Bob Chapek Discusses Disney Genie+ Sales
The Walt Disney Company held its quarterly and annual earnings reports yesterday.
After Disney posted its financials, CEO Bob Chapek and CFO Christine McCarthy answered questions from various financial analysts.
Along the way, we learned several newsworthy items about the parks, including the popularity (or lack thereof) of Disney Genie+.
Here’s what we found out.
Disney Genie+ Sales Are Solid
Something important to keep in mind about these earnings calls is that they’re subject to SEC regulations.
As such, we can safely take Disney’s answers here as gospel. For this reason, I hadn’t expected any comments about Disney Genie+ sales.
To my surprise, Chapek bragged that “nearly 1/3 of park guests upgrade(d) to (Disney) Genie+.”
Now, Disney has only sold the service for less than a month. You could also argue that some of the early purchases stemmed from curiosity rather than need.
So, there’s no guarantee that Disney Genie+ will continue to sell at this ratio.
Still, previous earning reports comments have suggested that 40-50 percent of park guests had upgraded to MaxPass at Disneyland Resort.
Most people with whom I’d discussed Disney Genie+ had expected lower totals at Walt Disney World. The parks here cater more to out-of-state guests.
MaxPass tends to do better with Californians, especially locals in the greater Anaheim area. That’s the anecdotal belief anyway. Disney has never presented hard data.
As such, Chapek sounded thrilled that something like 30-32 percent of park guests have upgraded to Disney Genie+.
The Impact of Disney Genie+ on Revenue
Look, I don’t need to tell you that Disney has gotten more expensive lately. Chapek used to run the Parks segment of the company.
He knows all the places where Disney could squeeze more revenue from operations.
This year, we’ve watched annual passes return at a higher price…and with fewer features. In addition, standard admission tickets have increased by more than the cost of living.
Also, Disney has introduced new experiences like Space 220 that sell Prix Fixe meals at high prices. And we’re about to lose Magical Express in a few weeks.
For all these reasons and more, McCarthy boasted that “Guest spending at our domestic parks also continued its strong trend, with per cap in the fourth quarter up nearly 30% versus fiscal 2019.”
That’s terrific for Disney shareholders and worrisome for frequent Disney theme park visitors.
For many years now, Wall Street has felt that Disney could charge more at the parks than it has. During the final days of Bob Iger and the early days of Chapek, we’re watching the proof of it.
Still, we must keep some perspective here. Disney took on water during the pandemic. A lesser company would never have survived.
After all, the company’s core businesses are theme parks, movies, and television advertising revenue.
The 2020 societal shutdown wiped out all these revenue streams. Disney lost numerous sports events that hurt its TV model, the one thing that should have been okay.
Disney needs revenue right now. So it’s doing what it can to survive and thrive.
Thus far, Disney Genie+ appears it’s achieving that goal.
If three out of every ten guests buy this product, the company earns $4.5 million more per million guests.
Other Park and Cruise News
To the surprise of no one, Disney indicated that Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser has almost entirely booked its first four months.
Speaking of sellouts, Chapek said the following:
“In fact, about 40% of current sales are to new passholders, and most Magic Key holders have purchased the top 2 tiers, Dream Key and Believe Key, with Dream Key selling out in just 2 months.”
So, Disney confirmed that it limits the number of annual passes sold, at least at the Dream Key tier.
You can’t get that one for the time being because other Disney fans beat you to the punch.
Chapek also addressed the status of Disney Cruise Line, mentioning:
“As I said earlier, all 4 of our ships are now sailing, and we continue to see tremendous demand for the incredible experiences we offer at sea.
We are thrilled to be launching a new ship, the Disney Wish, in June of 2022 and will welcome her sister ships to the fleet in 2024 and 2025.
Combined, these 3 vessels will help increase capacity and our footprint in a business that has historically generated a double-digit return on investment, driven by a premium price well above the industry average.”
Yes, Disney cruises will cost more in future years, too.
Overall, the tenor of Chapek and McCarthy’s comments should please Disney stockholders.
For fans, there’s good and bad to take away from these statements.