Entertainment

Disney says visits to US theme parks are being deferred until Galaxy's Edge is complete

Key Points
  • Higher ticket prices didn't deter tourists from taking trips to Disney theme parks during its fiscal fourth quarter.
  • Still, some parkgoers are holding off on their visits until Star Wars: Galaxy's second ride is operational.
  • Booked rates at its domestic hotels were pacing up 5% compared to the same time next year.
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Higher ticket prices didn't deter tourists from taking trips to Disney theme parks during its fourth quarter, but some are still holding off on their visits until Star Wars: Galaxy's second ride is operational.

"We believe there were some delayed visitation to Galaxy's Edge both at Disney and at Disney World," CEO Bob Iger said during an earnings call Thursday. "...So we sense that there are people that are just waiting for the whole thing to be opened. Which is fine."

The company, which reported earnings Thursday after the closing bell, said guests spent more on food, drinks and merchandise during their time at the parks in the quarter, boosting revenue 8% to $6.7 billion during the three-month period ended Sept. 28.

Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, inside Disneyland in Anaheim, California.
Jeff Gritchen | MediaNews Group | Getty Images

Still, expenses at Galaxy's Edge weighed on Disneyland and Walt Disney World during the quarter. The company had spent $2 billion on the creation of these two park lands, one based in Anaheim, California and one in Orlando, Florida.

Disney is confident that this will turnaround now that both parks will be open at the same time for a full quarter and more guests will flock to the two lands after the opening of the Rise of the Resistance ride. The ride will open in Orlando on Dec. 5 and in Anaheim on Jan. 17.

So far, the Millennium Falcon ride has carried over 5 million people since opening in each of the park locations, Iger said.

"The guest experience, guest satisfaction, are very, very high and ride availability or attraction availability in the high 90s," he said. "That basically means that very, very complex technological attraction is running really well."

Christine McCarthy, chief financial officer at Disney, said booked rates at its domestic hotels were pacing up 5% compared to the same time next year.

(Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the number of visitors who rode on the Millennium Falcon. The data was initially misstated on the call.)

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