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Disney World's Top Rival Is Already Thinking About Halloween

By Rick Munarriz – Updated Apr 17, 2019 at 3:20PM

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Comcast and Netflix team up to give "Stranger Things" a second year as a seasonal theme park draw.

It may still be March, but Comcast (CMCSA -0.81%) is already starting to build up some buzz for its flagship Halloween event. Comcast's Universal Studios announced that it's once again teaming up with Netflix's (NFLX -1.67%) Stranger Things to make the creepy throwback series the star of one of Universal Studios' Halloween Horror Nights haunted houses. The dedicated walk-through attraction will once again be at both Universal Orlando in Florida and the original Universal Studios Hollywood park in California.

It's March, and we're talking about a limited-run after-hours event that takes place on select nights between September and early November. Comcast likes to reveal the house themes slowly, milking as much as it can out of the hype-building process. Folks can shake their heads at the early promo process, but it's ultimately in the best interest of Comcast -- and in this case Netflix -- shareholders.

Cover art for "Stranger Things" on Netflix.

Image source: Netflix.

These go to Eleven

Bringing back Stranger Things is a win-win. Comcast gets a hot franchise. The Stranger Things house was so popular at Universal Orlando last year that it was open for day guests to experience two days after Halloween Horror Nights came to a close in early November. It was a hit, drumming up weekday crowds at Universal Studios Florida in what has historically been the resort's slow season.

Netflix also wins. Last year's Stranger Things house centered on the first season of the series, but this year's version will focus on the second and third seasons. The third season doesn't hit Netflix until this summer, so it will still be fresh when Halloween Horror Nights kicks off two months later. Netflix also benefits from introducing the property to event goers who aren't watching the show.

A few miles away from both stateside Universal Studios parks, Disney (DIS -0.63%) also cashes in on Halloween. Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is Disney's nighttime event that also requires guests pay a separate admission. Disney actually kicks off the family-friendly event on select nights starting in mid-August, a couple of weeks before Universal amps up the jump scares.

Check out the latest earnings call transcripts for Disney, Comcast, and Netflix.

Halloween has become a pretty big deal for Disney and Comcast, breathing new life into what had been a seasonal lull outside of the area's convention business once kids go back to school after summer break. The stakes will be high for Universal Orlando this time, as it's kicking off Halloween Horror Nights the week after Disney World opens the first phase of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. The good news is that there will be a lot more tourists than usual in town because of Disney's biggest new attraction in decades. The key here will be convincing Star Wars fans to come over at the end of the day. It's not a difficult sell, and Stranger Things should make the value proposition even better.

Editor's note: This article has been corrected to note that the Stranger Things attraction was at both Universal Orlando in Florida and the original Universal Studios Hollywood park in California last year.

Rick Munarriz has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Netflix and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool recommends Comcast. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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