Disney beats estimates with higher theme park attendance, lower profit

Posted Wednesday, February 6, 2013 11:53 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Walt Disney Co beat estimates in quarterly adjusted earnings on Tuesday and said it expects the next few quarters to be better on a stronger lineup of films and growing attendance at its theme parks. Net income for its fiscal first quarter fell 6 percent to $1.38 billion. But on an adjusted basis, it posted earnings of 79 cents a share, ahead of the 76 cents forecast by analysts.

Read more from Reuters.

Thursday, February 7, 2013 1:47 PM

I just keep hoping WDW continues with their deep room discounts and “free” dining plan at certain times of the year. I know; you are paying for it one way or another, but at least it feels better.

If you are savvy enough with your internet shopping skills and flexible with your calendar, snatching a room at 25%-35% off rack rates is pretty easy and a great way to knock a big chunk off of your vacation expense, or in my case allow me to be able to afford to stay in a Deluxe Resort. Last early December, I got into the Beach Club for 38% off rack rate, and that was the deepest percentage discount I have ever seen outside of Cast Member friends and family discounts.

I guess it all comes down to supply and demand and what the market will bear. It still amazes me that WDW is still filling their higher end rooms that at a minimum go for $300 a night. During peak season, many of their Deluxe rooms are north of $400-$500 a night and that they still fill those rooms. Even the Moderates are $250+ during peak season.

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Thursday, February 7, 2013 1:57 PM

Hanging n' Banging said:

I guess it all comes down to supply and demand and what the market will bear. It still amazes me that WDW is still filling their higher end rooms that at a minimum go for $300 a night. During peak season, many of their Deluxe rooms are north of $400-$500 a night and that they still fill those rooms. Even the Moderates are $250+ during peak season.

You gotta figure that if your average Courtyard or Hilton Garden goes for $159 or $179 in anytown, USA at any given time, that $300 to stay on Disney property is a steal.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Thursday, February 7, 2013 2:32 PM
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Friday, February 8, 2013 9:26 PM

Gonch, that is kinda my point. For all of the attention and detail that goes into the WDW vacation experience, the lodging part is really weak.

With the exception of a few of the deluxe category rooms, the WDW lodging experience is pretty basic and nowhere close to a “business class” level. I would describe the Value and Moderate categories of rooms as premium Motel 6 rooms, with the addition of a little theming. They really aren’t that great.

For the Deluxe rooms, I stayed at the Beach Club back in December for $280 a night, and the room came nowhere close to a business class room in a comparative Hilton or Marriott. Yes it was nice, but for $300 a night? Really???

I travel around 60 days a year on business and pleasure, mostly on my company’s dime. I am fortunate to be able to stay in “business class” properties most of the time, and for the most part, the rooms at WDW come nowhere close to some of the joints I have experienced in my vast travels.

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Friday, February 8, 2013 10:06 PM

Disney hasn't really taken their lodging arm beyond an extension of the parks themselves with notable levels of themeing, and Disney still holds fast to keeping rooms full and people on property.

You have to sit and take a look at the properties themselves. There is no real revenue to be had on the property or inside the room. No movie rentals, no in room game systems, etc. You have the souvenir bottles, and thats about it. They are a little bit better than Motel 6. I was pleasantly pleased with the Pop Century in November.

I have been to several properties (no luxury yet) to stay, and the bars are never full, the sit-downs are walk-ins most of the time. The food courts are busy in the am and late at night. And how much do they really net from horse and buggy rides and catch and release fishing?

Its a simple business plan, make the rooms a step nicer than the I-Drive chains, and then toss in free transportation via bus, boat, etc. And charge for breakfast to boot. Yet people flock to them, and I am one of them.

They do get the award for packaging, as you need to stay onsite to get the meal plan, and of course you park for free when you show a hotel key.

So, if they wanted a Hilton, they could build one, but we go to Disney for the parks. Exact reason you go to a casino. The rooms aren't awesome most of the time. yeah, they are nice, but the tv stinks, and they want you downstairs, not fooling around with the IPAD controller and opening the automatic drapes. Even those high priced rooms get deep discounts all year.

I also don't get the DVC 40 year buy in's. People get that and go there anyway, and they don't own anything. Most people I know end up in the All-Star Resorts for their week of joy. Not sure if that is worth it.

Of course, if I was back in the Disneyland Resort, those properties command big bucks, and nothing beats location, with your kids able to run to the main gate in 5 minutes vs. trying to cross Harbor Blvd.

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Saturday, February 9, 2013 8:48 AM

Hanging n' Banging said:

For the Deluxe rooms, I stayed at the Beach Club back in December for $280 a night, and the room came nowhere close to a business class room in a comparative Hilton or Marriott. Yes it was nice, but for $300 a night? Really???

I've never thought of Disney charging deluxe prices for rooms as an indication that they think those rooms are on the same level as a Hilton or Marriott business class room. The prices they charge are an indication of the demand for those rooms.

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Saturday, February 9, 2013 11:46 AM

Exactly.

And I meant it more along the lines of:

If Marriott and Hilton are getting $179 in Peoria, then $300 on Disney property is downright reasonable.

Your paying for location, demand and room type. It's not as simple as, "the room isn't that nice."

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Saturday, February 9, 2013 12:57 PM

Yes. The rooms are nice enough to warrant a stay on site. Extra dollars means extra 'stuff', like the airport shuttle, free parking at the parks, free busses, and the Magic Hours.

The rooms are just comfortable enough to get a good nights sleep, to start all over the next day. A food court is nicer than the free breakfast, and the 24hr hot tub and pool sure doesn't hurt.

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Monday, February 11, 2013 11:24 AM

Give the value resorts credit. They're the cleanest and best service you'll ever get for where they're priced. Especially when discounted, the value is huge.

I had a similar deal for Beach Club the week after Thanksgiving. It wasn't the Grand Hyatt on Poipu Beach, but it was close enough. The service was amazing, the cleanliness second to none, and best of all, my room was literally a thousand feet from the Epcot gate. Worth every penny.

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