Disney’s $60 billion theme park funding will deliver change ‘throughout,’ says CEO Bob Iger

It is a good time to be a Disney fan. Final September, throughout an investor summit in Orlando, Disney introduced plans to “speed up and develop funding” in its theme parks, cruise line and different trip experiences — to the tune of $60 billion over the subsequent decade.

“We have now an formidable development story that’s supported by a confirmed observe report and a daring imaginative and prescient for the way forward for our Parks enterprise,” Disney Parks, Experiences and Merchandise Chairman Josh D’Amaro stated in a press release.

Throughout Wednesday’s first-quarter earnings name, Disney dropped just a few extra hints on what’s to come back for its theme parks throughout the globe, after reporting that each one of its parks was worthwhile in the course of the first quarter of Disney’s 2024 fiscal 12 months.

Disney’s new Chief Monetary Officer Hugh Johnston revealed the corporate is earmarking roughly 70% of that $60 billion — or round $42 billion — for “incremental capacity-expanding investments across the globe.”

The “Magic Occurs” parade at Disneyland. DISNEY

The corporate is “already arduous at work figuring out the place we’ll place our new investments and what they are going to be,” Disney CEO Lavatory Iger additional defined. “You’ll be able to just about conclude that they’re going to be throughout — that means each single considered one of our areas would be the beneficiary of elevated funding and thus elevated capability, together with on the excessive seas, the place we’re at the moment constructing three extra ships,” he continued.

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By way of timing, Iger stated, “I am not going to actually provide you with rather more of a way of timing besides that, , we’re arduous at work at getting this stuff mainly conceived and constructed. We have got a menu of issues that can mainly begin opening in 2025, and there will be a cadence yearly of further funding and elevated capability.”

Although particulars are scarce, up till just a few years in the past, Disney was much more tight-lipped about upcoming initiatives in its theme parks. Solely since D’Amaro stepped into the position of chairman of Disney Experiences has Disney given friends a peek backstage at what it’s dreaming up subsequent.

World of Frozen at Hong Kong Disneyland. TARAH CHIEFFI/THE POINTS GUY

“I am as a lot of a fan as I’m the chief of Disney Experiences. I get an opportunity to be with the Imagineers each single day and see what they’re engaged on, whether or not it is a mannequin or a sketch or simply somebody discussing an concept. And it is fabulous; if I may spend each waking second there, I might,” D’Amaro instructed TPG throughout a panel interview on the grand opening of Hong Kong Disneyland’s World of Frozen. “In my first 12 months on this position, I stated, ‘We ought to be sharing this with the world,'” he added.

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Throughout 2022’s annual D23 Expo fan conference in Anaheim, California, D’Amaro, together with Chris Beatty, senior artistic govt at Walt Disney Imagineering, and Jennifer Lee, chief artistic officer of Disney Animation, shared a treasure trove of “blue sky” concepts for the Disney parks.

Disney’s Huge Thunder Mountain Railroad. KATIE GENTER/THE POINTS GUY

Throughout a presentation known as “A Boundless Future,” Beatty shared idea artwork and concepts that answered the query, “What in the event you may journey to the opposite facet of Huge Thunder Mountain?” The workforce then unveiled idea artwork for lands themed to “Coco,” “Encanto” and Disney villains.

Disney shared further blue sky ideas throughout 2023’s Vacation spot D23 occasion held at Walt Disney World, this time revealing potentialities for a “reimagined” Dinoland U.S.A. at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The proposed land could be set within the “tropical Americas” area of South and Central America, with experiences impressed by “Encanto” and the “Indiana Jones” franchise.

These concepts, which can or might not come to fruition within the iterations Disney shared, acknowledge what Disney is able to, however, extra importantly, they reveal Disney’s dedication to bringing fan-favorite tales to life in new and thrilling methods.

Zootopia at Shanghai Disney Resort. DISNEY

Disney is already demonstrating this with the latest openings of World of Frozen in Hong Kong and Zootopia at Shanghai Disney Resort. With the worldwide recognition of “Frozen” — and the third and fourth installments of the franchise confirmed — we additionally know Disney is not performed bringing Anna, Elsa and Olaf to its theme parks simply but.

“Whereas I am not going to offer you any new info at the moment, what I’m gonna inform you is that I really like “Frozen” within the property … You understand we have now numerous house and really excessive ambitions … all I can say is, ‘Keep tuned, there’s much more coming,'” D’Amaro stated within the interview at Hong Kong Disneyland.

Idea artwork for the Zootopia attraction coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. DISNEY

Along with “Frozen”- and “Zootopia”-themed lands, Disney parks have fairly just a few initiatives within the works. There is a new “Zootopia” attraction changing “It is Powerful to be a Bug!” at Animal Kingdom later this 12 months, Tiana’s Bayou Journey will open at Disney World and Disneyland someday this 12 months, and a brand new attraction is being deliberate for Avengers Campus in Disneyland, to call just a few.

Idea artwork for Tiana’s Bayou Journey at Disney World and Disneyland. DISNEY

This may occasionally sound like loads, however Disney has loads of room to develop in its current parks. “We stand alone relating to scale,” D’Amaro stated in 2023’s enlargement announcement. “And whereas our scale is spectacular, we have now no scarcity of house or areas of the world during which to inform new tales.”

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In actual fact, Disney has greater than 1,000 acres of land — concerning the measurement of seven Disneyland parks — for potential future growth to develop capability throughout its current theme parks.

Should you’ve at all times needed to step into the world of your favourite Disney movie, chances are you’ll simply have your likelihood inside the subsequent few years. “Over the subsequent decade, we’ll have extra initiatives underway than at any level in our historical past,” D’Amaro stated. “Our sole function is to offer you increasingly of what you like a couple of Disney expertise. After which shock and delight you with belongings you by no means dreamed potential.”

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