A win for Bob Chapek: Disney Genie+ leads to record revenue for US theme parks

Genie+ appears to have granted Disney CEO Bob Chapek’s wish, as the paid skip-the-line service led Disney’s U.S. theme parks to a record quarter.

In the quarter ending January 1, 2022, Walt Disney World and the Disneyland Resort reported revenue of $4.8 billion and operating income of $1.55 billion. In contrast, the same quarter in 2021 saw only $1.48 billion in revenue and $798 million in operating loss, as Disneyland was still closed during that time.

While die-hard Disney Parks fans have complained loudly and openly about the new Genie+ and Lightning Lane services, the finances paint a much rosier picture. Customer spending increased 40% from pre-pandemic levels, without services being available for the entire quarter. Genie+ launched at Disney World on October 19 and at Disneyland on December 8.

“While we anticipated these products would be popular, we were blown away by the reception during the quarter, when more than a third of National Park customers purchased Genie+, Lightning Lane or both,” Chapek said, adding that during the busiest holiday season, Genie+ usage exceeded 50%.

The global Parks, Experiences and Products division, which Chapek led before replacing Bob Iger as CEO in 2020, posted its second-best quarter ever with $7.2 billion in revenue.

Other positives from the first quarter, including the beating of financial analysts’ forecasts for overall revenue and subscriber growth on Disney+, could provide some relief to Chapek.

While headlines circulated this week suggesting a budding shareholder revolt against Chapek’s re-election as CEO at Disney’s annual meeting on March 8, the outrage was limited to anonymous fans on a forum of Disney Parks on Reddit. Nevertheless, he has been promoted as a legitimate threat by Disney-centric blogs such as WDW News Today (which has repeatedly described itself as “in war” with Disney) and was even picked up by national outlets.

Chapek headlined the upcoming attractions during the earnings call, mentioning the opening of Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at Epcot this summer and the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser hotel experience debuting March 1. groundbreaking premium experience,” there have been reports of large number of cancellations while a negative response to previews of the ultra-expensive hotel.

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