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Worried About Florida Theme Parks' Exposure To Matthew? Here's Your Cheat Sheet

Worried About Florida Theme Parks' Exposure To Matthew? Here's Your Cheat Sheet

Hurricane Matthew is threatening to be a bigger issue than previously forecast. In fact, Florida's northern coast could witness a never-before-seen scene if the current weather predictions come to fruition.

Storms And Stocks

Whenever any tropical storm threatens the mainland, airlines and insurance sectors are typically the worst hit, stock-wise. However, theme park operators seem to not have taken the hurricane seriously, underestimating the potential damages it could bring.

To obfuscate matters, the projected path of Matthew has changed drastically, from a relatively-straight path up the East Coast to a predicted move away from the mainland and out back into the Atlantic Ocean and now a projected path of hitting Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and then turning out toward the Atlantic and, quite oddly, moving back inward toward the Eastern Seaboard once more.

Meteorologist Bill Karins tweeted the following, "Breaking: Storm Surge Model now estimates HUGE section of Florida's northern coast with a 12 foot Storm Surge! Never happened here @MSNBC."


Related Link: With Hurricane Matthew Picking Up Steam, Investors Are Piling Into This Generator Stock

Walt Disney Co (NYSE: DIS), Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA) and SeaWorld Entertainment Inc (NYSE: SEAS) have reacted to the latest weather forecast. As a result, Universal and SeaWorld have announced closure of its parks at about 2 p.m. on Thursday, while Disney will close at 5 p.m.

Benzinga Reaches Out

Benzinga spoke with Disney, SeaWorld and Universal and each indicated separately that their theme parks would remain closed all of Friday. However, due to the unpredictable and severe nature of tropical storms and hurricanes, there has been chatter throughout the day that these Floridian park closures could have been announced earlier.

The Universal Studios statement to Benzinga read as follows: "Out of concern for the safety of our Team Members and our guests, Universal Orlando has made the following operational changes due to Hurricane Matthew:

  • "Wet 'n Wild will close today [Thursday] at 2 p.m. and remain closed Friday.
  • "Universal Studios Florida, Universal's Islands of Adventure and Universal CityWalk will close today [Thursday] at 5 p.m. and remain closed Friday.
  • "Halloween Horror Nights is cancelled tonight and Friday night.

"Our plan is to resume normal operations across our destination Saturday morning."

Disney and SeaWorld expressed similar sentiments, closing Thursday mid-afternoon, early evening and remaining closed through Friday with the hopes of opening for regular operations Saturday.

While the Florida region is very important to all three companies, as it provides a majority of revenues, safety concerns are paramount and likely play a role in investor sentiment and thus stock movements as well.

Why Florida Matters

According to, Disney Parks and Resorts generated about $16.16 billion revenue. Based on these figures, Florida alone accounted for $13.6 billion revenue in 2015. For the nine-month period ended July 2, Disney Parks and Resorts witnessed 7 percent year-over-year revenue growth to $12.59 billion. The company generates nearly 30 percent of its total revenue from this division.

Similarly, Universal Studios Theme Parks of Comcast recorded $3.34 billion revenue in 2015. For the first half of the current year, Universal Studios Theme Parks' revenue jumped 51.8 percent to $2.16 billion. Regarding SeaWorld, the company got $1.37 billion revenue from its theme parks last year. For the first half, the company witnessed a 2 percent drop in revenue to $591.38 million.

At Last Check ...

  • Comcast was down 0.59 percent at $65.41.
  • Disney was up 0.41 percent at $92.83.
  • SeaWord was down 1.01 percent at $14.22.

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Rebecca Sheppard contributed to this report.


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