How Successful Is Disney?

Headquarters for the Walt Disney Company in Burbank, California. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Headquarters for the Walt Disney Company in Burbank, California. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

This past week, Disney released its first quarter results ending on December 28, 2013. This, plus the annual report of 2013, suggests that the results are…well…fantasmic! Every facet of the organization is doing well. Here’s a summary of what’s going well:

1. The box office is hot–in particular due to the success of Frozen, Thor, and Saving Mr. Banks this past quarter. Frozen has surpassed The Lion King to be the most successful animated film of all time.

2. The transformation of Disney California Adventure at the Disneyland Resort with the completion of Cars Land, the expansion of Fantasyland at Walt Disney World, the addition of three new lands to Hong Kong Disneyland, and the celebration of Tokyo Disneyland’s 30th anniversary led to record attendance at every one of these parks in 2013.

The investment on Disney's California Adventure is paying off with major attendance gains at both Anaheim parks. Photo by J. Jeff Kober
The investment on Disney’s California Adventure is paying off with major attendance gains at both Anaheim parks. Photo by J. Jeff Kober

3. Media networks are excelling on many fronts. ESPN is the king of sports. ABC’s Good Morning America is now the number one morning show in the country. In only three years, Disney Junior has emerged from nothing to become the number-one channel in the United States among kids aged 2-5.

4. The popularity of Disney Infinity drove Disney Interactive’s profitability for the second consecutive quarter. Disney Animated beat out 100,000 other new apps to earn Apple’s “iPad App of the Year” honor for 2013.

5. The demand of Frozen, Star Wars, and Disney Junior merchandise are leaders in what has led Disney Consumer Products to delivering an operating income of more than 1 billion for the first time in the company’s history. By the way, Disney Stores in 2013 delivered their best performance to date with double-digit growth across all lines of business.

6. With two new ships, and with Disney Magic just fresh from a major makeover, Condé Nast Traveler has named all four ships among the 5 top large cruise ships in the world.

Finally, The Walt Disney Company has been recognized as one of the world’s most reputable, admired, and socially responsible companies by the likes of Forbes, Fortune, and Barron’s.

All of this resulted in record earnings for the company. And how does Bob Iger feel about this? “We’re obviously proud of our performance… And it’s very satisfying to see long term strategies come to fruition, delivering results and driving greater value to our company and shareholders.”

2014 will probably only continue to get better. Here’s what’s on their plate for the rest of this year:

  • Completed roll out of MyMagic+ at Walt Disney World.
  • Premiere of Seven Dwarf’s Roller Coaster.
  • Phases of the new Disney Springs will come on line.
  • New Four Seasons Resort at Walt Disney World.
  • Disneyland Paris will open a new attraction based on Pixar’s Ratatouille.
  • The introduction of Star Wars Rebels on television.
  • A strong Disney line up of films, to include: Muppets Most Wanted, Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Million Dollar Arm, and Maleficent.
  • Disney’s Aladdin will open on Broadway. The LaJolla Playhouse will stage the English-speaking version of Hunchback of Notre Dame as well.
Construction being completed on the new Seven Dwarf's roller coaster. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Construction being completed on the new Seven Dwarf’s roller coaster. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Then, 2015 will be even more incredible with the new Shanghai Disneyland park, plus the next installment of the Avengers and the premiere of Star Wars VII.

So how is Disney doing? The company is probably more solid, more profitable, and acting on more opportunities than ever before. Critics pick apart at the little things. And no organization is perfect. But at the end of the day, Disney is perhaps doing better than it has ever done in its entire history.

What do you think? Do you see Disney as better than ever?

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