‘Ambitious,’ ‘turbocharged’: Disney plans to spend $60B on parks, cruise line over next 10 years

Though Disney has recently had flops at the box office, one place that’s still going strong in the House of Mouse is its theme parks. And on Tuesday, The New York Times reported that the company is planning to spend about $60 billion on its domestic and international parks while at the same time growing the Disney Cruise Line.

The information was gathered from a filing with the Security and Exchange Commission.

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The Times reported that the $60 billion is double what the company has spent over the past 10 years to expand its Shanghai Disney Resort, add ships to the fleet and build rides as well as full lands at Walt Disney World, Disneyland and at international parks based on “Tron” for the former, and “Star Wars,” “Avatar,” “Marvel” and “Toy Story” for the latter.

Those are just the completed projects that have opened in recent years. There is still the “Frozen” land scheduled to be opened in Hong Kong later this year, three more ships that will bring the total ocean liners to eight and a second private island in the Bahamas.

Disney either owns outright or licenses 12 parks in six locations across the globe, Variety reported. About 100 million people visit a Disney park annually, though officials expect they could reach as many as 700 million people “with a Disney affinity” who do not typically visit the theme parks.

“There are far fewer limits to our parks business than people think,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said in an email, according to the Times.

“The growth trajectory is very compelling if we do nothing beyond what we have already committed,” he added, referring to announced projects already in various phases of development. “By dramatically increasing our investment — building big, being ambitious, maintaining quality and high standards and using our most popular I.P. — it will be turbocharged.”

The company recently announced its “blue sky” ideas to bring “Indiana Jones“ and “Encanto” I.P. to the Animal Kingdom park during a recent event at Walt Disney World — Destination D23.

Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman Josh D’Amaro said on Sept. 9, “Over the next decade, we’re going to have more projects underway than at any point in our history. Our sole purpose is to give you more and more of what you love about a Disney experience. And then surprise and delight you with things you never dreamed possible.”

Variety reported that the company has about 1,000 acres of land that could be developed around the world. That equates to about seven properties each the size of Disneyland in Anaheim, California.

News of the investment and expansion, however, wasn’t met with cheers from investors. Shares of the company’s stock fell about 3% in early trading, CNBC reported. It also came months after the company cut 7,000 jobs worldwide to help lower its budget by $5.5 billion, CNN reported in May.

Disney also canceled plans earlier this year to relocate its Imagineering division from California to Lake Nona in Orlando, Florida.

Entertainment website ScreenRant called Disney the “big loser” of the summer movie season, with “$900 million worth of box office disappointments” as films such as “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” and “Haunted Mansion” not performing as well as the company had hoped. The fifth “Indiana Jones” movie had a budget of about $300 million but made only $382 million worldwide, while the “Haunted Mansion” remake had an estimated budget of $150 million and made a worldwide gross of only $109 million, according to IMDB.

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