Universal Theme Parks and Resorts are getting off to an amazing year in 2017, as theme park attendance is way up, according to Thursday’s 1st Quarter Results Call. Comcast reported that the theme park division was up 9% over last year, and generated $1.1 billion in revenue. That’s a pretty big increase, and a great start to the year.
It was enough to bring Comcast’s total earnings so far in 2017 to $20.5 billion, up 8.9% over last year.
The theme park aspect of the increase came largely due to the multi-year expansion plans at all of the company’s theme parks, including Universal Studios Hollywood, which opened their own version of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in April of 2017.
We are off to a fantastic start — our fastest in five years,” Chief Executive Officer Brian Roberts said.
“At theme parks, our multiyear momentum continues. A great example is the success of Harry Potter in Hollywood, where we saw a 60 percent increase in attendance this quarter.”
60% over last year is a massive gain, but how did the rest of 2016 fare? The official numbers don’t come out until some time later this summer, when the Themed Entertainment Association releases their annual reports. If the numbers this year are any indication, the park is likely looking at an increase of at least 30% for the year. In 2015, Universal Studios Hollywood had attendance of just over 7.7 million guests. If Hollywood follows Universal Orlando’s numbers for the first year of Harry Potter, they could have seen an increase to about 8 million guests. That could mean that Universal Hollywood could see even more guests in 2017, as guests spread the word about the experience in park. They could even reach double digits, something that USH has not accomplished yet.
As for the rest of the parks, Universal Japan is steadily growing with their latest Minion Park attraction (click here to see the area), and an all new Harry Potter nighttime show.
Universal Orlando has seen the opening of the new Jimmy Fallon-Race Through New York, and will see the grand opening of Volcano Bay on May 25th. The new waterpark is expected to be a massive game changer, as Universal is billing it as the official third theme park, and will introduce “virtual waiting lines”, to minimize ride lines.
While the company is still making large profits, they’re not as large as they had hoped. The company is constantly investing more into theme parks, and massive projects, specifically in Orlando. The resort will see an all new hotel in 2018, as Aventura Hotel is slated to be the resorts sixth onsite hotel. The resort will also open Fast and Furious: Supercharged, and will see construction happening on the former Wet n Wild site.
In Japan, Universal is hard at work on the first ever installation of Super Nintendo Land, and will be bringing that property to Universal parks all across the globe.
Bottom line, Universal isn’t showing signs of slowing, and as long as people keep going and spending in record numbers, the parks will keep expanding like never before. That’s a great thing for fans, and more importantly for families who are constantly looking for something new to experience on their annual vacations.
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