Revenue continues to rise for US Universal theme parks

Posted Wednesday, November 2, 2011 8:59 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Quarterly revenue for the Universal parks business, now owned by Philadelphia-based cable giant Comcast Corp., climbed to $580 million from $531 million a year ago, an increase of 9.1 percent. Operating cash flow, a measure of profitability, rose to $285 million from $252 million, an increase of 12.6 percent.

Read more from The Orlando Sentinel.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011 10:46 AM

Lets hope with this profit they can put on a decent HHN. This year.....?? Peeeeyoooo!!!

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011 11:22 PM

I was just there. I helped with that figure. Something magical happened to the contents of my wallet between the exit of The Forbidden Journey and getting to Dragons Challenge.

All aside though, I think one of their secrets is reasonable pricing. Food, beverage, gifts - they all seemed to be reasonable. O it might be perpective - $2.75 for a Coke after a season of $4 at Kings Island for a Coke might factor into it. The Harry Potter Hogwarts beer stein at $40 also seemed to me to be quite reasonable.

HHN on the other hand, didn't go as the ticket prices for that are just stupid expensive.

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Thursday, November 3, 2011 2:15 PM

I've generally felt Universal, and even Disney to an extent, have been priced right for a very long time, especially in terms of food. I think that's why I bitch and moan so much about Cedar Fair food pricing.

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Thursday, November 3, 2011 2:25 PM

I'm with you Jeff. I usually feel pretty ok with spending (and quality) of food at Disney, Universal and even my local zoo and sports complexes. But, I do feel that Cedar Point is overpriced and an overall poor value.

There are some exceptions at Cedar Point...but I'm talking an overall feeling.

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Thursday, November 3, 2011 2:33 PM

But is it really ok to be 'less overpriced' on things?

Face it, $2.75 is still way overpricing a Coke. It's just not as bad as $4. And that's not as bad as $6.

It's kind of like saying, "It's ok because I'm less ripped off."

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Thursday, November 3, 2011 2:43 PM

Lord Gonchar said:
But is it really ok to be 'less overpriced' on things?

Face it, $2.75 is still way overpricing a Coke. It's just not as bad as $4. And that's not as bad as $6.

It's kind of like saying, "It's ok because I'm less ripped off."

That's what value perception is all about. There is very little value perception for many of us at a Cedar Fair park. Conversely, we see a lot of value in the food at Disney, likely a result of both the quality of the food, and the quality of the surrounding environment. I don't mind paying $7.50 for a burger at Disney, even though I do think it's a bit much. However, I really don't like paying $7.50 for a burger at Cedar Point because it is not nearly as good as what I got at Disney. Conversely, I don't often get the pizza at Disney because I just don't like it, but I'll gladly pay out the nose for some La Rosa's when I visit KI because I feel it is a great product even if I am over paying.

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Thursday, November 3, 2011 3:00 PM

You're getting into quality/preference vs price ratio. That's the definition of value and is going to be different for all of us. Obviously the more you get in return for your money is better. We've had that discussion a gazillion times.

I'm talking flat-out Coke in context of the posts in this thread for the sake of argument. Sometimes it seems like the only reason some prices are 'good' is because they could be worse.

$2.75 is still severely overcharging for a Coke.

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Thursday, November 3, 2011 3:44 PM

Not for the convenience of having it right there inside the park at your nearest food stand. The alternatives (drinking water, not drinking anything, trying to find Coke some other way) justify (at least to most people in this thread) a $2.75 price point but not a $4 price point.

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Thursday, November 3, 2011 3:57 PM

But people posting in this thread (or even on this site) are not the only customers of CF and Disney. CF just posted record profits. And every time I have ever been to Cedar Point and when I was at Kings Island this summer, I saw a lot of folks lined up for drinks.

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Thursday, November 3, 2011 4:21 PM

"Folks have to drink."

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Thursday, November 3, 2011 4:38 PM

Heh. We'll quote that forever, huh?

But indeed they do. So is there really that much difference between raping them to the tune of $3 or $4?

After all of the other costs associated with an amusement park visit, that dollar-and-change (even repeated over the course of several drinks during the day) just doesn't matter.

Or in other words: I gots bigger fish to fry. :)

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Thursday, November 3, 2011 4:47 PM

GoBucks89 said:
And every time I have ever been to Cedar Point and when I was at Kings Island this summer, I saw a lot of folks lined up for drinks.

That's because the service is so damn slow!

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Thursday, November 3, 2011 4:59 PM

It seems pretty simple to me. When I'm at Disney I think the food is reasonable priced, portions are appropriate, and the food is good...at least in theme park standards.

At Cedar Point I think the food is overpriced, portions are somewhat appropriate (though maybe I should have got the whole pie for what I paid for a slice) and the food is generally...meh. (Again, not in all cases.)

I'd be less likely to complain about the food (and not remember it as much) if I didn't think I got ripped off.

But, Cedar Fair just reported an almost $1 increase in per cap spending and record revenues...so even if they aren't doing it well by our standards...they are effective by their standards.

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Thursday, November 3, 2011 5:22 PM

Jeff said:

GoBucks89 said:
And every time I have ever been to Cedar Point and when I was at Kings Island this summer, I saw a lot of folks lined up for drinks.

That's because the service is so damn slow!

And I guess the fact that I see plenty of people walking down the midways, waiting in lines, etc. with drinks means they drink slowly. Whatever.

And Brian brought up the sports blog analogy in another thread. Seeems to me CF would just point to the latest earnings release and say "Scoreboard!!" :)

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Thursday, November 3, 2011 5:56 PM

And maybe Ouimet will bring Disney food/drink prices and quality to CF parks. And he will bring huge merchandising profits and substantial dining and resort revenues as well. And tie ins with billion dollar media/entertainment enterprises that feed off and drive each other. And maybe he will even bring 12 month operating seasons to the shores of Lake Erie.

And as a result, CF profits will soar and population growth will soar in Ohio and Michigan and the midwest in general. Steel, auto and other manufacturing industries will rise up again bring back all the high paying jobs. The air will be clean and the waters clear. And there will be rainbows each and every day.

And just think, if not for a couple of thousand dollars several years back, things may have all been totally different:

"When Kinzel heard from Disney, he asked for $15,000 per year and wouldn’t budge. Disney wouldn’t either. Soon after, he heard from Cedar Point and accepted a job as a supervisor in the food department for $13,000."

Disney may be "gouging" and "ripping folks off" with $4 Coke and CF parks may be giving away quality Cokes for free.

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Thursday, November 3, 2011 8:23 PM

Hyperbole: You're doin' it right.

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Thursday, November 3, 2011 9:38 PM

Lord Gonchar said:
But is it really ok to be 'less overpriced' on things?

Face it, $2.75 is still way overpricing a Coke. It's just not as bad as $4. And that's not as bad as $6.

It's kind of like saying, "It's ok because I'm less ripped off."

For a regular size drink the prices are:

WDW: $2.19
UNI: $2.59
CP: $3.89

The CP drink is about 80% more than the WDW drink, and 50% more than the UNI drink.

Yes, it's a ridiculous markup either way, but $2.19 is a pretty reasonable price for a drink. It's not that much less at fast food joints.

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Thursday, November 3, 2011 10:10 PM

Wendy's charges $1.99 for a large Coke, plus tax.

Last edited by LostKause, Thursday, November 3, 2011 10:10 PM
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Thursday, November 3, 2011 11:01 PM

What we're forgeting to take into consideration is the princple of marginal value. I may be thirsty enough to give CF $4 for one Coke (total spent $4). But at that price, I can't possibly see myself buying anymore drinks that day.

Now if a park only charges $2.75 for a Coke I would probably buy two or even three Cokes (spending a total of $5.50 or $8.25).

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