LOS ANGELES - The Walt Disney Co. is considering “blue sky concepts” of creating smaller theme parks and stand-alone hotels, retail, dining and entertainment centers, Jay Rasulo, chairman of Disney’s Parks and Resorts told analysts at a conference on Wednesday.
Building stand-alone hotels in urban areas where families already travel would give Disney the chance to reach out to parents who feel their children are still too young to appreciate a trip to a Disney theme park, Rasulo said.
Along those lines, Disney could locate versions of its Downtown Disneyland, a high-end retail, dining and entertainment district, in urban areas far from its parks, he said.
The company also was exploring alternatives to full-size theme parks, including “a smaller, deeply immersive park” that would offer consumers a more interactive experience at higher prices.
These ideas are “blue sky concepts” that will not be executed unless the new businesses could achieve a high return on invested capital, Rasulo said.
Disney also was looking into expanding its water park offerings beyond Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach and possibly adding ships to its two-vessel cruise lines, Rasulo said.
Rasulo had little to add about the lackluster performance by Hong Kong Disneyland, which opened in September of 2007, and failed to meet first-year attendance target of 5.6 million.
“Hong Kong Disneyland developed a little more slowly than we expected in 1999 when the deal was put together” but the company was confident of its growth trajectory, he said.
“We identified some challenges to be addressed in the near future in sales and marketing and seasonality,” he added.