Major comments from a recent investor conference at which both Disney and Universal presented (from Garcia of the Orlando Sentinel) one of my favorite journalists that reports on all things Orlando:

Universal

  • Whoa: NBCUniversal Steve Burke says, using the multiple SeaWorld currently trades at, Universal's theme parks are worth $9-10 billion now.


  • Also just repeated his belief that Universal Orlando has room for 10,000 hotel rooms (has only about 2,400 now, not incl. Cabana Bay).


  • Burke: “We love the theme-park business. We think there’s a real opportunity to increase the pace of new attractions.


  • "... We have far too few hotel rooms in Orlando….You’ll see us add attractions at a more rapid rate, add hotel rooms at a more rapid rate."


  • Sometimes I almost wonder if he's trolling them!...These quotes are unbelievable. Seriously. Is Disney awake?


  • "I think you'll see us open hotels. We've done a study that says we could have 10,000 or 15,000 hotel rooms and still have occupancy.....that makes those rooms profitable. And all of those people staying in those hotels would be more likely to go to our theme parks. So.....I think, strategically, we need to get those hotel rooms open and build out the resort."


  • Second, he said attendance at Universal Studios Florida has been up about 20 percent "most weeks" since Transformers opened.....


  • Also said NBCU wants to continue the cadence of opening up at least one new attraction in both Orlando and Hollywood every year.


  • And then a few fightin' words: Universal parks are becoming "a family destination in and of itself and not an add-on destination for...somebody that spends three or four days somewhere else." Gee, I wonder where that somewhere else might be.


  • I'm probably just jumping at shadows here, but when Burke was describing "the "right kind of attraction"........one of his criteria was "clear and easy to market." That could very well have been a subtle shot at Disney's $1 billion MyMagic+ project. One of the main criticisms I've heard from theme-park strategic-planning types about MM+ is how hard it will be to market to consumers.


  • From an analyst re: Steve Burke's comments today: "Universal Orlando clearly believes that they can offer a product that is every bit.....as attractive as Disney, if not more so. Being a weak number two player in the market has not been very profitable for the resort....in the past. They have shown in recent years that can meet or beat Disney in attraction quality at fraction of the price...." And so on.

Disney

  • Jay Rasulo says 125K Disney World visitors have now tested MyMagic+ systems. Said tests have produced "very, very positive results." /ducks


  • Rasulo also made a point of saying Disney had no weather impacts at WDW during the last quarter. Seemed like a subtle dig at SeaWorld.


  • Also repeated Disney's basic strategic premise w/NextGen: The more pre-planning Disney visitors do, the more time & money they spend at WDW


  • Rasulo also was a bit more direct in discussing the data-tracking motivation behind MM+, as well. "The more you share with us as a guest......the more we’re able to tailor services and, we think, get lift in selling those services.”


  • Rasulo is asked if Disney will build Star Wars lands in theme parks. He didn't answer. But of course they will.


  • That's it from Rasulo and Disney. Didn't hear anything new at all. Maybe they can bring Steve Burke back for an encore?