Universal Orlando attendance down, but profit and per cap spending up

Posted Thursday, November 16, 2006 9:26 AM | Contributed by Jeff

A slower stream of international visitors caused attendance to drop again at Universal Orlando this summer, but increased merchandise sales and some interest rate breaks helped the theme park resort boost quarterly profits anyway. The resort attendance was down 5% through the first three months of the year, but profit and per capita spending are up. International visitors were down 16 percent.

Read more from The Orlando Sentinel.

Thursday, November 16, 2006 9:27 AM
Couldn't have anything to do with the fact that they never invest in their Orlando parks like Busch and Disney, could it?
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Thursday, November 16, 2006 11:06 AM
I'm seeing a trend here attendance down but per cap spending up. I know Six Flags reported this and I believe Cedar Fair did also. So is this a good thing? Less people go through the gates but those who do are spending more. I guess it works but only if the end figure is profit not loss.
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Thursday, November 16, 2006 12:17 PM
Jeff's avatar They do invest, but for some reason they don't market the new stuff the way regional parks do. I mean, no one I know has heard about Revenge of The Mummy.

Hopefully, with Blue Man, the replacement for Back to The Future and The Next Big Thing at IOA in a couple of years, they'll focus on all of this new stuff.

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Thursday, November 16, 2006 1:42 PM
Yeah, they do invest, but it doesn't seem like they do as much as other parks, especially when it comes to IOA. The park got that monorail-type thing this year but that was something that was supposed to open with the park in 1999. What else have they added? A show or two? An extended Vekoma family coaster? Not much for a park that is close to being a decade old. I love the place but I get tired of spending so much money and seeing so little that is actually new. Universal seems to need to spend more on marketing what little they do and less on concocting new pricing plans to convince people they're not getting the most they can unless they spend $125/per person per day.
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Thursday, November 16, 2006 2:03 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

I'm seeing a trend here attendance down but per cap spending up.

My take?

Welcome to the future of the industry.

Face it, most of the really big parks have reached their limits (or are damn close) on the number of people they can get into their park in a season. The only place left to continue growth is to get more money from each person who comes through the gate.

Even WDW's magic Kingdom did 16.1 million guests in 2005. That's an average of more than 44,000 guests a day - 365 days a year! Where do you go from there? The same applies to the big regional parks as well. Numbers of guests that would be flat-out ridiculous crowds if they went much higher.

In order to continue to show a growth in revenue you need to get more money from those people. Lower volume, higher profit. Gonch's first rule of business...again. ;)

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Thursday, November 16, 2006 2:06 PM
^ Until global warming really kicks in and all North American parks are open year-round. ;)
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Thursday, November 16, 2006 2:14 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar Mmmm, year-round parks...

See, global warming is a good thing. ;)

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Thursday, November 16, 2006 2:36 PM
rollergator's avatar ^ It'd be beter if the year-round parks had decent WOOD...

....and before you say it, Boomers is a year-round FEC... ;~P


"The only place left to continue growth is to get more money from each person who comes through the gate.'

^...and THAT...is the future of this industry...for better *and* for worse...

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Thursday, November 16, 2006 4:53 PM
Jeff's avatar No, global warming will cause half of the Northern Hemisphere to enter a new ice age. Duh. Didn't you see Al Gore's movie? (No, seriously, it's pretty solid science, it just won't happen in a few days like it did in The Day After Tomorrow. ;))
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Thursday, November 16, 2006 10:43 PM
I saw on one of the Discovery network channels that it would be northern and western Europe reverting to the ice age because the Gulf Stream would stop circulating, thus no longer bringing warm water to the North Sea.

The rest of us will be scrambling about our parks in January craving rainbow colored dippin' dots.

In answer to your question, no I didn't see Al Gore's movie. I figure I'll wait until he sells his/ his family's shares in oil, tobacco, and zinc mining companies, and donates the proceeds to a true environmental cause (not himself).

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Friday, November 17, 2006 9:05 AM
There's some truth in that. I think that many so-called destination parks have peaked as far as attendance goes, meaning the smaller regional parks are the ones with the potential to see serious growth. How else do you explain a park like Holiday World that continues to attract more people on a yearly basis? It's like the radius of park guests surrounding Santa Claus continues to expand all the time.
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Friday, November 17, 2006 10:18 AM
Jeff's avatar RGB: I'm sorry, where does it say that rich people are disingenuous about their causes? Too bad you won't see the movie. You might learn something.
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Friday, November 17, 2006 10:58 AM
Agh…a good global warming debate I almost missed! I think RGB was probably referring to Al Gore’s slew of SUV’s and fossil fuel burning jets he privately flies to give people speeches about how they should drive smaller vehicles and use less energy. Without debunking the man’s arguments, some I agree with and others I don’t…safe to say that it is at least a bit disingenuous to ask others to sacrifice for a cause you are not willing to sacrifice for yourself. For example…it has come out today that John Edwards, known Wall Mart antagonist, went to Wall Mart to get in on the PS3 craze. While I’ve no problem with his actions…it does hurt his credibility a bit. I say that politicians on both sides of the isle, at the very least, should not ask people to make sacrifices that they themselves will not make. I assume this is what RGB means by "disingenenuous."

Al Gore MAY be on to something. But for every speech and movie he gives with his “science” there is available research to contradict his argument. See the movie indeed…but keep in mind that there is a political agenda in this debate…as there is for those who argue global warming does not exist.

My opinion…global warming indeed exists. Humans ARE contributing to it…and there are probably changes that we could make to lesson the effects. However, until the whole world (China, India, et al) are on board…it is futile to make drastic changes. Furthermore, nobody has ever been able to reasonably explain how that first ice age ended without humans present to cause it…?

Other questions I ponder… How drastic will the effects be? When the weather man can’t predict next week with any accuracy, you will have to forgive me if I have a little doubt about the ability to predict 25-300 years from now. Are the effects worth stopping? The outrageous costs and sacrifices asked by those proposing immediate action may not be justified…MAY? Are there benefits to global warming? This is never discussed…but there may be some out there.

Hot topic indeed...but given "science's" propensity to change with politcal winds (ie salt is good...no it is bad, low carbs are bad...no they are good, PSA levels indicate prostae cancer risks...no they don't) it would be hard and a bit naive, in my opinion, to buy the whole argument. Politics has so infiltrated this issue that there is no longer such a thing as an unbiased scientist in the field.

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Friday, November 17, 2006 11:43 AM
rollergator's avatar ^"However, until the whole world (China, India, et al) are on board…it is futile to make drastic changes."

I disagree....a LOT. While it is totally true, and potentially inarguable, that developing countries are increasing their fossil fuel emissions at an alarming rate, and *will* be helping to increase the harm to the environment, the US *is* in a leadership position.

Developing, implementing, and SHARING technologies that would help reduce greenhouse gases....esp. with nations that are experiencing exponential economic growth, is essential to the health of the environment...

Or, we could just sit back, enjoy our oil profits, and play a fiddle while the hole in the ozone layer grows larger...

Just because ice ages and heat ages existed before mankind does NOT mean that we aren't playing a HUGE role in *this* instance...the fact that THIS hurricane season has been proceeding without major catastrophe doesn't debunk global warming...

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Friday, November 17, 2006 11:50 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

...and play a fiddle while the hole in the ozone layer grows larger...

Can we play "The Devil Went Down to Georgia?"

Seems more fun than than the image of Nero and Rome burning...and if you're going to die, you might as well have fun doing it. :)

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Friday, November 17, 2006 12:04 PM
Jeff's avatar Not only are we in a leadership position, but on a per capita basis, the US contributes to green house gases more than any country, including China.

Seriously, until you see the movie, you have nothing to say.


Are there benefits to global warming? This is never discussed…but there may be some out there.
Please tell me you're joking.
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Friday, November 17, 2006 7:32 PM

while the hole in the ozone layer grows larger...

Gator...that hole closed a long time ago. Science changed its opinion on that.


Please tell me you're joking.

I'm not joking at all. I said...MAY. In all our efforts to find all the wrong with global warming, I've never seen anybody study possible positive effects.

For example...we know there was once an ice age...global warming came along and now there are human beings and we get to ride roller coasters. I would call this a positive. Had man been alive at the time of the ice age AND followed the scientific patterns/trends we see with present day science…they might have spent all their time and effort worrying about melting ice without making any hypothesis of some positive phenomenon.

I'm just demonstrating a different way of looking at it than taking Al Gore's word as the final gospel. While Al Gore has a lot to add to the debate…so do many other actual scientists of whom there are many opposing views. Sometimes when the science community gets all wrapped up in trying to prove preconceived notions, they miss other simple explanations and results. See the ozone hole example above…we now think we know that this hole comes and goes in cycles. Just a few years back…Al Gore and many so-called scientists were warning of irreparable harm. They were wrong.

I can tell this might be one of those CB hot topics. Please note that I only offer my opinion. Everyone is free to believe otherwise and post accordingly. Though I may disagree and have the occasional urge to personally attack as we all do…I’ll do my best to stick to messages and keep the personal barbs out of it. I hope we all can do the same?

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Friday, November 17, 2006 7:56 PM
Jeff's avatar It's not Al Gore's word... it's real bona fide science. See the movie. Compare 400 thousand years of quantifiable atmospheric CO2 volume with average temperature and you'll see it's the same graph.

And it's funny you should mention the ozone layer, which he shows as an example of how human action can undo what we did wrong.

And the only thing good I can think of is the people on higher elevations around the San Francisco Bay or inland Florida who will some day have beach front property.

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Friday, November 17, 2006 9:43 PM
rollergator's avatar ^"And the only thing good I can think of is the people on higher elevations around the San Francisco Bay or inland Florida who will some day have beach front property."

Are you making fun of my retirement plan? ;)

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