Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger said today on the company's quarterly earnings call that Disney is looking at opportunities to build additional theme parks in China and elsewhere around the world.
"We think there’s opportunities to expand in China," Iger said. "There may also be opportunities in other parts of the world."
Disney reported that its U.S. theme park attendance was up five percent year-over-year for the quarter, of which 40% of the gain was attributable to Easter falling within the quarter this year. Spending was up on tickets, food, and merchandise, with Disney enjoying domestic hotel occupancy higher than 90 percent. All together, parks revenue was up 13 percent to $4.9 billion.
But Disney also sees growth opportunities for its brand by developing additional parks in other markets around the world, too.
A surprisingly(?) candid answer from $DIS CEO Bob Iger to a question about potential parks in new parts of the world. In short: it’s inevitable, but not immediate.— Hannah Sampson (@hannahbsampson) May 8, 2018
Disney opened Shanghai Disneyland in 2016 but currently has no other theme parks under development. Yet Disney is expanding aggressively within its parks around the world, opening Toy Story Lands this year in Shanghai and Orlando, and Star Wars lands in Anaheim and Orlando next year. Major expansion plans also have been announced at Disney's other resorts, in Paris, Hong Kong, and Tokyo.
Picking the site for a new theme park demands sharp research and attention to global and local markets and political trends. Disney would need to find locations with the promise of a strong local economy, support for tourism, and political stability. Disney also would need to consider the desirability of working with local development partners, versus buying land, building the resort, and maintaining it on its own. A poor choice could cost the company billions of dollars, not to mention the opportunity cost of developing a park in a better location elsewhere.
So this is not a decision to be taken lightly or made swiftly. As Iger said, "it doesn’t necessarily mean we're going to build something anytime very soon. But we're going to look."Tweet
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