There is always a virtual blizzard of news, hype and activity in the theme park news world. This week I focus on the Walt Disney Company.
By Lance Hart, owner, Screamscape
The house that the Mouse built has been very active this week as the final countdown is on to the opening of the new Toy Story Land at Walt Disney World on June 30th. However, to me the biggest news has come from two very different segments of the company.
Tokyo DisneySea expansion
First we should look to Japan where Disney and the Oriental Land Company have finalized plans for the biggest ever expansion to the Tokyo DisneySea theme park. It is also worth mentioning that this deal included a long-term extension of the licensing deal between the Walt Disney Company and Oriental Land Company through to 2076. This deal essentially allows the Tokyo Disney Resort to be run as a franchise style operation. It pays Disney for the rights to use their IPs, as well contracting Walt Disney Imagineering for all new expansions.
Set to open by 2020, this new deal will see a huge expansion added to the Tokyo DisneySea theme park. This will include three mini lands and attractions (themed to Frozen, Tangled and Peter Pan – above) as well as the creation of a new high-end resort hotel at the back of the park.
The battle for Fox
The other major item of Disney news is the ongoing battle over the proposed purchase of 21st Century Fox.
Disney’s original $52.4 billion offer to purchase Fox was outbid by an 11th hour offer from Comcast (who owns NBCUniversal) for $65 billion. This week Disney raised their own offer for Fox to $71.3 billion… an increase of $18.9 billion over their previous offer. $18.9 BILLION! Let that sink in for a moment. Think of all the things Disney could have been doing with that extra $18.9 billion instead, and then realize that Comcast is the sole reason behind it.
Since this is the business world you can count on Disney’s Accountineers attempting to make up all that extra coin spent by shaving it out of budgets for other things. Typically the company’s theme parks are often the first place that the budget axe strikes. In the end Comcast isn’t out a dime as they prepare for their own major theme park expansion in Orlando. So I tip my hat to Comcast here… well played.