Disney to invest $60B in parks, cruises over 10 years

Dive Brief:

  • Entertainment and amusement park giant Walt Disney Co. is nearly doubling its investment in its Parks, Experiences and Products segment to almost $60 billion over the next decade, the company announced on Sept. 19.
  • Through this investment, Disney will expand and enhance its domestic and international parks and cruise line capacity. Disney CEO Robert Iger said that the business was “incredibly mindful” of its financial underpinning and the need to grow its bottom line.
  • The company said it has over 1,000 acres of land ready for possible future development on its existing sites, or the equivalent of seven new Disneyland parks. Iger noted that past investments have led to periods of sustained growth. “We are planning to turbocharge our growth yet again with a robust amount of strategic investment in this business,” Iger said.

Dive Insight:

The announcement was formalized by a Securities and Exchange Commission Form 8-K filing that Disney entered on Tuesday, which detailed its plan. In the filing, the company also noted that it would prioritize projects that it believes will generate strong returns.

Disney divided its focus areas into three parts — stories, scale and fans — which translate to leveraging newer intellectual properties, like recent movies, at its venues, growing its properties and targeting new visitors and customers, per the announcement.

An additional part of Disney’s growth efforts is to target approximately 700 million people that the company marks as “fans” that have never been to a Disney amusement park, and to add newer intellectual property, such as from recently released films, to existing theme parks and cruise lines.

The company is currently wrapping up a multi-year expansion and redevelopment of its Epcot theme park in Orlando, Florida. Other upcoming renovation work includes a replacement for Splash Mountain at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World called Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, according to the blog Wandering in Disney.

Growth avenues

In the present and short-term future, Disney is high on its cruise service, which is expanding globally — it’s visiting Australia and New Zealand for the first time this year, according to the announcement. The company will also nearly double the worldwide capacity of its cruise line — it will add two ships and a new homeport in Singapore in 2025, and one more ship in 2026.

Disney highlighted its Asian parks’ performance coming out of the pandemic. It said both Shanghai Disney Resort and Hong Kong Disneyland have strong opportunities to grow when expansions at each location open later this year.

The expansion news comes amid a period of relative financial dips for the conglomerate. In August, Disney’s stock dropped to its lowest point in nine years, according to Reuters, following Iger’s promises to raise streaming prices on services such as Disney+, run more ads and cut costs across the business. In addition, the company axed plans for a $1 billion campus in Orlando, Florida, amid its public feud with Gov. Ron DeSantis.

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