Close up of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse in partner statue with Castle in background

Disney Parks Financial Results: $1B Loss, Investments Drop By 43%

The Walt Disney Company held an earnings call and released results for the first quarter of 2021, which covers October – December of 2020.

Overall the company made a tiny profit, but that was mostly due to the success of the company’s Disney+ streaming service and other direct-to-consumer streaming businesses.  Total company revenue was $16 billion, which was down 22% from the previous year, and income nearly break-even – just a tiny $22 million in profit, which was down 99% from the previous year.

Disney’s Parks reported losses and a significant slow down in investments.

Let’s take a look.

Financial Results

Disney’s theme parks are part of its “Disney Parks, Experiences and Products” division.  That division covers not just the domestic and international parks and cruise ships, which are hurting right now, but also consumer products.

The revenue for the overall division was down 53% to $3.6 billion.  That segment of the company lost $119 million, a decrease of decreased $2.6 billion from the previous year.  Much of the good news in these numbers was due to consumer products.

Disney Cruises have stopped operations since March, 2020.
Disney Cruises have stopped operations since March 2020.

The parks didn’t do as well.

Revenue at Disney’s parks in the US was down by a whopping 70%, and revenue at parks outside the US was down by 60%.  Theme parks racked up losses of $1 billion.

Capital Spending

Disney reported that capital spending decreased by 43% quarter over quarter.  Disney Parks spent $760 million in Q1 – much less than the $1.3 billion it spent in the previous quarter.

The Avengers Campus at Disney’s California Adventure and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure at EPCOT appears to be nearly ready to welcome guests, but we don’t know when that will happen.

Disney World continues to make progress on the hardware for Harmonious, the new nighttime spectacular at EPCOT.  Work also continues on the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser boutique hotel outside Disneys’ Hollywood Studios.

It seems that work on the TRON coaster has slowed.
It seems that work on the TRON coaster has slowed.

Other projects have slowed.  Exterior work continues on the TRON Lighycycle Run in the Magic Kingdom, but it seems that there is no work happening on the ride’s interior.  Disney seems to have paused the latest DVC property, Reflections: A Disney Lakeside Lodge near Fort Wilderness.

Surprised that Disney Parks lost $1 billion in Q1?