On September 10th, Disney participated in a question-and-answer session at the Bank of America Virtual 2020 Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference.
Check out what Christine McCarthy — Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of The Walt Disney Company — had to say about Disney’s construction priorities and all kinds of details about the future of the Disney parks.
Recently, Christine McCarthy — Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of The Walt Disney Company — participated in the Bank of America Virtual 2020 Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference.
During the Conference, she gave us a peek behind the curtain and a view into the future of Disney. McCarthy noted that COVID-19 has really “thrown a wrench” into a lot of Disney’s business, but that it has also made it clear that flexibility is key to success.
Let’s see what McCarthy had to say about specific areas of Disney’s businesses:
McCarthy specified that Disney’s cruising business will likely be the LAST of Disney’s businesses to resume.
She said that this was true due to just the nature of cruising and because the booking period for cruises tends to be longer. Currently, Disney Cruise Line has suspended departures through the end of October. We’ll definitely be on the lookout for more updates on that.
In terms of the new ships being built, McCarthy noted that the shipyard Disney utilizes for its cruise ships — Meyer Werft — “was impacted [by COVID] and…encountered a delay.” She said, “We’re in negotiations and discussions with the ship yard to finalize dates.” For the fifth ship, she noted they would make an announcement when they know the date, but it is delayed from what they originally anticipated.
Direct to Consumer Entertainment
Overall, McCarthy said that Disney’s priorities in general for the next 3-5 years have not really changed, except that there will be an even stronger emphasis on direct to consumer entertainment. McCarthy noted that Disney has had to adjust even what they intended to do on Disney+. Some of those changes included releasing films on Disney+ earlier than they originally were set to be released there, moving theatrical releases to Disney+, and offering Mulan through the Premier Access option.
According to McCarthy, Disney will continue to make adjustments as needed. She said they had a lot of projects that were set to be produced, and that has slowed because of COVID-19. She even noted there would have been a lot more original content on now if they hadn’t had to shut down production due to COVID-19. But, she said Disney will continue to invest in content for Disney+. McCarthy noted that Disney+ is really working on getting that combination of great library content and original material.
Also, according to McCarthy, Disney+ was priced at a very acceptable price point initially. She said she believes that there is pricing power there in terms of potential price increases in the future, but that it will come into play more when they put more original content on the service, and changes will be adjusted depending on market dynamics.
McCarthy noted that, according to some of the data they’ve looked at, there’s probably about 40% of people who say they’ll go into a theatre to watch a movie, but she said she doesn’t believe the number is the same for older individuals or people with children, which may impact the demographic Disney is targeting with some of their family friendly films. So, she said Disney will look at its movie releases on an individual basis to determine whether theatrical releases or hybrid releases or other options are best. But she said they do have “a pretty robust release slate” scheduled in terms of movies for this year.
McCarthy said “there’s a lot of good sports that people are watching,” and she noted that the NFL is an extremely important partner for Disney.
McCarthy noted that Disney is investing in and will continue to invest in its theme parks.
McCarthy noted that when COVID-19 cases spiked in July, that impacted travel from other states to Walt Disney World, and caused Disney to shift and open things up more to Annual Passholders and local visitors. She said they continue to adjust the business as things continue to change.
McCarthy said that investment spending in the parks will be prioritized to continue certain projects that were already “in flight.” McCarthy specifically listed the following projects: Star Wars: Galactic Cruiser…
…and Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway as some of the ones that are being prioritized. Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway’s opening date in Disneyland has been delayed to 2023.
Other projects, like the EPCOT transformation, were not specifically identified by McCarthy as those that are being prioritized, but we have seen construction progressing for certain aspects of that project like Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. We’ve also seen construction continue for the new TRON attraction in Magic Kingdom.
Other projects, however, have been postponed like the Mary Poppins attraction and Spaceship Earth refurbishment.
We’ll keep checking for more updates from Disney and let you know what we find!
Click here to read about the Disney Villains character cavalcade that will be coming to Magic Kingdom!
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The post Disney Gives Update on the Future of Disney Attractions, Disney Cruise Line, Disney+, and More! first appeared on the disney food blog.