Disney Plans to Expand Parks Investment, Doubling Capital Expenditures Over 10 Years
The Walt Disney Company is in the process of devising strategies to bolster and broaden its investments within the Parks, Experiences, and Products sector, aiming to nearly double capital expenditures over the span of approximately a decade to approximately $60 billion. This endeavor encompasses plans to expand and enhance both domestic and international parks, as well as cruise line capacities.
Presently, high-ranking Disney executives, including Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger and Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman Josh D’Amaro, are convening alongside Wall Street analysts and investors at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, for an investor summit centered on Disney’s Parks business. The focus is on highlighting Disney’s history of judicious and aggressive investments in experiences that capitalize on the vast and continually expanding treasury of Disney stories, which has yielded remarkable results.
At the heart of the company’s growth strategy are three pivotal elements: stories, scale, and fans.
Across the globe, Disney harnesses its unparalleled library of intellectual property to craft immersive storytelling experiences within its Parks and Resorts, on its cruise ships, and through its consumer products and licensing ventures. The Parks division serves as a dynamic platform where cherished Disney narratives spring to life through innovative means, uniting fans of all generations and from diverse regions with the Disney brands and franchises they adore, spanning from Avatar to Zootopia and beyond.
Disney is perpetually reinventing its theme park offerings, integrating fresh tales from its popular films and series to captivate a broader audience. Notable additions, such as 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, have spurred growth in Disney Parks following prior significant investments. Today, as Disney envisions future expansion prospects, a treasure trove of stories remains untapped within its theme parks.
Already on the horizon are new Frozen-themed lands set to debut at Hong Kong Disneyland, Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris, Tokyo Disney Resort, as well as a Zootopia-themed land at Shanghai Disney Resort. However, Disney is committed to exploring additional characters and franchises, including those underutilized thus far, as it embarks on a new phase of substantial domestic and international growth in its parks and resorts.
Disney currently boasts the most extensive physical presence among global theme park travel enterprises, with 12 parks spanning six sites across the world. Its newest addition, Shanghai Disney Resort, was inaugurated in 2016. Disney Cruise Line covers 94 ports in 40 countries, while Disney’s industry-leading consumer products division disseminates Disney IP into households worldwide.
Notably, Walt Disney World Resort’s expanse dwarfs that of Manhattan, and Disneyland reigns as the most photographed place on Earth. Tens of millions of guests traverse Disney’s transportation networks annually.
The Parks business constitutes a fundamental driver of value creation for Disney, with recent positive segment outcomes through FY23Q3, partly stemming from strong performance at Disney’s international parks, particularly those in Asia. Shanghai Disney Resort and Hong Kong Disneyland, both exhibiting substantial post-pandemic growth through Q3 FY23, possess further expansion prospects with forthcoming expansions.
In addition to ongoing development initiatives, significant room for expansion exists on land and at sea. Disney Parks holds over 1,000 acres of land for potential future development, which equates to roughly seven new Disneyland Parks.
Simultaneously, Disney Cruise Line serves as a potent ambassador for the brand in diverse ports and markets globally, extending beyond its theme parks, with upcoming ventures in Australia, New Zealand, and a new homeport in Singapore beginning in 2025. Over the next two years, Disney is poised to almost double its cruise line capacity by adding two ships in fiscal year 2025 and another in 2026, thereby opening up new markets to Disney experiences.
Currently, Disney presides over seven of the world’s top ten most-attended theme parks, with Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom Park reigning as the most attended theme park globally for several decades. Disney Parks collectively welcome approximately 100 million visitors each year.
Nonetheless, there remains vast untapped potential for engaging more consumers. Disney’s internal research suggests an addressable market of over 700 million individuals with a strong affinity for Disney, who have yet to experience its Parks. For every guest visiting a Disney Park, more than ten people with a strong Disney affinity abstain from doing so.
As Disney extends its footprint and offerings, it aims not only to connect with more of its existing fans but also to cultivate new devotees and loyal customers.
As the company finalizes its plans to accelerate and expand investments in its Parks business, it eagerly anticipates introducing fans to an even greater array of powerful characters and stories, enlarging its global reach, advancing its cutting-edge commercial capabilities, and harnessing its unparalleled global talent to establish connections with new generations of fans worldwide.