ֱ

Skip to content

Business |
Iger: Disney parks profitable in 1st quarter, expansion plans will start rolling in 2025

Disney CEO Robert Iger attends the premiere of FX’s “Feud: Capote Vs. The Swans” at the Museum of Modern Art on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Disney CEO Robert Iger attends the premiere of FX’s “Feud: Capote Vs. The Swans” at the Museum of Modern Art on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Author
PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

CEO Bob Iger was asked about a possible “fifth gate” for on Wednesday.  He didn’t exactly plead the fifth but also didn’t squash the notion.

Iger responded to a question after the company’s quarterly earnings report. During a session with market analysts, he referenced the previously announced $60 billion earmarked for theme parks over the next decade, saying 70% of that would go to “incremental capacity.”

Later, he was asked where and when.

“We’re already hard at work, basically, determining where we’re going to place our new investments and what they will be,” Iger said. “You can pretty much conclude that they’ll be all over, meaning every single one of our locations will be the beneficiary of increased investment and thus increased capacity, including on the high seas.”

As far as timing goes, “we’ve got a menu of things that will basically start opening in ‘25, and there’ll be a cadence every year of additional investment and increased capacity,” he said.

Speculation grew about a Disney World expansion last week in the wake of that’s set to open in 2025.

“Every one of our parks was profitable in Q1 giving us an incredibly solid foundation to build upon as we invest significantly to turbocharge growth in this business,” Iger said.

Revenue in Disney’s Experiences division, which includes its global theme parks and Disney Cruise Line, was up 7% over the first quarter a year ago.  The uptick was 4% at the company’s U.S. parks in Florida and California, but 35% in the international markets.

Iger pointed to the opening of World of Frozen at Hong Kong Disneyland and the Zootopia land at Shanghai Disneyland as significant contributors to the increases.

Disney’s shares were soaring in after-market trading after the company beat analysts’ predictions for earnings and announced it would increase its dividend by 50%.

Adjusted earnings were $1.22 a share vs. predictions of 99 cents. Company officials attributed the improvement to cost-cutting (Disney cut thousands of jobs last year) and improved earnings with its streaming service.

Additional developments coming out of Disney quarterly report included:

• On Tuesday, Disney announced a sports streaming service with Fox and Warner Brothers Discovery, set to debut this year. That effort will expand in 2025, Disney said Wednesday, with an app that allows direct access to ESPN plus more Disney programming, a betting aspect and perhaps shopping.

• The company is investing $1.5 billion for an equity stake in Epic Games, maker of which will create new content. “Just as we take our IP from our movies and our television and have them expressed in our parks, this is a great way to do it in games,” Iger said.

• The sequel to the 2016 animated film planned as a television offering, will instead get a full theatrical release in November.

• will be shown exclusively on beginning March 15. It will be “Taylor’s Version” of the film and include songs not included in the original release, including “Cardigan.”

• In a interview with Julia Boorstin, Iger talked about his eventual successor. “There’s a succession committee of the board. They meet regularly. … It is the board’s No. 1 priority. I’m confident we’re going to find a successor to me in due time and in the right time,” he said.

dbevil@orlandosentinel.com

More in Business