ORLANDO, Fla. — Disney’s theme parks have not yet reached the full capacity levels they had pre-pandemic, but recovery has been “remarkable”, according to Disney CFO Christine McCarthy.
What You Need To Know
- Disney CFO Christine McCarthy discussed the recovery of Disney's parks during the pandemic
- McCarthy spoke Monday during Morgan Stanley's Technology, Media and Telecom Conference
- She said the parks were not at full capacity but recovery has been "remarkable"
- McCarthy also mentioned that character interactions would return soon to the parks
The comments came during Morgan Stanley’s 2022 Technology, Media & Telecom Conference on Monday.
During the Q&A, McCarthy was asked about the company’s Parks, Experiences and Products division, including capacity and returning entertainment and experiences.
“We are coming back towards full capacity, we’re not yet there,” McCarthy said. “But one of the things we were able to do when the parks were closed was really look at some of the underlying technologies for how we could run the business better and give a better consumer experience.”
McCarthy cited the park reservation system that was implemented when the parks reopened as an example of that. She said the system was “needed” initially to deal with capacity limits, but the company realized it could be used after restrictions were lifted to help “manage attendance.”
Since the parks reopened during the pandemic, some experiences have returned, while others have not. McCarthy said that character meet and greets would return “soon”—although she didn’t provide an exact return date.
Disneyland Paris recently brought back up-close character interactions, but at Disney World's parks, those meet and greets are still physically distanced.
When talking about the park division’s recovery, McCarthy said it was driven not just by ticket prices but also guest spending on food and beverage as well as merchandise.
“Part of it is because people could not go to our parks for a long period of time, especially in California, and when they came back, they wanted to spend money,” she said.
McCarthy also mentioned the introduction of Genie, the free planning tool, and Genie+, the paid skip-the-line service, which she said “lent to a better experience for people trying maximize their day.”
McCarthy said Disney continued to invest in its parks during the pandemic, with several projects that have opened (or soon will) this year, including Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, which opened March 1, and the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind coaster, set to debut this summer.
In its latest earnings report, Disney said the company’s Parks, Experiences and Products division generated more than $7.2 billion in the first quarter.