February 29, 2024

Disney intends to spread its parks investment far and wide: Travel Weekly

Disney’s investment in its theme parks and cruise line will touch every property around the world in the next 10 years, CEO Bob Iger said during Disney’s fiscal Q1 earnings call Wednesday.

Disney announced last September that it would spend $60 billion on its theme parks and Disney Cruise Line, essentially doubling its investment compared to the prior decade.

“We’re already hard at work at, basically, determining where we’re going to place our new investments and what they will be,” Iger said, responding to an analyst’s question. “You can pretty much conclude that they’ll be all over, meaning every single one of our locations will be the beneficiary of increased investment and thus increased capacity, including on the high seas where we’re currently building three more ships.”

Iger said the company views Disney Cruise Line very positively, and the company will “look expansively” at the cruise line in the decade to come.

While the analyst had asked about speculation that Disney will open a fifth theme park in Orlando, Iger didn’t address that specifically. 

CFO Hugh Johnston said that of the $60 billion being invested, approximately 70%, or $42 billion, “is earmarked for incremental capacity-expanding investments around the globe, which we expect to generate attractive returns.”

Park attendance dips in Orlando

Disney’s theme parks performed well in its fiscal Q1. Johnston said “record-setting results” were driven by Shanghai and Hong Kong as well as Disney Cruise Line’s continued strength.

Domestic revenue in the Disney Parks, Experiences and Products division was up 4% in the quarter to $6.3 billion, while international was up 35% to $1.48 billion.

Domestic operating income was down 2% to $2.08 billion, while international operating income was $328 million, up from $79 million.

Overall, Johnston said year-over-year operating income was up 10%.

The Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando saw a “modest decrease in revenues,” Disney said, as well as higher costs. Johnston attributed that largely to unfavorable comparisons to a year earlier, when the resort was holding its 50th anniversary celebration, which boosted attendance and occupied room nights.

Iger lauded the company’s international parks, where two attractions opened in December: World of Frozen at Hong Kong Disneyland and Zootopia in Shanghai Disneyland.  

During the call, Iger also outlined a slate of upcoming films, including a sequel to Moana and new Marvel, Pixar and Star Wars offerings.

That intellectual property (IP) will “fuel growth in our experiences business,” he said.

“After all,” Iger added, “one of the things that truly sets Disney apart is our unique ability to turn top-quality IP into top-quality experiences leading to significant growth.”

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