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While the Walt Disney Company’s theme parks in Florida and California have had fewer guests in the wake of the pandemic, the parks have still managed to generate record sales and profits thanks to price hikes and other changes that have increased the cost of visits, according to a report.
The business unit that includes the theme parks recorded record revenue of $5.42 billion and a record operating income of $1.65 billion in the quarter ending on July 2, the Wall Street Journal reported.
One change that has helped the company increase profits is its Genie+ phone app, which costs $15 per person a day on top of admission and allows guests to skip lines for some attractions, according to the report.
However, the app cost doesn’t cover all attractions, and parkgoers will have to pay an additional $10 to $17 to skip standby lines to experience some rides including Star Wars- and Guardians of the Galaxy-themed rides.
Walt Disney World Resort marked its 45th anniversary on Oct. 1, 2016, in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (Photo by Jacqueline Nell/Disneyland Resort via Getty Images / Getty Images)
Other benefits that used to be free have since been eliminated or slapped with a new price tag.
Prices for certain tickets, food items, hotels and souvenirs like the famous Mickey Mouse ears headbands have also climbed, outpacing inflation over the past decade, according to the report.
A Disney spokeswoman told the paper that its theme-park pricing is determined by "pure supply and demand" and is "no different than airplanes, hotels or cruise ships."
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While some parkgoers believe the "magic kingdom" is trying to squeeze every last dollar out of their wallets, Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney parks, experiences and products division, told the paper that the changes have added more choice to how guests spend their time and money at the parks while making the parks "extremely commercially successful."