Financial Report Discloses State of Universal Theme Parks, All Eyes on ‘Savior’ Expansion Project

in Universal Orlando, Universal Studios Hollywood

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Universal Destinations and Experiences has released its Comcast Q1 2024 earnings report, which reveals some shocking news on the Universal theme parks.

Universal Volcano Bay water theme park, Universal Studios Florida, and Islands of Adventure.
Image Credit: Inside the Magic

Universal Parks and Resorts Earnings Report for Q1 Reveals Shocking Revelations About Revenue, Crowds

Comcast Corporation has released its Q1 2024 earnings report, shedding light on the performance of its Universal theme parks. Here are the key highlights from the report:

Revenue Increase: Universal theme parks saw a 1.5% increase in revenue, reaching $1.97 billion during the first quarter of 2024.

Adjusted EBITDA Decline: Despite the revenue growth, the adjusted EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization) experienced a 3.9% decline. This decrease was attributed to higher operating expenses incurred during the period.

The entrance of Universal Studios Hollywood, featuring a rotating globe surrounded by a metal structure with the park's name, as visitors walk towards the entrance.
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Growth at Universal Studios Hollywood: The success of SUPER NINTENDO WORLD contributed to the increase observed at Universal Studios Hollywood (USH).

Orlando Results: However, the results from Universal’s Orlando parks were below those of the previous year. Nevertheless, they were described as “roughly in line with pre-pandemic levels,” indicating stability despite challenges.

Universal’s Epic Universe Expansion: Comcast President Mike Cavanagh shared exciting details about the upcoming Universal’s Epic Universe project. He stated, “With three new hotels and five immersive worlds featuring more than 50 attractions, entertainment, dining, and shopping experiences, it will be the most technologically advanced park in the world.”

Crowd of people at an amusement park entrance with a large globe sculpture labeled "Universal" overhead, surrounded by colorful buildings and palm trees.
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Cavanagh emphasized that Epic Universe would enable Universal to offer a comprehensive vacation experience to a broader range of guests, complementing the existing three gates in Orlando.

Attendance Trends: Comcast’s CFO addressed attendance trends, noting a pullback from the unprecedented levels observed immediately after the pandemic. This decline in attendance was attributed to several factors, including the timing of new attraction openings and increased competition from other entertainment venues, notably cruises.

The earnings report reflects successes and challenges for Universal theme parks during Q1 2024. While revenue saw a modest increase, higher operating expenses impacted overall profitability.

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Credit: Universal Studios Hollywood

However, the company remains optimistic about prospects, particularly with the highly anticipated Epic Universe expansion. As Universal continues to navigate evolving market dynamics and competition, strategic investments and innovative attractions will be vital to sustaining growth and delivering exceptional guest experiences.

The Q1 2024 earnings report highlights opportunities and challenges for the future of Orlando Resort and Hollywood location.

Despite a modest revenue increase and the promise of new attractions like SUPER NINTENDO WORLD at the Hollywood location, higher operating expenses and a decline in adjusted EBITDA signal the need for strategic adjustments to maintain profitability.

An artists rendition of Epic Universe at Universal Orlando Resort, opening summer of 2025.
Credit: Universal

However, with the ambitious Epic Universe expansion project on the horizon, featuring advanced technology and immersive experiences, Universal aims to enhance its appeal to visitors and offer a comprehensive vacation destination.

The success of Epic Universe could position the Orlando Resort as a leading global theme park destination.

At the same time, continued investments in innovative attractions and guest experiences will be crucial for sustaining growth and competitiveness in the dynamic entertainment industry landscape.

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