Disney released their earnings report earlier this month, and they’ve hit record highs in revenue. The highest earning division continues to be the theme parks. Even while the international theme parks stay steady in revenue, sometimes at a loss year over year, the domestic theme parks pull the weight for all of them. In 2018, Disney’s operating profit was $4.5 billion dollars, which is more than a 100% increase from five years ago.
With theme parks being, by far, Disney’s biggest return on investment, they’re continuing to invest big.
Some estimate that Disney will spend an astonishing $24 billion over the next five years on attractions, Disney resort hotels, and Disney Cruise Line cruise ships. That’s more than they paid for Pixar, Marvel, and LucasFilm combined – by nearly $10 billion dollars!
Bob Chapek, Chairman of the Parks, Experiences, and Consumer Products division, says that this investment is “enhancement on steroids”. And these enhancements are more than just some new paint and some infrastructure reinforcement. Disney is building entirely new lands and adding onto parks like never before.
In Disney World alone, they opened Toy Story Land in Disney’s Hollywood Studios just this summer, and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will open in the same park next year. Epcot is seeing a major overhaul, but details are still pretty fuzzy.
Chapek says, “We want to be the disruptor, not the disruptee”. Their goal is to make their parks so relevant that even those who are nostalgic for the parks will love the new additions so much that they don’t miss something that was once a favorite. What’s more, future consumers are looking for high-tech experiences that wow them every time.
Disney investing more in parks than media: a good plan?