With the release of the Walt Disney Company’s fiscal quarter January – March 2013 earnings, it is quite apparent that their investments in the Florida Fantasyland expansion and California Cars Land paid off nicely.

  • Revenue increased 10% for the company as a whole thanks to a 14% revenue gain for the Disney’s parks and resorts segment.
  • Disney parks earnings translated into an increase of roughly $300 million quarter over quarter from last year. Notable is the fact that expenses related to the opening of Fantasyland in Central Florida did not largely reoccur in 2013. This drop in expenses is approximately $1.1 billion straight to the bottom line for the first six months of 2013.
  • The Disney Parks and Resorts segment is now the second largest unit in the company behind Disney Media with sales topping $4 billion for the quarter. Disney Parks earnings are clearly driving the company.

 

If you want more details on the Disney earnings release, click here for the investors webcast.

What Will be the Next Big Thing at the Disney Parks?

With the Disney Media properties being the laggard in terms of growth (especially at ABC), the pressure will be on for growth in existing or entirely new attractions longer term. We believe we will continue to see a few new and continued themes to emerge:

  • Star Wars® – Chairman Bob Iger indicated on the earnings conference call that the company would continue to develop Star Wars properties for the Disney theme parks. This may be more of a continued presence of Star Wars characters in certain venues in the short term and even perhaps a Star Wars attraction longer term?
  • Avatar Land – Although the new attraction within Animal Kingdom was announced in 2012, plans for the opening of Disney’s Avatar Land appear to be on schedule for a 2017 opening. Projected costs are projected to be around $500 according to a recent article in the Orlando Sentinel. This project is still in the development and planning phase.
  • Fantasy Land to 2014 – The Princess Fairytale Hall is still on schedule for a Fall 2013 opening as well. The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is slated to open in 2014 after 4 years of planning and construction.

The patient park planning is certainly paying off for the Walt Disney Company. Quality entertainment has always been at the heart of the company’s mission and value system.

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