There are going to be great theme park additions this coming year. In addition to Walt Disney's (NYSE:DIS) new park in China, Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) owned Universal Studios and Six Flags (NYSE:SIX) are also going to keep theme park lovers like myself busy in 2015. And for theme park investors, all of this excitement could mean great returns.
More profits, more fun in the past 2 years
Just a few weeks ago, during the holiday season, Disney theme parks in Florida and California actually had to hold visitors at the gates because both parks were at capacity. Theme park operations revenue grew 7% year over year for Disney in its fiscal year ended in September. Even better, operating profit for the division jumped 20% year over year.
Universal Studios' revenues are nowhere near as high as those of Disney, at around $2.2 billion annually compared to over $14 billion for Disney in the most recent fiscal year. Six Flags notched roughly half the annual revenue of Universal Studios at $1.1 billion. Still, theme park revenues have been a major source of growth and income for these companies, and new attractions at all of these parks are sure to bring revenue growth in the year to come.
Getting ready for an even better 2015
Each of these companies has big plans for new attractions in 2015. Here's a sneak peak.
The company with the most new attractions planned for this coming year is Disney, thanks to its massive new $5.5 billion resort in mainland China. Disney Resort Shanghai is planned to open by late 2015. The over 900-acre park will house a theme park similar to Magic Kingdom in Florida as well as multiple hotels and other attractions.
In the U.S., other attractions expected for Disney include a new parade at U.S. parks mirroring the Hong Kong-debuted "Paint the Night" parade, which is expected to start at Disneyland this year for the company's 60th anniversary celebration. Visitors have a "paint brush" (sensored LED wand) that makes it appear as if the holder can actually "paint" the float in front of them, right from their seats (as in their movements actually control the lights covering the float). That may sound a bit silly as a "coming attraction," but the parade has been a huge hit at Disney's theme park in Hong Kong.