Cars Land: New park hopes to boost Walt Disney Co.'s fortunes
Cars Land, the newest addition to Disneyland's California Adventure Park, opened last week. Disney hopes Cars Land, inspired by the popular 'Cars' film franchise, will draw customers to the under-performing theme park.
(Page 2 of 2)
Disney’s many theme parks and resorts are an important part of its business share. In the first quarter of this year, they combined for $2.9 billion in revenue –a 10 percent increase from 2011. Much of this revenue came from merchandise, and Cars Land will include plenty more opportunities for visitors to buy branded Disney toys, souvenirs, and clothing.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Indeed, Disney intends the Cars section to function as a true “second gate,” enticing visitors to increase the amount of time they spend both at California Adventure and that other, more classic park next door – Disneyland. More time spent in the ark often translates into more money spent, both on in restaurants and gift shops.
Such sales have a higher profit margin than ticket sales, though those have been increasing. Price increases that took effect in May included jumps of between $7 and $150, depending on the ticket deal. The biggest increases will effect premium annual pass packages, which will now cost $649, up from $499, a 30 percent jump.
Currently, a "1-Day, 1-Park" ticket for visitors ages 10 and up will now run you $87, and a "1-Day Park Hopper" (which grants access to both California Adventure Park and Disneyland) costs $125. The new improvements may help justify these prices increases, according to a report compiled by Morgan Stanley media analyst Benjamin Swinburne.
"Strong parks pricing is a function of both recent investments and solid demand," Swinburne said in the report. "The price increase immediately precedes the unveiling of Cars Land at the California Adventure park and follows initial phases of the Fantasyland expansion at Disney World [in Orlando], as Disney begins to monetize a multiyear reinvestment in its theme parks."
Disney is not the first theme park operator to attempt to cash in on its newer, more lucrative movie franchises . In 2010 Disney competitor Universal Studios opened its Harry Potter-themed addition at Orlando’s Islands of Adventure. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has so far boosted attendance for Universal. It's a successful model Disney hopes to replicate, with rides and attractions that immerse visitors in the world of the dashing Lightning McQueen, perennial runner-up Chick Hicks, old-school Doc Hudson and Mater, the loveable, incorrigible hayseed tow truck.