Disney Parks Chairman Josh D’Amaro spoke on both domestic and international park performance and investments during the JP Morgan Global Technology, Media & Communications Conference.
Domestic Park Investments and Changes
Josh D’Amaro, Disney Parks Chairman for the Walt Disney Company, commented on the current status of both domestic and international parks, including the upcoming park expansions. On the subject of park performance, D’Amaro stated the following:
The business has been performing exceptionally well. You’ve seen that in our earnings. […] We’ve invested aggressively in these parks. We were investing before going into COVID, we continued to invest once we came out of COVID, and the guests have responded to that.Disney Parks Chairman Josh D’Amaro
D’Amaro also spoke on the Disney Cruise Line investment, reiterating that another three ships are on their way to being added to the fleet. He also said that according to their guest data, as many as 40% of their cruise line guests wouldn’t typically take a cruise at all, and only indulge in this type of vacation because it is offered by Disney.
$17 Billion Investment Overview
D’Amaro then discussed the $17 billion investment in Florida planned for over the next decade. He stated it includes the transformation of EPCOT, the new Star Tours attraction changes and the Tiana’s Bayou Adventure reimagining of the Splash Mountain attraction. In addition, he claimed new capacity and intellectual properties would be added to the Florida parks as part of this investment.
D’Amaro explained that with intellectual properties such as Marvel and Star Wars continually adding new content, Imagineers and executives are able to bring these to life in the parks just as easily and with as much excitement as their older content. He used Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway as an example of using a very old content property to spark guest delight, stating that all of the properties in their portfolio are “incredibly powerful.” He intends to continue utilizing a range of these properties in parks moving forward.
Alongside D’Amaro’s insistence that Magic Kingdom and Disneyland are both in a position to expand, this potentially means that Disney is moving forward with Beyond Big Thunder, the “Blue Sky” concept for several lands in Magic Kingdom announced at D23 last year.
International Park Performance and Investment
Internationally, D’Amaro explained that each park continues to perform well financially. In China, both Shanghai Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland are experiencing a “good volume” of guest attendance and overall guest spending is up. He also stated that ratings overall were high, and that the company is excited for upcoming expansions to the parks in China. “Zootopia,” the number one animated film in the country, is going to have its own land in Shanghai Disneyland. In addition, a “Frozen”-themed land is currently being built for Hong Kong Disneyland.
Walt Disney Studios at Disneyland Paris is also receiving a “Frozen”-themed land expansion called Arendelle: World of Frozen, and recently saw an addition of the Marvel Avengers Campus, similar to the land found at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim. Disneyland Paris has a lot of new product and commercial transformation going on, and D’Amaro spoke positively of the recent changes and additions to the parks. Ratings, attendance and guest spend is high for visitors at Disneyland Paris, especially within the Marvel Avengers Campus. D’Amaro also stated that the company has needed fewer discounts to attract park guests than necessary historically.
Also during the JP Morgan Global Technology, Media & Communications Conference, Josh D’Amaro claimed that Disney World’s closure of the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser in September will enable them to claim a tax write-off of approximately $300 million. Check out the full article on this announcement here.
He also claimed park attendance at Walt Disney World would be “moderated,” this year with the end of the 50th Anniversary Celebration, and that both Disneyland and Magic Kingdom have the potential for expansion.
What do you think of the announcements and performance discussion? We’d like to see your opinions in the comments below.