MickeyBlog News for December 14, 2020
Okay, Disney’s Investor Day has come and went. Oddly, we didn’t get anything resembling park updates.
Still, we learned a lot about Disney’s five-year plan. Also, some other stuff happened at/around the parks that you should know.
Let’s hit the highlights in the latest edition of MickeyBlog News.
The Disney+ Update
During Investor Day, Disney confirmed that it’s a streaming media service inasmuch as anything else.
Among other things, the company announced a price increase for Disney+. It’ll go up by a dollar in the United States and two Euros in Europe.
Why has Disney chosen this tactic after barely a year in service? It’s because of the pandemic and the success of Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+.
New CEO Bob Chapek sees a path forward with lucrative incentives.
Back when Bob Iger had run the company, he’d projected 60-90 million subscribers by 2024.
As of December 2nd, Disney+ has gained 86.8 million subscribers after less than 13 months in service.
For this reason, Disney revealed that it has increased its 2024 projections to 260 million!
At its current profit margins, Disney+ alone could net $1.66 billion each month.
That’s a shade under $20 billion annually in net profit for just the Disney+ service.
Obviously, I’m making many assumptions there, but those calculations reinforce why Chapek has committed his company to a digital future.
You may wonder how optimistic those 2024 projections are. Sure, Disney’s succeeded during a pandemic, but the numbers could slow afterward.
Well, Chapek has supercharged the system to prevent that. Disney announced a slew of new content for its streaming service.
MickeyBlog has posted all of it this week, but the highlights are ten Star Wars series, 10 Marvel series, and a bunch of Pixar/Disney projects.
We’re getting series based on The Princess and the Frog, Big Hero Six, Zootopia, and Moana!
For Disney+ fans, it’s the best possible news. We’ll receive incredible content for years to come.
For Disney executives, they’ll spend $8-$9 billion on Disney+ content by 2024 to sustain and increase subscription rates.
Disney’s Five-Year Plan
Obviously, Disney operates two other popular streaming services in the United States, along with others abroad.
Disney revealed that 38.8 million people own Hulu+ subscriptions, while ESPN+ has reached 11.5 million.
I realize you may not have much interest in these numbers, but they paint an important picture for park fans.
You may recall that the pandemic forced Disney to reduce capital expenditures by $900 million.
The company lacked the resources to pay for planned park plussing. Streaming service subscriptions ensure recurring income from now on.
The parks will have money once again as soon as the services turn a profit, which Disney expects to happen by fiscal 2024.
We’re three years away from your favorite company having a ton of cash on hand for future park expenditures/expansion.
Disney’s streaming success means our gain as fans!
The Good News You’ve Already Heard
During most weeks, I would have led with this update because it impacts us all.
The Food and Drug Administration has issued an emergency authorization for a COVID-19 vaccine.
This product, the one from Pfizer and BioNTech, will enter the marketplace soon.
A pandemic qualifies as an emergency situation, thereby cutting some red tape and allowing the vaccine to ship immediately.
In fact, the United Kingdom has already provided the vaccine to many people, including William Shakespeare.
In the United States, the CDC must affirm the product’s viability before distribution may proceed. Thankfully, that’s just a formality.
Health officials expect that 20 million people could receive the vaccine over the next six weeks.
In fact, AdventHealth has indicated that it’s one of the first hospitals in Florida to receive vaccines.
The organization suggests that it could receive FDA approval to deliver shots as soon as THIS WEEK!!!
So, the Coronavirus crisis appears headed to a conclusion over the next few months. That’s music to the ears of Disney fans.
Of course, the process of administering shots to everyone in society will take the body of 2021.
Until then, Orlando International Airport (MCO) must maintain precautionary measures. They’ve even added one.
The airport will offer onsite COVID-19 testing to travelers.
This facility will provide rapid results so that people can confirm that they’re healthy before going anywhere.
Oh, and MCO will add direct flights to Honolulu, Hawaii, starting in March of 2021.
If you’ve ever wanted to visit Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa, it’s about to get much easier.
Do you miss an actual fireworks presentation during the pandemic? I know that it bummed me out a little every night of my most recent vacation.
Park officials understand your frustration. While there’s little they can do for another couple of months, they still provided a holiday gift.
Disney uploaded a performance of Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks on YouTube:
And they threw in a 2019 Candlelight Processional, too:
While you’re at Disney, you can even watch the Minnie fireworks on a channel in your hotel room. It’s a decent consolation prize.
By the way, Disney also announced that it’ll have fireworks shows streaming on New Year’s Eve.
Since all parts of Walt Disney World will close before midnight on the holiday, these shows will be the best way to celebrate the magic.
Speaking of which, I can offer some different hope to those of you visiting Walt Disney World during the holidays.
Disney has added new Park Pass inventory at all four parks. So, if you haven’t booked a Park Pass yet or want to switch, now’s your chance!
The news isn’t anywhere near as positive at Downtown Disney. Disneyland updated its holiday calendar.
No, you’re not reading it wrong. Downtown Disney won’t open on Christmas Day.
Cast members will get the day off as Disneyland Resort closes for the holiday for the first time ever.
At the time of publication, Downtown Disney does list operating hours for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
We’ll have to wait and see whether that holds.
This week’s final update involves ride photos. Some selfish individuals have taken off their masks for these pictures, jeopardizing others.
Disney came up with a creative solution. It digitally added masks to photos of unmasked riders! Isn’t that great?
Unfortunately, some people complained. So, the parks have stopped doing it. You can read more about the situation here.