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Japan-Update

Oriental Land takes 'Pirates of the Caribbean' ride to higher profit

Tokyo Disney operator enjoys solid first-quarter attendance

A DisneySea show themed around the "Pirates of the Caribbean" films has been popular among male customers.

TOKYO -- Oriental Land's group operating profit likely rose 10% on the year to about 25 billion yen ($224 million) for the April-June quarter as the Tokyo Disney Resort operator used seasonal events and new attractions to draw more visitors.

Sales are believed to have grown 3% to around 110 billion yen. Tokyo DisneySea's 15-year anniversary celebration last fiscal year raised the park's profile, apparently encouraging customers to return for multiple visits. Oriental Land kept ticket prices the same this year after three straight years of hikes through 2016.

A busy schedule of seasonal events, including a new Easter parade at Tokyo Disneyland, brought in more traffic. Oriental Land also used the events to boost merchandise sales by offering an array of related goods.

The Nemo & Friends SeaRider, an attraction featuring characters from the "Finding Nemo" franchise, opened at DisneySea in May, proving popular among families. Oriental Land also installed roofs over ride waiting areas to make the experience better for customers.

Despite likely strong first-quarter results, Oriental Land will probably maintain its forecast for the fiscal year through March 2018 when it releases earnings Friday. Since customer traffic tends to fluctuate with the weather, the summer and fall account for much of the company's profits. Oriental Land expects sales to fall 2% to 469.3 billion yen and operating profit to sink 11% to 100.1 billion yen.

That said, attendance at events going on now is solid, with men in particular enjoying a DisneySea show themed around the "Pirates of the Caribbean" films. Though costs are climbing as Oriental Land prepares to roll out big attractions starting in 2019, there seems to be room for earnings to beat expectations this fiscal year.

(Nikkei)

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