Monday, 11 November 2013

Disney plans Star Wars and Marvel attractions for theme parks

Disney plans Star Wars and Marvel attractions for theme parks

By Michelle Baran

On the heels of announcing the date for the next Star Wars movie — Dec. 18, 2015 — and that it would begin developing a Marvel-themed series for Netflix, executives at the Walt Disney Co. said that its two most recently acquired franchises will eventually have a greater presence at the company’s theme parks.

“Both of today's announcements underscore the value of two of our major acquisitions, Marvel and Lucasfilm,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call on Thursday.
“As you know, over the last several years, we've made a number of major acquisitions and capital investments to drive growth and create shareholder value. Now that some on those investments have been completed and the acquisitions are fully integrated, their positive impact is clear in our results, especially in parks and resorts.”

Iger said that the Disneyland Resort in California had record attendance, revenue and profitability during Cars Land’s first full year of operation at Disney’s California Adventure. It was an example of how the Pixar franchise enhanced the parks experience.

As for integrating the newer franchises, Hong Kong Disneyland will become home to the company’s first Marvel themed attraction, the Iron Man Experience, in late 2016.

Disney’s Parks and Resorts division continues to be a strong and growing segment of the company’s business. Revenue for the fourth quarter, which ended on Sept. 28, increased 8% to $3.7 billion, and segment operating income increased 15% to $571 million. For the year, Parks and Resorts revenue grew 9% to $14.1 billion and segment operating income increased 17% to $2.2 billion.

Walt Disney World set attendance records for the year, assisted by the Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland expansion, which will be fully completed in 2014. Disney has also begun construction on an Avatar-themed area at the Animal Kingdom park in Florida, and is continuing to work on a full rollout of the MyMagic+ program.

The Tokyo Disney Resort and Hong Kong Disneyland also had record attendance this year.

The Walt Disney Co.’s fourth-quarter revenue grew 7% to $11.6 billion, and net income grew 12% to $1.4 billion.

Full-year revenue increased 7% to $45 billion, and full-year net income increased 8% to $6.1 billion.