Disney’s financial restructuring has revealed impressive numbers for its theme park business, with over $24 billion in overall revenue for the first nine months of 2023, a 17% increase from the same period in 2022. Theme park admissions alone contributed nearly $8 billion to the total, reflecting a 21% growth year-over-year. The new financial reporting breaks down revenues into three categories: parks and experiences merchandise, food, and beverage; merchandise licensing and retail; and park licensing and other. This shift in reporting comes as part of Disney’s broader restructuring, which divided the company into three divisions: entertainment, sports, and experiences.
Disney is set to nearly double its investment in the theme parks division, allocating around $60 billion over the next decade. This significant creative investment is expected to drive growth in the theme park business, making it the most substantial investment for Disney in decades.
Despite challenges in the broader theme park industry, including lower attendance reported by Disney, Universal, Six Flags, and Sea World, Disney’s theme park revenue continues to grow. Factors contributing to the overall industry slowdown include higher ticket prices and increased travel to Europe. However, Disney has strategically implemented discounted offerings during non-peak seasons to attract families.
Disney’s plans for theme park growth include various projects such as the redesign of Splash Mountain with a “Princess and the Frog” theme, updates to existing hotel and resort locations, and a significant expansion of its cruise line with the addition of two ships in fiscal 2025 and another in 2026.
Internationally, Hong Kong Disneyland is set to open a “Frozen”-inspired land and Shanghai Disneyland has a “Zootopia”-themed land in development. The company has also teased “blue sky” ideas for its parks, including potential areas themed around “Coco” or “Encanto” at Magic Kingdom and revamping Dino Land at Animal Kingdom to be a “Zootopia” or “Moana” area.
While these projects are still in early development, Disney’s commitment to substantial investment and creative expansion underscores its confidence in the future growth of the theme park business. Disney is scheduled to report fiscal fourth-quarter earnings on November 8.
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