Disney Plans $60B Expansion of Theme Parks Business

In a dramatic expansion of its theme parks, products and cruise line business, The Walt Disney Co. says that it will spend $60 billion over the next 10 years to turbocharge growth in the lucrative division.

That is nearly double its investment compared to the prior 10-year period, the company says.

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In May, Disney CEO Bob Iger said that the company had plans to invest $17 billion in Walt Disney World over the next 10 years, an investment cited in response to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ plan to dismantle the Reedy Creek Improvement District.

“Does the state want us to invest more, employ more people and pay more taxes or not?” Iger said at the time.

It is not immediately clear if the $17 billion Disney World investment is included in the larger $60 billion figure.

In a presentation to investors at Disney World on Tuesday, the company said that it had more than 1,000 acres of land available for development, including at Disneyland in California; Walt Disney World in Florida; its theme parks in France, China and Japan; and cruise ship ports in the U.S., Asia, and Australia.

The investor presentation was led by Iger and Disney Parks chief Josh D’Amaro, who said that the company’s focus will be on “stories, scale and fans.”

“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,” the company said in an investor briefing, adding that it plans to “explore even more characters and franchises, including some that haven’t been leveraged extensively to date,” at its parks around the world.

On the scale front, the company cites its existing parks and the 1,000-plus acres available to it, as well as a further expansion of its cruise line business in Asia, as well as Australia and New Zealand (markets that it will enter for the first time later this year).

“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.” the company wrote.

Expanding Disney’s characters and its scale are critical to the third piece of Disney’s messaging: fans.

“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,” the company says. “In fact, for every one guest who visits a Disney Park, there are more than 10 people with Disney affinity who do not visit the Parks.”

It is betting that its massive investment, and expansion in both storytelling and reach, can help bridge that gap.

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