts' expectations.

Analysts say guests at all of Disney's theme parks, including Walt Disney World in Central Florida, are spending more money.

"Mostly it comes out of ticket prices -- they're up," said Local 6 Theme World editor Ken Pilcher. "Food and souvenir prices are up, and, as much as they can, they're raising hotel rates. They're also making spending much easier with the MyMagic+."

MyMagic+ is the new wrtistband system that allows parkgoers to simply swipe their wrist at a kiosk to gain entry into the park, and purchase food and souvenirs.

Disney leaders say the parks would have made more money in the third quarter if it weren't for the high cost of launching the MyMagic+ system.

During the earnings conference call, one economic analyst asked Disney CEO Bob Iger if he was concerned that Universal Orlando's recent opening of Diagon Alley may lure visitors away.

He said no, claiming Disney has just as many offerings.

With such a stellar quarter behind them, can they top it?

Pilcher says just watch next quarter.

"Summer is always a very big quarter for Disney," he said. "Most of the summer is in the next quarter. I think you'll be seeing more money from MyMagic+. How much more? It's going to be hard to tell that."

Shares of Walt Disney Co. were up 0.3 percent in after-hours trading after the earnings release.

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