The past year has been extremely tough for the business side of the Walt Disney Company, with its theme parks closed, cruise ships moored up, theatres closed, stage shows cancelled and their stores closed.
But things are starting to improve and recently Disney Parks Chairman Josh D’Amaro spoke with CNN about the reopening of Disneyland and he was asked about how Disney+ is impacting on its theme parks.
In the last year, streaming has become the primary focus for Disney. In many ways, Disney is very much a tech company now. How do the parks fit into that new focus?
I think they fit perfectly. Clearly, Disney+ has been phenomenally successful at the Disney company. We have the benefit of having these unbelievably powerful assets in the ground and the combination of a company that’s got such a strong and growing digital footprint, with the physical footprint, I think gives us opportunity to fuse those two things together like no other company can.
I’m sure you’ve heard this word before: “metaverse.” An opportunity to essentially bring these assets into a digital framework. It provides us with unending opportunities at these theme parks. It can bring Main Street alive in ways that you’ve never seen it before, never thought about it before. You can have the whole theme park participate in a game that culminates in a celebration at the hub at the top of Main Street. The possibilities are endless and I think that’s where we’re incredibly unique at the Disney company. This combination of a very forward-looking digital footprint with our legacy assets that we have in place, and making them incredibly relevant today.
Do you think we’re going to see more synergy between Disney+ and the parks in terms of content, both when you walk into the parks or when I turn on Disney+?
Absolutely. I think that as the Disney company continues to see such huge success with Disney+, and as you see new intellectual properties start to materialize -— whether that be in the world of Marvel or the Imagineers creating something incredibly new and interesting — that is the Disney difference. We will bring those things together to take to the world in a different way.
[Marvel’s] Avengers Campus will be a campus that will never be done. As [Marvel President] Kevin Feige continues to create new stories, new characters, those stories and characters will show themselves at the park.
There are many simple ways Disney+ can slide into the theme parks, having the app built into the hotel rooms TV, merchandise in stores, and advertising the Disney+ Originals at the parks on the billboards in the parks and on transportation. Adding characters from the hit Disney+ series to meet & greet experiences or into the parades, are another option.
It also goes both ways, Disney+ is a great way to promote the theme parks, with shows like “The Magic Of Disney’s Animal Kingdom” and “The Imagineering Story”.
Unfortunately, the past year has meant that the theme parks aren’t operating in their normal ways, so it’s been difficult for them to take full advantage of the situation. And Disney+ is in a very different position globally from where it was at the start of the pandemic.
Would you like to see more synergy between the theme parks and Disney+?