ORLANDO, Fla. – In what’s been an unprecedented year for the Walt Disney Co., the entertainment and theme park conglomerate shared some major plans and success in its shareholder call on Tuesday.
Disney elaborated on updates for its theme parks, entertainment platforms and what’s still to be determined for the large-scale company to get back to business as it eases out of the coronavirus pandemic.
Here are some of the major announcements that came out of this call.
1 . Bob Iger’s last meeting
Iger’s 47-year tenure with the company will end on Dec. 31. Iger will formally pass the torch to the company’s new CEO, Bob Chapek.
Iger stepped down from his role as the Walt Disney Co. CEO in February 2020, citing a proper time for transition. He addressed shareholders in his last meeting, saying he knows Chapek will continue to make Disney the magical company it’s known to be.
“I will leave at the end of December with a strong sense of pride and a deep sense of appreciation for the very special place Disney holds in the hearts of people all over the world,” he said during his opening statements on the call. He added glowing remarks for his successor, Chapek, saying he will lead with the same principles that helped shape Disney into the magical company that it is today.
2. Disneyland planning to reopen soon
Disneyland in California is slated to reopen by late April, despite the opportunity to reopen at the start of the month. Chapek said the small delay is due to preparation time and calling back around 10,000 cast members to retrain for coronavirus health and safety protocols and reopen the park.
“Here in California, we’re encouraged by the positive trends we’re seeing and we’re hopeful they’ll continue to improve,” Chapek said in a statement.
3. Disney cruises could come back this fall
During the question and answer portion, a shareholder asked for a timeline for Disney cruises.
“We’re very anxious to get our Disney Cruiseline business back up and running,” Chapek said. “As of right now we don’t have any definitive information.”
Disney’s CEO said with current coronavirus trends and the wide span rollout of vaccines, the company is hoping to have limited operations of its cruise ships by this fall. He said if granted the opportunity to return to operations even within a restricted capacity, the company will likely implement similar disciplined guidelines in its theme parks.
4. Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary
The most magical place on earth is preparing for its 50th-anniversary celebration. Chapek said preparations are already underway at Walt Disney World.
Two attractions are slated to open to help mark the occasion.
Chapek teased the Marvel-themed roller coast Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind. He also announced Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure will open in EPCOT Oct. 1. The parks are also fine-tuning the new nighttime spectacular, Harmonious.
Star Wars fans can soon enjoy a galactic-themed hotel based on the movie franchise as well.
“It’s truly unlike anything anyone has ever done before,” Chapek said about the hotel.
5. Disney+ surpasses 100 million subscribers
Chapek shared that the entertainment company’s streaming platform, Disney+, now has 100 million subscribers. The platform launched in November 2019.
Chapek said reaching such a milestone has inspired the company to create more exclusive content, with more arrivals slated in the coming months. The company has a new goal for its platform: to release 100 new titles every year.
“Our robust pipeline of content will continue to fuel its growth,” Chapek said.
6. When will the Disney College Program come back?
Frankly, Chapek said that’s still to be determined. The program was put on hold during the onset of the pandemic.
“We hope to be able to reinstate that once some of the restraints on the number of guests we can actually put into our parks starts to ease up with the pandemic,” he said.
Hopefully, the program will make a comeback by the end of the year, Chapek said during the call. He emphasized the company does not have a specific timeline for applications.
To listen to the full call, click here.