When Will Disneyland And Other Parks Reopen?

Swiss banking giant UBS told clients Monday that Walt Disney Co. is likely to wait until Jan. 1 to open its theme parks and predicted the Burbank media company will see only about 50% of 2019 attendance.

“Moreover, we now believe the lingering effects of the outbreak — including crowd avoidance, new health precautions, etc. — will dramatically reduce the profitability of these businesses even after they are reopened until a vaccine is widely available,” the report said about Disney’s parks.

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Stay-at-home orders by state and local governments will dictate when parks can consider reopening. Disney said its parks will remain closed until further notice. Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort announced plans to stay closed until at least May 31.

Theme park operators have been tight-lipped about what the future holds for their parks, but they have clearly been discussing plans for opening day.

Annual passholders for Universal Orlando Resort said they received a survey last week asking how likely they are to return to the park under various restrictions, such as requiring guests to wear masks or limiting park attendance to 50% of normal.

In an interview with Barron’s, Disney Executive Chairman Bob Iger said his parks would require “more scrutiny, more restrictions” so customers would feel safe to return. He suggested the idea of taking the temperature of each visitor before allowing entrance.

“Just as we now do bag checks for everybody that goes into our parks, it could be that at some point we add a component of that that takes people’s temperatures, as a for-instance,” Iger said.

On several online Disney discussion forums, theme park fans say they have uncovered a plan, presumably leaked by a Disney employee, for allowing guests to return to the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

The plan, titled the Secure Circuit protocol, would reopen the park with limited capacity, no parades, no castle shows, no firework displays and health checks performed at every security checkpoint. In addition, the protocol would require guests to sign a form, clearing Disney of any liability for potential exposure to the novel coronavirus.

Disneyland representatives declined to discuss whether the Secure Circuit protocol is legitimate or any plans being developed to reopen the parks.

The process of taking temperatures of entering visitors (using non-contact thermometers) has already been adopted in theme parks in Asia that closed only briefly. At Janfunsun Fancy World in Taiwan, people who have a temperature of 99.5 degrees or higher are denied entry.

At Everland Resort in South Korea, workers take visitors’ temperatures and encourage them to wear masks.

The resort’s attraction queues include markings on the ground to show how far apart each person must stand to maintain social distancing. Rides and stores are disinfected hourly. Hand sanitizer dispensers are set up around the park.



Theme park insiders have been so focused on reopening after the crisis subsides that a webinar on strategies for reopening theme parks and other attractions drew nearly 500 industry workers this month.

The April 15 webinar was hosted by Gateway Ticketing Systems, a Pennsylvania company that develops ticketing systems and consults for theme parks, zoos, museums and other attractions. “Everyone is just spinning out large contingency plans,” said Randy Josselyn, a principal at Gateway Ticketing who hosted the webinar.

Among the speakers on the webinar was Eddie Jones, a support specialist at Atlanta Botanical Garden, who said the garden has already devised a plan for reopening by allowing only 50 people to enter the gardens every 15 minutes.

The plan would cut capacity in the gardens from the normal daily attendance of about 7,000 to about 2,500, he said. A back gate would be opened so that guests could leave without creating a bottleneck at the entrance.

Industry experts say putting limits on capacity would almost certainly be a requirement so that people do not crowd together at reopened parks.

Bill Coan, chief executive of Itec Entertainment, a developer of theme park attractions and shows, said he doesn’t think capacity limits will be difficult to enforce because park fans will not be rushing back once the theme parks reopen.

“I don’t think those numbers are going to occur for some time,” he said of previous attendance numbers.

Coan echoed other theme park experts who said parks will probably open in stages, with some attractions closed in the early stages and rules imposed on how tightly packed visitors can be in lines and in stores.

But limiting capacity and hiring additional workers to take temperatures, enforcing anti-crowding rules and sanitizing rides would be expensive and could make operating theme parks unprofitable, said Martin Lewison, a business administration professor and theme park expert at Farmingdale State College in New York.



Some parks might be able to get by with fewer workers if capacity is vastly reduced, and higher ticket prices might become a profit-bolstering option, but it’s difficult to know for sure because theme park operators aren’t talking.

“These are the kind of practical ideas that I imagine operators are working through, deciding what is practical,” he said.

Whatever procedures are adopted by theme parks, Lewison said some fans will stay away but many others will be ready to return quickly.

“There is a chunk of America who says, ‘Let’s take that risk.’” he said.

For Alexandria Grable, 19, who had an annual pass for the Disneyland Resort for the last three years, the closing of the resort in mid-March convinced her that the coronavirus outbreak was a serious health threat.

But the Santa Clarita teen said she would return if Disneyland reopens.

“I think I would go,” Grable said. “I trust Disneyland enough to know they would not put their guests in harm’s way.” Other theme park devotees are less likely to rush back even if health and social distancing restrictions are added.

“Will anyone want to spin their teacup or the Roger Rabbit taxicab or Buzz Lightyear blasters, knowing how many other hands have touched them?” asked Matthew Gottula, a longtime Disneyland fan from Altadena, who said he doesn’t go anywhere without a container of hand sanitizer attached to his belt.

Another Disneyland fan, Aaron Goldberg, who has written several books on Disney parks and the Disney family, said he wouldn’t return to the parks without wearing a mask and gloves. “Maybe I’m a bit more neurotic, but it’s impossible to avoid touching just about everything at Disneyland and all of the parks,” he said.



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Walt Disney’s outlook is bright, according to analysts at Morgan Stanley who have a higher-than-average overweight rating on the stock, compared to an in-line rating for the rest of the industry


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Walt Disney Company Stock Market News Today


 By Tony Owusu | The Street

Walt Disney‘s outlook is bright, according to analysts at Morgan Stanley who have a higher-than-average overweight rating on the stock, compared to an in-line rating for the rest of the industry.

The firm’s optimistic outlook and $135 price target isn’t helping the stock Thursday, however, as Disney shares fell 0.7% to $110.39 during the session.

disney-stock-news
Today’s Stock Market News

2019 is likely a transformational year for Disney. Stepping back from the complexity, it will exit the year in a different place than it begins. Significant investments in content, theme parks, and M&A weigh on near-term earnings, but should set up the business for long-term growth,” Morgan Stanley analyst Benjamin Swinburne wrote Thursday.

Morgan Stanley identified four major events in 2019 that will help the Action Alerts PLUS holding maximize its potential.


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Those events include closing the acquisition of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc.’s assets, which is expected to happen in the first quarter; the April investor day and expected launch of the Disney Plus streaming service that is expected to coincide with it; the opening of Star Wars Land in Orlando in the fall; and three multichannel video programming distribution renewals for ESPN and ABC in the fall.

“With DIS shares essentially flat since mid 2015, when cord-cutting reached a level to impact ESPN, a successful 2019 can reestablish Disney as a growth company for the future,” Swinburne said.


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Disney is building content assets that enable it to take advantage of the significant OTT opportunity ahead. ESPN’s core distribution revenue growth can also see acceleration over the next few years, with potential for further positive earnings revisions from upcoming distributor renewals.”

Disney is trying to find a buyer for Fox’s 22 regional sports networks, which it acquired as part of the deal


Stock Market News Today

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By Elizabeth Winkler

Disney is trying to find a buyer for Fox’s 22 regional sports networks, which it acquired as part of the deal. The Justice Department has said that Disney, the majority owner of ESPN, needs to sell the sports networks to avoid having too much market power in athletic entertainment.

The 22 channels generate around $2 billion annually in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. The crown jewel of the group is the YES Network, which carries Yankees games and in which the Yankees have a 20% stake.

It accounts for around $500 million of the group’s total Ebitda. Together, the channels account for at least $20 billion of the $71.3 billion Fox-Disney deal, analysts estimate. That price was driven up by the bidding war between Disney and Comcast , which took the deal from Disney’s initial bid of $52.4 billion to the sale price of $71.3 billion.



Disney is unlikely to get $20 billion. While valuable, the channels are suffering as viewers increasingly go online to watch sports, and ratings for many sports leagues are in decline.

The networks may only be worth around $16 billion, according to MoffettNathanson. Even getting that will be a stretch, especially if the channels are divvied up. The Yankees have the right to take full control of YES. If it is sold separately, the value of the remaining portfolio will be considerably diminished.

Amazon.com is rumored to be among the interested buyers, or perhaps a partner for the Yankees. However, most of Amazon’s media spending has been dedicated to original scripted content and national programming like Thursday night NFL games.

It would be challenged to stream regional channels on its national platform. Disney would also probably prefer not to sell to a dangerous rival like Amazon.

Private-equity firms and broadcast chains may also be interested, but the most obvious buyer is Fox itself. As Rupert Murdoch contemplates the future of New Fox, it is clear that sports are a large part of the plan.

He may want the networks back. How much should he pay? “As little as humanly possible,” says Rich Greenfield of BTIG Research. “I would make Disney cry first.” Getting the networks for less than he sold them would be a brilliant win, even by Murdochian standards.



Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger needs to get a price somewhat close to what Disney paid— not only to reduce debt as Disney gears up to launch a new streaming service, but also to save face. That simply may not happen. Disney is a forced seller. For this deal, there is no fairy-tale ending.

More News On Walt Disney Co.

Disney reported a quarterly profit that topped Wall Street Estimates. Disney is trying to transform itself into a broad-based digital entertainment company as ESPN and its networks lose viewers to Netflix Inc, Alphabet Inc’s YouTube and other streaming options. It is on the verge of gaining new film and television properties in a $71.3 billion purchase of assets from Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. Continue Reading…

Walt Disney Co and Twenty-First Century Fox Inc were sued for more than $1 billion on Monday by casino operator Genting Malaysia Bhd


Stock Market News Today


Walt Disney Co and Twenty-First Century Fox Inc were sued for more than $1 billion on Monday by casino operator Genting Malaysia Bhd, which accused them of abandoning a contract related to its planned construction of the first Fox-branded theme park.

Genting said “seller’s remorse” induced Fox, with Disney’s help, to breach its 2013 contract with Fox Entertainment Group to license intellectual property for Fox World, a proposed addition to its Resorts World Genting complex, an hour’s drive from Kuala Lumpur.



Disney did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Dan Berger, a spokesman for Twentieth Century Fox Film, one of the defendants, declined to comment.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles as Disney prepares to complete its $71.3 billion purchase of many Fox assets, expected in the first quarter of 2019.

Genting said the problems began as Fox engineered years of delays to force a renegotiation of the contract, which did not give it a share of gate sales.

But according to the complaint, Disney is now “calling the shots,” and wants to end the contract because associating with a gaming company didn’t fit its “family-friendly” brand strategy.

Genting said Fox issued a default notice with the hope of terminating the contract, in a manner “entirely consistent with Disney wanting to kill the deal” to benefit itself.

“Given that FEG had no right to terminate the Agreement, Fox and Disney are liable for what will exceed a billion dollars in damages attributable to the bad-faith behavior of both Fox and Disney,” the complaint said.


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Genting said it had already made a “$750 million-plus investment” in Fox World. It is also seeking punitive damages.

According to the complaint, Resorts World Genting contains Malaysia’s only legal land-based casino, seven hotels, shopping malls, performance venues, gondola lifts and scores of restaurants, bars and clubs. More than 23 million people visit each year, the complaint said.



The case is Genting Malaysia Bhd v Fox Entertainment Group LLC et al, U.S. District Court, Central District of California, No. 18-09866. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York Editing by Phil Berlowitz)


disneypark


More News On Walt Disney Co : Disney is trying to transform itself into a broad-based digital entertainment company as ESPN and its networks lose viewers to Netflix Inc, Alphabet Inc’s YouTube and other streaming options. It is on the verge of gaining new film and television properties in a $71.3 billion purchase of assets from Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. Continue Reading…

Stock Market News – Walt Disney Co reported a quarterly profit that topped Wall Street Estimates


StockMarketNews.Today

 

 


Walt Disney Co reported a quarterly profit that topped Wall Street estimates, driven by summer crowds at the company’s theme parks and big audiences for Marvel movie “Ant-Man and the Wasp.” Shares of the company, which have gained nearly 8 percent this year, rose 1.7 percent in after-hours trading to $118.

The family entertainment company reported adjusted earnings per share of $1.48 for the quarter ended Sept. 30, while analysts had expected $1.34, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. A year ago, earnings came in at $1.07 per share. Disney is trying to transform itself into a broad-based digital entertainment company as ESPN and its networks lose viewers to Netflix Inc, Alphabet Inc’s YouTube and other streaming options. It is on the verge of gaining new film and television properties in a $71.3 billion purchase of assets from Twenty-First Century Fox Inc.

The media networks unit, Disney’s largest, reported a 4 percent year-over-year rise in operating income of $1.5 billion as broadcaster ABC saw higher program sales and fees from channel distributors. The ESPN cable network continued to shed subscribers, the company said, as viewing moves to digital platforms. To counter that ongoing shift, Disney this year released a streaming service called ESPN+ with live college sports, documentaries and other programming that does not run on television. The company will unveil a family entertainment service with movies and TV shows that will launch in 2019.

In the just-ended quarter, the theme parks division reported operating income of $829 million, an 11 percent increase from a year earlier, as guest attendance and spending at Disney’s U.S. locations rose during the busy summer months. Profit at Disney’s movie studio more than doubled to $596 million thanks to hits such as “Ant-Man and The Wasp” and “Incredibles 2.”



Overall revenue rose 12 percent to $14.3 billion, above analysts’ average estimate of $13.73 billion. Net income climbed 33 percent to $2.3 billion. (Reporting by Lisa Richwine in Los Angeles and Vibhuti Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Lisa Shumaker)

More News On Walt Disney Co

The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) is one of the largest media and entertainment companies in the world, operating a vast international industry of television networks, film studios, and theme parks. Disney reported Q3 2018 earnings on November 8, 2018. The global media giant reported $14.31 billion in revenues this quarter, compared to $12.78 billion over the same period last year. At the time of writing, Disney has a market capitalization of approximately $172.52 billion.

Disney’s three largest business segments are its TV business, its theme park business, and its feature film business. These segments include some of the best-known companies in the United States and around the world, including ABC, ESPN, Disneyland, Lucasfilm, and Marvel. On December 14, 2017, Disney announced that it would acquire multiple assets from 21st Century Fox (FOX) for a landmark $52.4 billion. Following news of the acquisition, Comcast Corporation (CMCSA) entered the fray with a $65 billion offer. On June 20, Disney raised their Fox bid to $71.3 billion and acquired a large portion of 21st Century Fox’s assets on July 27, 2018.

Shortly after the 21st Century Fox acquisition in March 2018, Disney began a strategic reorganization that consolidated its consumer products and interactive media business under the parks and resorts umbrella and carved out a separate business segment for direct-to-consumer operations. Here are just a few of the mouse house’s biggest companies.

1. Disney/ABC Television Group
Disney/ABC Television Group operates Disney’s broadcast television, cable television, and radio businesses. The company’s broadcast television businesses include ABC Studios, ABC News, and the ABC Television Network, which deliver programming to more than 200 local television affiliates across the country. Disney/ABC Television Group also operates eight local television stations in some of the country’s biggest media markets. On the cable side, Disney/ABC Television Group operates the ABC Family channel and Disney Channels Worldwide, a unit that includes more than 100 Disney-branded cable networks reaching 164 countries and territories around the world.



Disney/ABC Television Group also has equity stakes in three independently operated media businesses: A&E Television Networks, Hulu, and Fusion Media Network. A&E Television Networks is an equally held joint venture with the Hearst Corporation that operates a variety of cable channels including A&E, History and Lifetime. Disney/ABC Television Group formerly had a 30% stake in Hulu, an online streaming video service featuring ABC Studios content, but their control of the company increased to 60% after acquiring 21st Century Fox. Fusion is another of Disney’s joint ventures, equally held with Univision Communications. The multi-platform media company is targeted at Hispanic Americans.

2. ESPN, Inc.
ESPN is a sports media and entertainment company with eight cable networks in the U.S. and another 16 television networks internationally. Disney holds a controlling 80% stake in ESPN, with the remaining 20% of the company held by Hearst Corporation. In addition to its television properties, ESPN operates ESPN.com, ESPN Radio, and WatchESPN. ESPN also holds a 30% stake in CTV Specialty Television, a multi-channel Canadian sports broadcaster.

3. Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S., Inc.
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S., Inc. operates Disneyland in California, Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, and Aulani, a spa and resort in Hawaii. These operations include numerous company-owned hotels, retail and entertainment complexes, conference centers, and indoor and outdoor recreation facilities. Walt Disney Parks & Resorts also operates Disney theme parks overseas through a handful of international subsidiaries.

Euro Disney S.A.S., the French subsidiary of Disney Parks & Resorts, owns 51% of Disneyland Paris. In China, Shanghai International Theme Park Co. controls 43% of Shanghai Disneyland Resort and Hong Kong Disneyland Management controls 47% of Hong Kong Disneyland Resort. While Walt Disney Parks & Resorts does not have an ownership stake in Japan’s Tokyo Disney Resort, it does earn licensing royalties from the Japanese operating company, Oriental Land Co.

In early February of 2018, Disney announced it would be increasing the ticket prices for its American-based theme parks by around 9%, with a regular adult one day pass at the Magic Kingdom in Orlando running at $129, instead of its former price of $124.

4. Lucasfilm Ltd. LLC
Lucasfilm is a film production company best known for producing Star Wars and Indiana Jones, two of the highest-grossing film franchises in history. Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2012 for $4.06 billion, along with the production company’s subsidiary businesses including Industrial Light and Magic, Skywalker Sound, and Lucas Licensing. Under Disney’s watchful eye, the company is releasing another trio of Star Wars films and has plans to create a fifth Indiana Jones film starring Harrison Ford in 2019. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the company made back its purchase of Lucasfilm in late 2017 when The Last Jedi brought the total gross of these new Star Wars movies to $4.08 billion.



5. Marvel Entertainment, LLC
Marvel Entertainment is a media and entertainment company with operations in publishing, television, and film. Marvel is best known for its catalog of fictional characters, including Spider-Man, Captain America, and the X-Men. Disney acquired Marvel and the rights to its more than 5,000 characters in August 2009 for $4 billion. Marvel’s blockbuster superhero films have gone on to be huge earners for Disney, giving the company high spots on the top 10 highest grossing movies of the year for several years in a row. Marvel Entertainment’s subsidiaries include Marvel Studios, Marvel Animation, and Marvel Comics.

Disney nears the close of its deal to buy key assets from 21st Century Fox Inc. (FOXA) and gears up to release its own direct-to-consumer streaming platform

 

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Stock Market News Today

Walt Disney Co. (DIS) can maintain its leadership position in the face of rapid disruption in the media space, according to one team of bulls on the Street. As Disney nears the close of its deal to buy key assets from 21st Century Fox Inc. (FOXA) and gears up to release its own direct-to-consumer streaming platform to take on deep-pocketed tech titans like Netflix Inc. (NFLX) and Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN), Barclays expects the company to come out stronger than before.

Disney Investor Day to Ease Worry Over Big Spending on New Business
Shares of Disney have outperformed the broader market this year, up 10.2% year-to-date (YTD) compared to the S&P 500’s 4.2% return. Barclays analyst Kannan Venkateshwar forecasts the stock to jump another 9.7% over 12 months from Friday morning at $118.50, lifting his price target on Disney shares from $105 to $130 in a note to clients on Friday.

Venkateshwar upgraded Disney stock to overweight from equal weight, attributing his more upbeat forecast to the company’s new over-the-top media service, slated for release in 2019. In August 2017, Disney announced that it was cutting ties with streaming industry leader Netflix to launch its own rival service, as well as a platform for ESPN.

“We believe the company has the key mix of assets to be successful and the opportunity from this pivot could be substantial,” wrote the Barclays analyst.

 

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Venkateshwar expects Disney’s investor day, slated for sometime in early 2019, to offer investors a sense of the scale of the firm’s ambitions, as well as work to relieve some fear regarding the magnitude of earnings downside expected from investments in the new business segment. As competition in the media space ramps up, key players are shelling out billions to ramp up their streaming businesses, with Netflix expected to spend as much as $13 billion on original content in 2018.

While Disney is paying a hefty sum of Fox assets, thanks in part to a drawn-out bidding war with Comcast Corp. (CMCSA), Barclays noted that the firm is actually the least indebted of all in the big media space.

“We believe Disney’s Investor Day could prove to be a catalyst to frame the scale of the opportunity and help the company build a credible terminal value ‘story’ around the stock,” wrote the Disney bull.