Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

It's Never Too Early for Halloween at Disney World

By Rick Munarriz - Aug 16, 2019 at 9:05AM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party kicks off at Disney World in Florida, even as Halloween itself is still two-and-a-half months away.

Anyone telling you that Halloween falls on a single autumn evening might be wrong on both counts. Disney (DIS 2.90%) is kicking off its Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Disney World's Magic Kingdom tonight, a couple of nights earlier than it did last year.

Yes, it's mid-August. It's also scorching hot in Florida this time of year, unless guests are being cooled off by a drenching tropical thunderstorm. However, Disney and rival Comcast (CMCSA 0.22%) have come to realize that Halloween is big business for theme park operators, and with peak summer travel season now fading in the rearview mirror, it's never too early to start cashing in on the late-October holiday.

Fireworks behind the Main Street railroad station with a pair of Halloween jack-o-lanterns in front.

Image source: Disney.

Some tricks get you treats

Rolling out its signature Halloween event a whopping two-and-a-half months before the actual holiday may seem outrageous, but it's a gold mine for Disney. It closes the Magic Kingdom early for day guests, only to charge a new wave of costumed turnstile clickers between $79 and $135 to experience the generous candy stations, unique meet-and-greet experiences, and seasonally spiked rides and performances that start at 7 p.m. tonight. 

Comcast's Universal Orlando won't get rolling with its Halloween Horror Nights until early next Sept. 6, but even Disney's biggest rival is getting an earlier-than-usual jump on the season. It also closes Universal Studios Florida early, replacing those day guests with folks who pay $68 to $94 each to enjoy the creepy scare zones and 10 industry-defining walkthrough mazes. Lines can get pretty long for the houses, opening the door for Universal Orlando to sell access to expedited queues for the attractions. 

Historically early starts for both events is welcome news to Disney and Comcast investors. Mickey's  Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Halloween Horror Nights don't happen every night, but the summertime launches frees up Disney and Comcast to squeeze more of the premium-priced nightly events into their operating calendars. There will be a record 36 Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party nights this year, two more than last year. Comcast is adding even more nights with an entire extra week this time around. 

The incremental revenue comes at a great time. Disney stunned investors earlier this month by posting a decline in attendance at its domestic theme parks in its latest quarter. Comcast's report for the same three months featured an increase in attendance across its theme parks, but the segment's 4% year-over-year increase in revenue was actually worse than Disney's top-line growth.

The trend should improve for both companies in the current quarter, particularly Disney, which will open Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge in Disney World later this month. It will also be the ambitious expansion's first full quarter of operations at its original Disneyland park in California, as the new land was available for all guests without reservations for just one week during the prior fiscal quarter.

Halloween is here, and for investors, that will mean more treats than tricks with Disney and Comcast putting more weight behind their premium seasonal offerings. 

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

The Walt Disney Company Stock Quote
The Walt Disney Company
DIS
$107.33 (2.90%) $3.02
Comcast Corporation Stock Quote
Comcast Corporation
CMCSA
$41.48 (0.22%) $0.09

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning service.

Stock Advisor Returns
345%
 
S&P 500 Returns
119%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 05/16/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.