Disney has a lot of money invested in its various amusement parks and resorts around the world.
According to a New York Times article published today, the family-friendly company will spend more money on parks than it did on Marvel, Lucasfilm, and Pixar put together. Think about that for a second; the combined price tag of all of those companies cost Disney around $15.4 billion. That's like the GDP of some small nations. It's insane.
However, Disney will be putting around $24 billion in expansion efforts for all six of its locations in America, France, China, and Japan. That includes the Disney Cruise Line, by the way.
All of these parks, resorts, and other vacation destinations will receive new and immersive upgrades, attractions, hotels, and even ships (at $1.25 billion apiece, no less). One such example is the Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge park coming to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, which will feature things like an interactive ride that allows guests to "pilot" the Millennium Falcon.
“It can’t just be special — it has to be spectacular,” said Bob Chapek, Disney’s theme park chairman, who also described the plans as “enhancement on steroids.”
Even with this staggering amount of spending in the works, the parks and resorts have seen a 100% spike in profits over the last five years. Per the NYT piece, Disney reported an estimated $4.5 billion for the 2018 fiscal year. For some context, the company's TV networks like ABC and ESPN brought in $6.6 billion, and that was after a 3% dropoff.
“It’s the highest return on investment that Disney has,” said bank analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch Jessica Reif, referring to the lucrative nature of the parks/resorts.