The Walt Disney Company

Activist Investor Targets The Walt Disney Company

In an early Wednesday announcement, the Walt Disney Company disclosed significant pricing adjustments at both Florida’s Walt Disney World and California’s Disneyland, ushering in immediate increases on select tickets and passes.


Annual passes at Walt Disney World will experience an uptick ranging from $30 to $50, contingent on the type of pass, culminating in the highest tier, the Incredi-Pass, reaching $1,449. Parking fees will also see a $5 increment.


The Walt Disney Company affirmed that prices for its date-based theme park tickets, or standard tickets, will remain at the established rate of $109.


Meanwhile, Disneyland is poised to witness a surge across nearly all ticket options, with single and multi-day tickets escalating by an interval of $5 to $65. Annual passes will observe an augmentation of 3.1% to 21.5%, contingent on the chosen plan, propelling the premium Inspire pass to a new cost of $1,649, up from its preceding $1,599.


Supplementary services, such as park hopper add-ons, will incur an additional cost of $5 to $10, while the Genie+ add-on will witness a $5 uptick.


This announcement follows Disney’s declaration of a $60 billion investment in its theme park business over the subsequent decade. Early market response to this news was subdued.


Concurrently with the price adjustments, the company affirmed its commitment to enhancing the overall guest experience. Notably, Walt Disney World disclosed the reinstatement of all-day park hopper access effective January 9th. This alteration addresses a significant consumer concern, as visitors were previously restricted from switching between parks until 2 pm.


This development aligns with previously revealed improvements, such as the removal of park reservations on standard theme park tickets and the impending revival of the Disney dining plan in January.


Furthermore, Disneyland will be integrating two additional rides into the Disney Genie+ bundle, and extending the theme park reservation booking window to 120 days.


A spokesperson for Disney remarked, “We are constantly adding new, innovative attractions and entertainment to our parks and, with our broad array of pricing options, the value of a theme park visit is reflected in the unique experiences that only Disney can offer.”


The parks division remains a pivotal facet of Disney’s financial portfolio, underscoring the company’s dedication to ensuring customer satisfaction. Revenue from the parks division exceeded projections, attaining $8.33 billion in the latest quarter, outperforming the anticipated $8.25 billion. Operating income reached $2.43 billion, surpassing both estimates of $2.39 billion and the Q3 2022 total of $2.19 billion.


However, analysts maintain a cautious outlook on the future of the parks segment, citing a potential slowdown in demand, coupled with margin risks due to inflation.


Earlier this year, Disney responded to consumer outcry over prolonged wait times and escalating ticket prices by implementing long-awaited modifications to its parks reservation system and annual passholder program.


In recent weeks, the company has encountered renewed scrutiny, particularly from activist investor Nelson Peltz, who launched a fresh assault on the media giant. Sources familiar with the matter indicate that Peltz will seek multiple board seats, including one for himself, after his hedge fund Trian Fund Management bolstered its stake in the company, now valued at a reported $2.5 billion for over 30 million shares.


This intensified campaign follows a recent downturn in Disney’s stock, reaching a nine-year low last week as the company grapples with challenges in the TV business, contemplation of asset sales, and succession uncertainties.

Source: Yahoo Finance

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