Disney’s most recent earning call — for the 3rd quarter of 2022 — provided several interesting insights about The Walt Disney Company. We learned that Disney+ gained 14 million subscribers in the previous quarter, bringing the total number of subscribers to over 152 million. We also learned that revenue from the Disney parks increased by $4.3 billion. But not all of the reports were in Disney’s favor.
Although many parts of The Walt Disney Company seem to be reporting increased profits and steady demand from their respective audiences, there was one area where Disney fell short of its expectations.
In the Q3 Earnings Call for 2022, Disney stated that Walt Disney World saw an “increase in average per capita ticket revenue,” which is “due to the introduction of Genie+ and Lighting Lane.” This increase, however, was “partially offset by an unfavorable attendance mix at Disneyland Resort.”
But what exactly is an “unfavorable attendance mix”? Although Disney did not specify the meaning in the earnings call, we can assume that “unfavorable” in this situation is referring to profits.
Many different kinds of people go to the Disney parks, from annual passholders to one-time visitors, locals to international guests. In this earnings call, Disney stated that the company generally makes the most money from international visitors, who tend to stay longer and spend more money while they’re visiting.
In the context of profits, Disney likely makes less money from guests who hold annual passes. These passes — called Magic Key passes for Disneyland — allow people to purchase a single pass for the year and then visit the parks free of charge (except on blockout dates) during that time.
Magic Key holders may be less profitable guests for Disney for a number of reasons. Of course, they don’t have to purchase a park ticket each time they want to visit, so Disney may not make as much money on entrance fees. In addition, Magic Key holders often live nearby, which means they likely don’t need to pay for a hotel in order to visit Disneyland. Because Magic Key holders generally visit Disneyland more often than guests who don’t have a Magic Key pass, they could also be less likely to spend money on new souvenirs and extra experiences.
In a 2020 earnings call, Disney said that “different guests, depending on where they’re coming from, have different relative values in terms of their contribution as a guest to the park.” They stated that “someone who travels and stays for five to seven days is marginally more valuable to the business than someone who comes in on an annual pass” because those with an annual pass may “stay a day or two and consumes less merchandise and food and beverage.”
Recently, Disney paused the sale of all Magic Key passes, and they have yet to announce when or if those sales will resume. People who have a Magic Key pass are also not able to renew their pass at this time, and there is also no word on when renewals will resume as well. This may be due in part to the current lawsuit against Disney regarding blockout dates for the highest tier of Magic Key passes. You can learn more about that lawsuit here. It’s also possible, however, that Disney doesn’t make as much money from Magic Key holders, and that could have attributed to the pause in pass sales.
We’ll continue to watch for more updates on the situation with Magic Key passes in Disneyland, so stay tuned with DFB for all the latest news.
Are you a Magic Key pass holder in Disneyland? Let us know in the comments.
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