The Walt Disney Company confirmed that it is 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.
This infusion of interest includes investing in expanding and enhancing domestic and international parks and cruise line capacity. While the Studios will continue to churn out content across their varied theatrical and streaming platforms, a new focus on Disney Parks has many fans excited.
The way Disney has structured the announcement is under a growth strategy with three key underpinnings: Stories, Scale, and Fans.
Disney utilizes its vast intellectual property library to create immersive storytelling experiences in its Parks and Resorts, on its cruise ships, and through consumer products and licensing. These endeavors allow fans to engage with beloved Disney brands and franchises, spanning from Avatar to Zootopia. Disney consistently updates its theme parks by incorporating new stories from popular films and series, resulting in growth, as seen with recent additions like Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge and Avengers Campus. Looking ahead, Disney has ample untapped storytelling potential for future growth 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.
“We have a wealth of untapped stories to bring to life across our business. Frozen, one of the most successful and popular animated franchises of all time, could have a presence at the Disneyland Resort. Wakanda has yet to be brought to life. The world of Coco is just waiting to be explored. There’s a lot of storytelling opportunity.”
— Josh D’Amaro, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman
Disney touts it 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.
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.
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.
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.
In addition to development plans already underway, there is significant room for further expansion on land and at sea.
Disney lays claim to 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.
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 the company develops plans to accelerate and expand investment in its Parks business, it aims to welcome new fans as loyal customers, expand its global footprint and commercial capabilities, and leveraging its renowned talent and massive IP library to continue to charm and impress fans across the globe.
“Throughout our history, we’ve created enormous growth by investing the right amount of capital into the right projects at the right moment. We are planning to turbocharge our growth yet again with a robust amount of strategic investment in this business.”
— Bob Iger, Chief Executive Officer