The Walt Disney Co. could extend its reach to more potential visitors with its idea of putting boutique hotels, dining and retail, as well as smaller theme parks, in major cities around the country, tourism experts said Thursday.
At an investors' conference Disney is holding this week, Jay Rasulo, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, told analysts that the future for Disney could include making deeply immersion-oriented Disney experiences more available to a broader range of people, pending high return on investment.
Disney, for example, could develop Downtown Disney-type retail and restaurant districts in cities far from either the Orlando area or Anaheim, Calif., where its Disney World and Disneyland theme park complexes are located.
"I think the strategy is to expand the company's business and theme parks without spending billions of dollars and taking huge risks," said Abraham Pizam, dean of the Rosen College of Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. "You can have smaller, boutique theme parks with associated hotels, and spread the Disney message and attitude throughout the United States."