Disney Headlines for November 19th, 2021
This week, Disney updates its cruise vaccine rules, debuts two new trailers, and debates its new potential revenue stream.
Meanwhile, others in the Orlando area believe luxury resorts represent the future of vacationers.
We’ve got plenty to cover in this week’s Disney Headlines.
The Competition Has Upped Its Game Price
This week’s most fascinating headline involves Disney only tangentially, but it demonstrates the evolving nature of tourism.
We have entered the age of the luxury hotel at Walt Disney World. While Disney adds DVC hotels like Disney’s Riviera Resort, the competition has chosen a new strategy.
Hotels close to the Disney campus in Orlando are moving away from low-priced rooms.
The business philosophy here comes from the Airbnb move toward guest stays.
Low-priced hotels cannot compete with Airbnbs. So, many hoteliers have decided not to bother.
Instead, they’ve taken stock of the lack of quality real estate around Walt Disney World.
Given this scarcity, some properties have switched owners. The new buyers believe that they can spend more because they’ll eventually charge more.
To wit, the Four Seasons Orlando accidentally got the ball rolling here. Four Seasons sold that property for an almost unimaginable $610 million.
Since then, the JW Marriott Bonnet Creek and Waldorf Astoria have opened new locations in the area.
Not to be outdone, Marriott introduced the Swan Reserve, which targets higher-paying executives rather than regular tourists.
Marriott has designated this property as its fourth Autograph Collection hotel in Orlando, and it’s already a popular spot for wedding bookings.
Now, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts will get in on the action with a 30-acre property featuring 550 rooms.
While Disney fans vent about the rising prices of vacations, corporations with an eye on the tourism industry believe that the market has plenty of room to grow.
Thus far, Disney hasn’t followed this trend. Instead, it has held steady with its current three-tier hotel pricing model with entry-level, moderate, and luxury rooms.
Will the company maintain that philosophy as other hoteliers profit mightily in the tourism industry? That remains to be seen.
Disney + Gambling?
Here’s one of the least likely headlines in a while, but there’s smoke to this particular fire.
Disney has explored the idea of getting into sports gambling…but not in the way you’d think.
During his recent earnings call, CEO Bob Chapek mentioned that Disney has exhaustively tested consumer response to an idea.
Specifically, executives want to know whether Disney fans would think less of their brand if ESPN started earning gambling revenue.
Why is Disney surveying people on this subject? Wall Street believes that legalized sports betting will gain widespread popularity by 2030.
A 2018 Supreme Court ruling effectively legalized sports betting. However, few companies have rushed to enter this emerging marketplace.
The stigma of gambling has prevented many businesses from committing to the idea.
Recently, Fox chose to go all-in on the concept by starting Fox Bet. This maneuver actually ties back to Disney, at least somewhat.
Fox needed to do this because it had previously sold its partial ownership interest in Draft Kings…to Disney.
Thus far, Disney has maintained that small stake, but it’s far from a significant chunk of change.
Now, Disney is contemplating more. Here’s Chapek’s applicable quote:
“We do believe that sports betting is a very significant opportunity for the company.”
The CEO thinks that ESPN represents the most established brand in sports other than the professional leagues themselves.
If Disney sold naming rights for ESPN to some gambling institution, it could feasibly earn hundreds of millions of dollars annually from this passive transaction.
We’re talking about found money from Disney’s perspective…as long as it doesn’t sully the overall Mickey Mouse brand. Thus, the testing.
Former CEO Bob Iger never warmed to this idea, but the belief is that Chapek will do it at some point.
Here’s what this could look like.
Other Disney Headlines
In case you haven’t heard, Disney just modified its cruise rules again.
Disney Cruise Line (DCL) updated its Coronavirus policy to strengthen vaccination requirements.
Now that children can and should get their shots, DCL requires everyone ages 5 and up to be vaccinated before boarding.
Disney won’t enforce these rules until January 13th since the national change in vaccination status is still relatively recent.
Until then, guests aged 5-11 must pass a COVID-19 test before boarding the ship.
Starting on January 13th, they won’t get to board without proof of vaccination status.
Even now, guests aged 12 and up must show their vaccination before boarding. So, this policy change only impacts children.
In other news, Disney just released a new trailer for Turning Red, and it’s adorable:
If this one’s not a blockbuster, I don’t even know what we’re doing as a people.
Meanwhile, Sony finally debuted its trailer for a Marvel character. Here’s Spider-Man: No Way Home if you haven’t seen it yet.
You’d already watched it 70 times, hadn’t you? Anyway, it looks spectacular and seems likely to be the number one movie of 2021.
Also, Spider-Man Monday is apparently a thing. That’s when tickets officially go on sale for the December 17th release.
Presuming that we don’t have another COVID outbreak, the opening weekend for this movie will be massive.
So, you should book tickets on “Spider-Man Monday.” Otherwise, you run the risk of getting shut out, all but ensuring that you get spoiled on the film.
One More Thing…
Finally, Newsweek just noticed something that diehard Lilo & Stitch fans have known for a while.
Have you heard the one about the laundry machine that turned into a pizza box cover? Here’s a TikTok about it:
This user initially thought that somebody had edited a scene from the film. However, others informed her that Disney itself made the change.
Someone at the company realized that it’s a bad idea to show a kid getting into a dryer.
My cats used to do this, and it always scared me to death. I still look for them before I start the machine. So, I can’t imagine what it’s like for parents.