During today’s Disney shareholders call, Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek took questions from Disney investors asking about previously-announced attractions that seem to have dropped off the drawing board since the pandemic – specifically the Mary Poppins-inspired Cherry Tree Lane expansion in Epcot’s United Kingdom Pavilion and the “E-Ticket” Quinjet attraction in Avengers Campus at Disney California Adventure.
Paused Attractions and Experiences
While noting Disney was forced to pause the development of “capital intensive projects” due to what he described as “cashflow implications of the pandemic,” Chapek pointed the attention of Disney shareholders to experiences and attractions that have been completed – or are nearing completion – including Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, Space 220 restaurant, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind coaster, and the Journey of Water with Moana at Walt Disney World, and Avengers Campus and Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Disneyland. However, although previously reported as being canceled, Chapek suggested Number 17 Cherry Tree Lane and the Avengers attraction may still be simmering on Disney’s back burner.
“Certainly, the Poppins project, which I was very excited about, has had to be put on hold for a while, as has the Quinjet,” Chapek said. “But you know, those are projects that we’ve got sort of in a holding pattern right now, and as our cash situation becomes a bit more robust and a little bit back to normal, in terms of our liquidity, we look forward to hopefully refunding those projects in the future.”
Since both projects were announced with considerable fanfare during D23Expo 2019, let’s hope the question will encourage Disney to re-evaluate their position in the queue of future park projects.
Disney Premier Passport
Another theme park-related question concerned the March 2021 discontinuation of the Premier Passport – dubbed by many as the “ultimate annual pass” – which granted U.S. residents access to all four Walt Disney World Resort parks and both Disneyland Resort parks for an entire year. The caller, who first described how his persistence resulted in the pass being created in 2010, pointedly asked Chapek when – not if – Disney would reinstate the two-resort pass.
“I appreciate your diligence and coming back to this issue since it seems to somehow have fallen off the table with COVID,” Chapek said. “We appreciate your support of Disney on both coasts and…I can check on the possibility of bringing back the pass that enables you to toggle between the two locations. You know what we try to do is eliminate any friction for our guests that want to enjoy the magic of Disney, and this certainly sounds like one that’s pretty relevant for you, so I would be more than glad to take this up and try to restore that so that you can be able to enjoy your annual pass at both locations.”
Although the number of Disney fans who would be able to take advantage of a two-resort annual pass may not be significant, the caller pointed out that there seems to be no downside to such a pass for Disney, so hopefully, this COVID-casualty will return.
Click here to hear the full Disney shareholders call.