During a conference on Monday morning, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman Josh D’Amaro was asked by the moderator and JP Morgan media analyst Phil Cusick if Disney would follow Comcast’s example and start to build mini-parks that are more regional in nature. The question was asked during the JP Morgan Global Technology, Media & Communications Conference. The response was a fairly resounding no.
D’Amaro said that Disney will continue to focus on spending money on its theme parks and cruise ships moving forward, and not on mini-parks like the one being built in Texas by Comcast. D’Amaro said, “Focusing on our core assets is where we should be spending most of our opportunity.”
While Disney might not be opening any mini-parks, D’Amaro did hint that there could be a new theme park somewhere in Disney’s future in Singapore. This city-state is the home of the newest and biggest ship that will be joining the Disney Cruise Line. D’Amaro shared that running a cruise ship in the region “gives you some indication of how guests are receiving the brand and what the opportunities might be going forward.”
The conference comes after a big week for Disney which announced last week that it would be discontinuing voyages of its Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser in September and also not moving forward with a proposed $1 billion campus in Lake Nona that would have brought 2,000 jobs to Florida. While Disney won’t be continuing forward with these two ventures, D’Amaro shared during the same conference that the company still is planning on investing $17 billion in Florida in the coming years.
There has been increased scrutiny on what Disney does in Flordia as it continues to be in a feud with Governor Ron DeSantis. The feud, which Disney CEO Bob Iger says is “a matter of retaliation,” began last year when Disney came out against a “Don’t Say Gay” bill in the state. This was followed by Governor DeSantis leading efforts to strip away what he called the self-governance of “woke Disney” through the Reedy Creek Improvement District. Since then, Florida has replaced the Reedy Creek Improvement District with the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District which has a governing board that was hand-picked by the Governor. Before the new district came into being, Disney made a development agreement with Reedy Creek which has led to consternation in the district as it gave Disney the ability to continue to move forward for decades with its development plans and left the district to handle more of the day to day utilities and operations of the district. This has led to efforts by DeSantis and other officials to nullify the development agreement through both legislation and a countersuit to a lawsuit by Disney to uphold the previous arrangement.
Despite the controversy, Disney will be continuing to make magic in Florida and invest in its interests there. It remains to be seen how this dispute will impact future plans and investments, however. Daps Magic will continue to follow this story and provide updates as they become available.
What do you think of Disney deciding to stick with its core businesses and not branch out into building miniparks like Comcast? Do you think this is a good move? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.