Comcast just released their second-quarter earnings, and they inadvertently released news that Universal Parks and Resorts has made history. The company reports record profits all around but, like Disney, theme parks are keeping the company afloat. Unlike Disney, Comcast’s streaming service, Peacock, is also raking in the profits.
Disney Parks and Universal Parks and Resorts have been locked in a fierce competition since their inception. In fact, Disney and Universal have always been fierce rivals dating back to the very beginnings of The Walt Disney Company. Before opening his own studio, Walt worked for Universal. He created a character called Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Young and ignorant of how these things work, he lost the character when Universal exerted ownership rights over Oswald. Ever since then, it’s not exactly been a friendly rivalry. Disney, for the most part, has always come out on top. However, the tables may have turned.
For the first time ever, Universal Parks and Resorts earned more than Disney Parks. Barely, but it’s still significant. Universal Parks and Resorts earned $2.21 billion, while Disney earned $2.20 billion. That may seem insignificant, but that $10 million is a message. Universal has come to win the theme park wars.
Are Disney Parks past their prime? Has Universal stepped up its game? Both? We certainly don’t think it is because Disney is past its prime, but they do seem to be in something of a slump. It isn’t likely to last. They’ve been here before and always come out better on the other side. For Disney’s part, they still find themselves in a political and PR nightmare as they duke it out with Ron DeSantis, which has led many would-be vacationers to boycott.
There is no denying that Universal has stepped up their game. From more favorable guest policies to new offerings, Universal is a fan favorite right now. They made smart partnerships as well. The opening of Super Nintendo World at Universal Hollywood is a large part of their revenue increase.
Time will tell whether this trend will keep up. Disney is expected to report third-quarter earnings early next month. It will be interesting to see whether Park revenue has increased from a lackluster second quarter. Universal’s reporting is typically a quarter behind, so we won’t be able to compare until approximately October but stay tuned right here to Disney Dining, where we will be keeping a close eye on it.