Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Bob Iger Says Disney Sees Opportunities to Build Disney Parks in Other Parts of the World - Yes, But Where?

The Walt Disney Company Reports Second Quarter and Six Months Earnings for Fiscal 2018 and for Parks and Resorts revenues for the quarter increased 13% to $4.9 billion and segment operating income increased 27% to $1.0 billion.

 "Operating income growth for the quarter was due to increases at our domestic and international parks and resorts. Results included a benefit from a shift in the timing of the Easter holiday relative to our fiscal periods. The current quarter included one week of the Easter holiday, whereas the entire Easter holiday fell in the third quarter of the prior year.

 Higher operating income at our domestic parks and resorts was primarily due to increased guest spending, attendance growth at Walt Disney World Resort and higher sponsorship revenue, partially offset by increased costs. Guest spending growth was due to increases in average ticket prices, average daily hotel room rates and food, beverage and merchandise spending. The increase in costs was primarily due to labor and other cost inflation, an increase in depreciation associated with new attractions and higher technology spending.

 The increase at our international parks and resorts was due to growth at Disneyland Paris and higher occupied room nights and attendance at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort. These increases were partially offset by a decrease at Shanghai Disney Resort driven by lower attendance, cost inflation and an unfavorable foreign currency impact. Higher operating income at Disneyland Paris was due to increases in guest spending and attendance, partially offset by cost inflation. Guest spending growth at Disneyland Paris was due to higher average ticket prices driven by less discounting, and increases in average daily hotel room rates and food, beverage and merchandise spending."

Full official WDC results release HERE. The picture below summarizes the second quarter and six-month segment operating results for fiscal 2018 and 2017 (in millions)

Now, Bob Iger also said that he sees “opportunities to expand” the company’s theme parks in China and other parts of the world.  “We think there’s opportunities to expand in China,” Iger said. “There may also be opportunities in other parts of the world. The more popular our IP is, the more in-demand it is in our parks,” Iger said during the call adding that the WDC is evaluating where else in the world it might locate a theme park, based on factors such as economic and political stability. “It doesn’t necessarily mean we’re going to build something anytime very soon,” Iger said. “But we’re going to look.”

O-Kay. So, where Disney could build a new theme park? Although Iger had a meeting recently with the Saudi prince, i won't bet they will build a Disney theme park in Saudi Arabia, for many reasons including Saudi Arabia medieval rules, and they won't build one in Dubai either, at least in a near future, as there is already too many parks there - the Fox theme park was cancelled last week for this reason.

So, where? I don't know which country the WDC is currently thinking about but what i can tell you is where they WERE thinking to build a Disney theme park during the last ten years, even if they changed their plans finally at that time to build a park in Shanghaî. And among the countries where they envisioned and probably are still thinking to build a Disney park were South Korea - actually Imagineers have worked quite a bit on a park in South Korea and the great WDI artist John Horny even did concept-arts for it, Rio de Janeiro - they really thought about building a park in Brazil years ago, India - because they could have visitors from the Gulf or South-East Asia, but i suspect they're waiting for a bigger middle class in India, and Singapore - they were talks about it before Shanghaî and it didn't worked because the Singapore government apparently didn't agree with the deal proposed by Disney. And Iger talked not so long ago about Beijing, too. But, sorry, nothing about Australia even if long ago there was some talks about it.

Which one will be the lucky winner? Here is the order in which i would put my bets:
1. Beijing - because China is so big, the middle class is growing and SDL is doing so well.
2. Rio de Janeiro - because there is no Disney park in South America which so far was not a problem for Disney as South Americans could come to WDW.
3. India, but not probably before at least ten years.
4. Singapore - because of the political stability there and also because Singapore is the closest place in South East Asia looking like the U.S, but they might not be a number of park visitors enough for Disney which is probably looking to have at least 10 Million visitors per year.
5. South Korea is at the end of my list because of the proximity of Disney parks in Japan and Shanghaî or Hong Kong where Koreans can visit and actually go, and of course because of the unknown outcome of the crisis with North Korea.

We'll see where will be the next park but it won't be in Europe - Disneyland Paris is at the center of it, it won't be in Russia too, and it won't be in the Middle East or Africa because of Disney factors announced above.

Last but not least, what about the deal with FOX, now that Comcast announced yesterday a higher bid? Here is a Bloomberg video in which Iger talked about it yesterday. And by the way, a good news as The Wall Street Journal is reporting that James Murdoch will not join Disney if Disney is winning the acquisition of 21st Century Fox:

Video: copyright Bloomberg


Gdgourou said...

I would propose Tinajin instead of Beijing due to the proximity of the sea (less smog) and perhaps a Cruise line busines to connect each China theme parks.
Also a possibility could be in Vietnam or Thailand in the next 25 years...

For Malaysia, Disney should deal with Fox's theme park with Genting.

Christophe Heylen said...


Personally I think Singapore is the best of these mentioned above.
Singapore is a Big South East Asian hub and easily connected to Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.

That market is HUGE!! The total ASEAN Market alone household 650 million people and they have an ever growing middle class. The tourist sector is also rising with many more visitors coming from the Indian subcontinent. Plus Singapore has a good Visa Policy where a lot of neighbors countries can visit it in 30 to 90 days visa-free.

Also all the mayor religions are present at Singapore en they are very stable politically.

We'll see what the future will bring. But I don't expect announcements the next 10 years of any of that sort.

ps. Keep doing the good work! Love your Blog

Anonymous said...

Why not buy out Tokyo Disney Resort??

Alain Littaye said...

Because the Japanese - Oriental Land Co - don't want to sell.

Olaf said...

I thought the deal with Fox was allready a done deal??

Alain Littaye said...

Olaf, no it's not. Iger and Murdoch agreed on a deal but it needs apparently to have the agreement of Fox shareholders and of course to be approved by the U.S regulations dept for this kind of thing ( anti-trust laws, etc... ) and it'll take months before having the Gov approval. So, with Comcast counter offer which is higher and potentially more interesting for shareholders, it's far to be a done deal.

Zarniwoop said...

US has two resorts, Europe could have too. How about somewhere between Rome and Naples?