You are currently viewing Half of Disney’s $60 Billion Plan Going to Theme Parks & Resorts

Half of Disney’s $60 Billion Plan Going to Theme Parks & Resorts


In a brand new submitting with the SEC, the Walt Disney Firm has provided a breakdown on the allocation of its deliberate $60 billion funding in Parks & Resorts as a part of a 10-year funding plan. This put up shares the most recent particulars, as the way forward for Walt Disney World and Disneyland begin to come into focus.

For starters, this SEC submitting is titled “Disney’s Plan for Shareholder Worth Creation” and is a part of the continuing proxy struggle with Nelson Peltz’s Trian and that different activist investor that desires to do AI stuff and for theme parks to be handled like common ole business actual property. It’s turn into obvious that almost all of you may have misplaced curiosity within the battle of the board–or have already made up your thoughts–so we’re not going to fixate on any of that.

Simply bear in mind that that is a part of a full 60 web page SEC submitting that additionally hypes up the present board and knocks the proposed different slates. It additionally makes the case for Iger’s imaginative and prescient for Disney, discussing studio creativity, streaming profitability, and the way forward for ESPN. You recognize, the standard suspects for Disney as the corporate continues rebuilding.

Within the presentation, Disney reiterates its $60 billion funding plan for the following 10 years, which incorporates capital to broaden capability at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line and the worldwide parks.

In line with that, investments will construct upon Disney Parks & Resort’s observe document of producing outsized ROI (within the presentation, the corporate notes that Parks & Resorts is the corporate’s most worthwhile section) and can deal with:

  • Accelerating storytelling by using its wealth of mental property, untapped tales and unmatched creativity
  • Increasing footprints: Disney has over 1,000 acres of accessible growth parcels throughout the six current resorts in North America, Europe, and Asia
  • Investing in modern expertise to enhance the visitor expertise
  • Reaching new followers around the globe: for each park visitor right now, there are over 10 customers with Disney affinity who don’t go to the parks in a given 12 months

Disney additional elaborates that its 10-year funding plans are to “create magical new experiences and refresh current infrastructure.” The corporate additional states that roughly 70% of the plan is earmarked for capacity-expanding investments.

Breaking this down additional, Disney signifies that fifty% of the capital allocation plan is for theme parks and resorts, 20% is for Disney Cruise Line or “different” and 30% is for expertise and upkeep.

It’s in all probability apparent, however they’re attending to the 70% ‘capacity-expanding’ quantity by including collectively theme parks with cruises/different. The remaining 30% is for expertise and upkeep. What, precisely, does all of this imply? Let’s break it down a bit.

First, you’ve in all probability heard a part of this earlier than. On the earnings name a couple of weeks in the past, new CFO Hugh Johnston stated that “roughly 70% [of the $60 billion plan] is earmarked for incremental capability increasing investments across the globe.”

Bob Iger added the next: “We’re already exhausting at work at principally figuring out the place we’re going to position our new investments and what they are going to be. You’ll be able to just about conclude that they’ll be throughout, that means each single one in all our areas would be the beneficiary of elevated funding and, thus, elevated capability, together with on the excessive seas, the place we’re presently constructing three extra ships.”

“I’m not going to essentially offer you way more of a way of timing, besides that we’re exhausting at work at getting these items principally conceived and constructed. And we’ve obtained a menu of issues that can principally begin opening in 2025, and there’ll be a cadence yearly of further funding and elevated capability,” continued Iger.

It looks like every time there’s an replace on this, a single new nugget of knowledge is shared. On this case, it’s the 50/20 breakdown between the theme parks and Disney Cruise Line. Properly, technically cruise ships slash different.

My guess is the “different” right here is the opposite parts of Disney Signature Experiences, which is DCL plus Adventures by Disney, Aulani, Storyliving, Golden Oak, and Disney Trip Membership. I’m not satisfied DVC investments would pull from this bucket reasonably than theme parks and resorts, however I don’t know sufficient to have an knowledgeable opinion. (The others all would, however how a lot CapEx are they realistically going to wish within the subsequent decade?)

From my perspective, that is excellent news–however unsurprising. When the $60 billion plan was first introduced, one of many ways in which it was dismissed by cynical Walt Disney World followers was by saying that it’ll in all probability principally go to Disney Cruise Line. My take then, as now, was that’s troublesome to see taking place for 2 causes.

First, DCL is wrapping up one enlargement cycle and it’s exhausting to think about Disney being overly aggressive with additional fleet enlargement earlier than assessing demand. Second, shipyard commitments are already years out. Disney could be hard-pressed to construct a number of new ships within the subsequent decade even when they wished. If something, the 20% quantity for Disney Cruise Line appears excessive to me–so I ponder how a lot of that’s going to the “different” areas of Disney Signature Experiences.

In any case, 70% of this $60 billion going in the direction of capacity-expanding investments is nice information. For these questioning what this implies, it means that Disney goes to deal with constructing new lands and sights reasonably than refurbishing current issues or spending cash on placemaking.

There are apparent examples of what this might imply. If Disneyland builds World of Frozen as a Fantasyland enlargement or Pandora in a few of the house opened up as a part of the DisneylandForward proposal, that’s capacity-expanding. When the Past Massive Thunder undertaking for Magic Kingdom corporations up, that’ll be capacity-expanding. A brand new World Showcase pavilion could be capacity-expanding. Ditto a brand new journey changing lifeless house in Animation Courtyard.

The brand new attraction (rumored to be a curler coaster) now below growth adjoining to Zootopia is capacity-expanding. Constructing a Marvel E-Ticket at Hong Kong Disneyland could be capability increasing. Identical goes for growing the enlargement pad on the far aspect of the brand new lake at Walt Disney Studios Park.

But it surely’s in all probability a bit extra sophisticated than that genuinely. Altering Rock ‘n’ Curler Coaster Starring Aerosmith right into a theoretical ‘Taylor’s Model’ of the journey or one set in Wakanda in all probability shouldn’t be capacity-expanding. Nonetheless, the overhaul from Ellen’s Power Journey to Cosmic Rewind arguably was capacity-expanding for EPCOT, as a result of it’s primarily a completely new journey and it changed one thing unpopular. What about Tropical Americas in Animal Kingdom? Most likely a little bit of each.

This brings us to the 30% for expertise and upkeep. It type of went with out saying that if 70% was for capacity-expanding additions, then 30% was for updates that did not broaden capability. However now it’s listed as a line merchandise–expertise and upkeep–and that’s seen as regarding by some followers.

It shouldn’t be. This doesn’t imply upkeep within the sense of the annual closure to Kali River Rapids. It’s not repairs, common journey refurbishments, or in a single day preventative upkeep. These are not CapEx, they’re working bills. Whereas Walt Disney World very a lot must be spending way more on routine upkeep, it largely shouldn’t be coming from the $60 billion.

Technically, for these investments to qualify as CapEx, they’d want to increase the helpful lifetime of the attraction. (And I assume that is the usual getting used since that is for traders and filed with the SEC.) The Rock ‘n’ Curler Coaster instance above? It wouldn’t qualify in the event that they’re merely altering out the prop…but it surely’s a probably completely different story totally if the journey system or infrastructure is changed.

One other instance could be Spaceship Earth. If Imagineering went in and easily added the Story Gentle stuff, that shouldn’t qualify. But when in addition they changed the observe and journey system, it could. And that’s extra possible than not what would occur, since Spaceship Earth has been overdue for a significant overhaul for the final 5 years. That may not broaden capability, however it could fall into that 30% bucket.

Just about each attraction that might conceivably be reimagined is at a degree in its lifecycle the place extra than simply the thematic parts have to be up to date. It additionally is smart to make infrastructure updates that enhance reliability and lengthen the helpful lifetime of the asset.

All of this bears mentioning as a result of the primary half of the last decade goes to be pretty heavy on reimaginings. Zootopia within the Tree of Life, Indiana Jones Journey changing DINOSAUR, no matter’s up with Take a look at Observe, and different yet-to-be-announced transformations. (As I’ve stated earlier than, my cash is on Rock ‘n’ Curler Coaster being subsequent up, and probably Journey into Creativeness.)

That is nearly essentially the case if Bob Iger’s remark about an annual cadence is appropriate. We’ve all seen how “rapidly” Disney builds new lands and sights. Even when building began right now on a Villains Lair past Massive Thunder (it gained’t), the opening date wouldn’t be till 2027 on the absolute earliest. Against this, they may shut DINOSAUR in the direction of the top of this 12 months or early 2025 and have Indiana Jones Journey prepared by 2026. Regardless of the plan is for Rock ‘n’ Curler Coaster might be completed even sooner.

None of this needs to be an enormous shock. Iger beforehand indicated that the $60 billion in spending on Parks & Resorts over the following 10 years could be backloaded. Josh D’Amaro has made feedback that they need to develop the footprints of the parks whereas additionally bettering utilization inside them.

We’re completely going to get reimaginings–and most of these will come from this $60 billion bucket. Simply need to mood expectations a bit, whereas additionally masking how that 30% on tech and upkeep might be an excellent use of funds, particularly at Walt Disney World which is in want of journey updates.

Personally, I nonetheless suppose it is a pretty constructive growth. That fifty% of $60 billion being earmarked for capacity-expanding additions within the theme parks remains to be $30 billion. That’s lots. Granted, there are different theme parks on this planet, however no matter is inbuilt Hong Kong and Shanghai solely requires a partial funding from Disney. (Not one of the cash spent on Tokyo Disney Resort comes from Disney–that’s all revenue.)

We all know that the corporate plans to spend about $2 to $3 billion on Disneyland. Even earlier than the $60 billion quantity was launched, Disney stated that $17 billion is earmarked for Walt Disney World. They haven’t talked about that quantity shortly, however this could affirm that it’s in all probability fairly near correct–if not an understatement of the funding.

Disney is barely spending $12 billion on cruise ships (and different) plus $3 billion on Disneyland. I’d wager that one other $4 billion mixed is destined for the Asia parks, which could appear low, however they’re wrapping up developments and no matter is spent solely partially comes from Disney’s coffers. Disneyland Paris is the most important wildcard, as investments there are actually beginning to repay–so perhaps one other $5 billion there? (Wouldn’t shock me in the event that they wager even greater on DLP.)

Regardless of the way you slice it, it appears to me like Walt Disney World will see no less than $17 billion in funding. (Possibly the $17 billion is only for capacity-expanding additions, and so they’re additionally getting one other few billion for upkeep and tech?) After accounting for inflation considerably rising prices, that’s about on par with the last decade that introduced us Pandora, Toy Story Land, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Cosmic Rewind, and TRON Lightcycle Run.

Additionally in that very same decade, untold sums have been spent on street and different infrastructure work in addition to (figuratively and actually) dumped right into a pit at EPCOT. It wouldn’t shock me within the least if the quantity spent on issues that didn’t broaden capability at Walt Disney World over the past decade was above 40%. If there’s a greater roadmap for the following decade and cash is spent extra fastidiously, it may go even additional. (Right here’s hoping for no new international pandemics that throw monkey wrenches into plans halfway by means of!)

With all of that stated, I don’t need to be accused of portray an excessively optimistic image. My greatest concern when seeing that 30% quantity for tech and upkeep is a repeat of the MyMagic+ and NextGen boondoggle, the place billions of {dollars} are blown on interactive junk and makes an attempt at avoiding constructing new sights. (One of many good issues about Iger nonetheless being round is he is aware of that was a mistake and hopefully realized from it!)

Expertise is essential and Disney does have a patchwork of legacy IT programs. These would require funding over the following decade, and possibly pretty vital sums. That cash clearly needs to be spent–simply as Disney ought to enhance infrastructure consisting of roadways, sidewalks, and so forth. It’s unsexy, but it surely’s essential. I simply hope they spend it fastidiously and we don’t get one other Genie itinerary builder that retains sending me to the carrousel for my first journey of the day. An entire and utter waste of time, expertise and cash.

One other concern is the backloaded nature of the capacity-expanding additions. One truism with Disney is that part 2 by no means occurs, as a result of budgets get lower or actual world occasions intervene. All it takes is a recession and Wall Road may get spooked and search for Disney to undertake shortsighted austerity measures. And Disney would, as a result of they’re beholden to investor whims, sadly.

The excellent news is that, within the right here and now, Wall Road needs theme park investments. Disney Parks is the one large brilliant spot for the corporate. The division has been resilient, at the same time as actually the whole lot else has faltered. The difficulty isn’t a want to really spend cash on theme parks. Disney has that in spades. The issue has been the cash a part of the equation. They didn’t have the free money stream. They do now, or reasonably, will by the top of this fiscal 12 months. It’s going to occur. Lastly.

I do know that is in all probability going to be an unpopular opinion amongst jaded followers who’re skeptical of Disney’s present management and course. I additionally know I’m extra bullish than the common fan who has been burned earlier than and is now (understandably) in wait and see mode. However from my perspective, Iger and D’Amaro each saying the identical issues about enlargement and future developments for over a 12 months now reinforces that there are substantive plans, and it’s not simply posturing or hole hype. The cash has been the problem, not the urge for food for enlargement.

The stage is ready for a completely colossal 2024 D23 Expo. One with greater than only a bunch of “what ifs?” or daydreaming–and as a substitute precise concrete bulletins and timelines for each Walt Disney World and Disneyland enlargement (together with reimaginings). After all, that assumes all goes nicely with the proxy fights and Iger’s turnaround continues at its present trajectory. Time will inform, I suppose.

Planning a Walt Disney World journey? Study accommodations on our Walt Disney World Accommodations Evaluations web page. For the place to eat, learn our Walt Disney World Restaurant Evaluations. To economize on tickets or decide which sort to purchase, learn our Ideas for Saving Cash on Walt Disney World Tickets put up. Our What to Pack for Disney Journeys put up takes a novel take a look at intelligent gadgets to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Trip Guides will assist. For complete recommendation, the very best place to begin is our Walt Disney World Journey Planning Information for the whole lot it is advisable to know!


What do you consider the Walt Disney Firm’s plans for the Parks & Resorts? Excited that 70% of the “turbocharged” funding of $60 billion is for capacity-expansions? What about seeing $30 billion earmarked for theme parks? Suppose 30% for tech and upkeep is an excessive amount of or about proper? Do you agree or disagree with our evaluation? Any questions we can assist you reply? Listening to your suggestions–even while you disagree with us–is each attention-grabbing to us and useful to different readers, so please share your ideas under within the feedback!