Walt Disney Co. reports record attendance thanks to Star Wars
Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple at Disneyland Park. Credit: Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort.

Walt Disney Co. reports record attendance thanks to Star Wars

Disney is riding one hell of a high these days, thanks in large part to ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens.’

According to the Los Angeles Times, the blockbuster movie was the main reason for Walt Disney Co.’s record profit for the first fiscal quarter. Disney executives also credited the space opera for record attendance at domestic parks.

On Tuesday, the company disclosed a net income of US$2.88 billion in the quarter that ended Jan. 2, representing a 32% jump compared with the same period a year earlier. Revenue rose 14% to $15.2 billion. The report also cited a 10% increase in attendance at the company’s domestic parks, and a 7% rise in per-capita spending on food, drinks, admission and merchandise.

In addition, per-room spending at theme park hotels rose 9% for the period, while occupancy rose by 3% to 92%.

Starting last November, several Disneyland attractions were overhauled to add a ‘Star Wars’ flare, both to boost crowds and to promote the new movie. For example, Space Mountain was renamed ‘Hyper Space Mountain.’ Other factors include Disneyland’s 60th anniversary celebration, which launched in May and included a revamped nighttime parade and fireworks show.

Groundbreaking is expected to begin soon on the 14-acre ‘Star Wars’ area in the northwest corner of the park, which represents the first major expansion of Disneyland. A ‘Star Wars’ land is also planned for Disney’s Hollywood Studios at the Walk Disney Resort in Orlando, Fla.