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Tokyo Disney operator now expected to book 7% profit gain

House of Mouse drew visitors with themed events, other attractions

Tokyo Disneyland's new pirate-themed attraction helped drive profits higher.

TOKYO -- Tokyo Disney Resort operator Oriental Land is set to report an increase in group operating profit for the first half ended in September, instead of the decline forecast earlier, due to rising visitor traffic.

Profit apparently rose 7% year on year to roughly 57 billion yen ($501 million). The company previously projected a 9% drop to 48.2 billion yen.

Sales evidently climbed 3% to about 235 billion yen as the visitor count ticked up 3% to 14.77 million. A number of popular attractions such as the monthslong Disney's Easter festivities and the Disney Pirates Summer event, which was based on the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie franchise.

Tokyo Disney Resort, which includes Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea, is located in Chiba Prefecture just outside Tokyo, and drew visitors from the capital area, the rest of Japan and internationally.

DisneySea's Nemo & Friends SeaRider attraction that opened in May made a splash. DisneySea also introduced a new bunny rabbit character named Stella Lou this spring, and plush toys and other associated merchandise flew off shelves. Oriental Land had expected DisneySea's earnings to sink following the previous fiscal year's 15th anniversary celebrations, but the negative impact appears limited.

However, Oriental Land will likely maintain its guidance for the year through March 2018. Sales are projected to dip 2% to 469.3 billion yen and operating profit is seen dropping 11% to 100.1 billion yen. The resort operator is taking a cautious view in the face of typhoon weather this month that brought heavy rains to Japan.

Things may pick up starting in November when Christmas shows and other new events get underway, so Oriental Land could surpass the full-year estimates. The company will announce first-half earnings on Monday.


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