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Disney to double investment in theme parks and cruises


Disney World celebrated its 50th anniversary in April 2022.

Aaronp | Bauer-Griffin | GC Images | Getty Images

Disney said in a securities filing Tuesday that it would nearly double its planned investment to about $60 billion over a 10-year period.

Shares fell more than 2% in early trading.

As the company grapples with the changing media and entertainment landscape – and attempts to make its streaming business profitable while considering sales from its traditional television networks – the theme parks, experiences and products division was a positive point.

Still, the company’s national parks, particularly Walt Disney World in Florida, have seen a slowdown in attendance and hotel room purchases. Instead, the segment’s strength comes from its international fleets. During the third quarter, the division saw its revenue increase 13%, to $8.3 billion.

Disney will rely on its brands and intellectual property to develop its theme parks. The company planned to reveal more details about the investment during its investor day on Tuesday.

“Today, as Disney considers future growth opportunities, there are a multitude of stories that have yet to be fully explored at its theme parks,” the company said in Tuesday’s presentation, highlighting attractions on the “Frozen” and “Zootopia” theme in its theme park. parks outside the United States in Hong Kong, Paris, Tokyo and Shanghai.

Shortly after Bob Iger returned as CEO, Disney announced changes to its parks following customer complaints about rising prices and longer wait times.

Disney highlighted historic results for the parks and experiences business since 2017 thanks to increased investments. Disney parks, like their peers, suffered from confinement due to the pandemic.

Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Dream is seen docked in Port Canaveral, Florida on July 30, 2021.

Joe Burbank | Orlando Sentinel | Getty Images

Rivals, including Comcast’Florida’s universal parks have seen a similar slowdown.

The increased investment comes as Disney is embroiled in legal action with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis that could affect its plans to expand the Orlando location in coming years.

Earlier this year, Disney filed a lawsuit against DeSantis, accusing the governor and his special district’s new board members of waging a campaign of political retaliation against the entertainment company.

Shortly after, Disney doubled down on its Florida park and said it would continue to invest and expand its Florida theme park over the next 10 years. In May, Disney announced it would invest $17 billion in the Florida hub, potentially creating 13,000 jobs.

Florida’s governor, currently running for president, targeted Disney’s special district after the company publicly criticized a controversial Florida bill — dubbed “Don’t Say Gay” by critics — that limits discussion on sexual orientation and gender identity in classrooms.

Earlier this month, Disney dropped all of its free speech allegations against DeSantis, focusing only on the First Amendment claim that the governor had carried out political retaliation against the company.

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal, which owns CNBC.