During a presentation to investors and Wall Street analysts at Walt Disney World on Tuesday morning, The Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger and Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences & Products Josh D’Amaro said that the company has “over 1,000 acres of land for possible future development to expand theme park space across its existing sites – the equivalent of about seven new Disneyland Parks.”
“There are far fewer limits to our parks business than people think,” Iger said in an email (via the New York Times). “The growth trajectory is very compelling if we do nothing beyond what we have already committed. By dramatically increasing our investment — building big, being ambitious, maintaining quality and high standards and using our most popular I.P. — it will be turbocharged.”
D’Amaro noted that customers came back to Disney Parks when they reopened after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying, “Every time there has been a moment of crisis or concern, we have managed to bounce back faster than anyone expected.”
Disney plans to double their spending when it comes to Disney Parks and Disney Cruise Line over the next 10 years. D’Amaro referenced “Coco,” “Zootopia,” and “Encanto” as IPs that have not yet been meaningfully incorporated into Disney Parks. “Encanto” and “Zootopia” are part of “blue sky” projects in development for Disney’s Animal Kingdom, while “Coco” could be included in the “Beyond Big Thunder Mountain” Magic Kingdom expansion. A “Zootopia” land will also open soon at Shanghai Disneyland.
“In terms of bringing the latest Disney-Marvel-Pixar intellectual property to the parks,” he continued, “we haven’t come close to scratching the surface. And we have learned that incorporating Disney I.P. increases the return on investment significantly.”
Disney is working with the California government to potentially expand Disneyland Resort thanks to the DisneylandForward initiative. But things are more complicated in Florida, where they are locked in legal battles with Governor Ron DeSantis and the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District.
“We want to keep growing and investing and have ambitious plans in Florida,” D’Amaro said on the subject. “For the benefit of our guests, our cast members and the economy of central Florida, we hope the conditions will be there for us to do so.”
Disney is not currently planning to build new theme parks in other countries or cities. Instead, they will focus on developing new Disney Cruise Line ports. Their new Disney Adventure ship will be based out of Singapore.
“It’s like bringing a theme park to a new part of the world,” D’Amaro said of Disney Cruise Line.
Disney’s press release is below.
The Walt Disney Company is developing plans to accelerate and expand investment in its Parks, Experiences and Products segment to nearly double capital expenditures over the course of approximately 10 years to roughly $60 billion, including by investing in expanding and enhancing domestic and international parks and cruise line capacity.
Today, Senior Disney executives, including Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger and Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman Josh D’Amaro, are gathered with Wall Street analysts and investors at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida for an investor summit focused on Disney’s Parks business and its track record of investing aggressively and intelligently in experiences that leverage the powerful and ever-growing library of Disney stories, which has proven incredibly effective.
Central to the business’s growth strategy will be a focus on stories, scale, and fans.
All over the world, Disney leverages its incomparable library of intellectual property through immersive storytelling experiences in its Parks and Resorts, on board its cruise ships, and through its consumer products and licensing business. The Parks business serves as a powerful platform where Disney’s beloved stories come to life in innovative ways, and where fans across generations and geographies can connect with and explore the Disney brands and franchises they love, from Avatar to Zootopia, and everything in between.
Disney continuously reimagines its theme park offerings to appeal to more guests by incorporating new stories from its popular films and series. Disney Parks has seen growth following previous periods of significant investment, which included the additions of Cars Land at Disney California Adventure, Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland Resort and Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World, Avengers Campus at Disney California Adventure and Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris, and more.
Today, as Disney considers future growth opportunities, there is a deep well of stories that have yet to be fully explored in its theme parks.
Already, new Frozen-themed lands are coming to Hong Kong Disneyland, Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris and Tokyo Disney Resort, as well as a Zootopia-themed land at Shanghai Disney Resort. However, Disney will explore even more characters and franchises, including some that haven’t been leveraged extensively to date, as it embarks on a new period of significant growth domestically and internationally in its parks and resorts.
Today, Disney has the largest physical footprint of any global theme park travel business, with 12 parks across six sites around the world. Its newest resort, Shanghai Disney Resort, opened in 2016. Disney Cruise Line visits 94 ports in 40 countries, and Disney’s industry-leading consumer products division brings Disney IP into fans’ homes across the globe.
Notably, Walt Disney World Resort is twice the size of the island of Manhattan, Disneyland is the most “Instagrammed” place on Earth, and tens of millions of guests travel on Disney’s transportation networks each year.
Disney’s Parks business is a key driver of value creation for the company, and positive segment results in recent past quarters through FY23Q3 have come in part from strong performance at Disney’s international parks, particularly those in Asia. Shanghai Disney Resort and Hong Kong Disneyland, which have both shown meaningful growth coming out of the pandemic through Q3 FY23, have even further growth opportunities with the expansions set to open later this year.
However, in addition to development plans already underway, there is significant room for further expansion on land and at sea. In fact, Disney Parks has over 1,000 acres of land for possible future development to expand theme park space across its existing sites – the equivalent of about seven new Disneyland Parks.
Meanwhile, Disney Cruise Line serves as a powerful ambassador for the brand in ports and markets around the globe beyond its theme parks, including Australia and New Zealand for the first time later this year, extending the reach of Disney’s high-quality experiences. As previously announced, over the next two years, Disney will nearly double the worldwide capacity of its cruise line, adding two ships in fiscal year 2025 and another in 2026, delivering even further growth potential and introducing new markets to Disney experiences, including a new homeport in Singapore beginning in 2025 to expand its reach further into the Asia-Pacific region.
Today, Disney has seven of the top ten most attended theme parks in the world, including Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom Park, which has been the #1 attended theme park on earth for decades. Disney Parks welcome approximately 100 million guests each year.
Yet there is still enormous untapped potential for reaching more consumers. According to Disney’s internal research, there is an addressable market of more than 700 million people with high Disney affinity it has yet to reach with its Parks. In fact, for every one guest who visits a Disney Park, there are more than ten people with Disney affinity who do not visit the Parks.
As Disney expands its footprint and offerings, not only will the company be able to reach more of its existing fans, but it will create new fans and loyal consumers.
As the company develops plans to accelerate and expand investment in its Parks business, it looks forward to introducing fans to more of the most powerful characters and stories, expanding its global footprint, advancing its state-of-the-art commercial capabilities, and leveraging its unmatched global talent to forge new relationships with new generations of fans around the world.
*This post will be updated at the conclusion of today’s Investor Summit.
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 Note: Consumer opportunity based on analysis of minimum level of Disney branded spending and current parks visitation.