Disney Executive Shares “We Have Plenty of Opportunity” to Expand the Domestic Parks

Does anyone else have a running mental list of everything you WISH Disney Imagineers would create? Come on, Disney! All we want is a new nighttime parade in the Magic Kingdom. (Plus a few other dream projects we’ve been cooking up in our minds…) While we may not have a say in Disney’s future plans, we can get the Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Josh D’Amaro’s take on the subject.

What’s your go-to ride in the Magic Kingdom?

Josh D’Amaro attended the JP Morgan Global Technology, Media & Communications Conference to participate in a question-and-answer session. We learned a LOT about the future of The Walt Disney Company, so let’s talk about it!

Just recently, a few Disney executives spoke at the SVB MoffettNathanson Technology, Media & Telecom Conference. Disney CFO Christine McCarthy discussed the idea of using Disney+ subscriber data to inform creative decisions in the Disney parks, and Disney President of ad sales Rita Ferro commented on Disney’s positive outlook in the marketing sector.


Additionally, Disneyland President Ken Potrock spoke at an OC Forum event and shared an update on the company’s plans for a new Avatar experience. Potrock didn’t share many details, but in reference to the project, he said, “We’re thinking bold.” 

Pandora in Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Between the most recent earnings call and the flurry of technology and media conferences we’ve been covering, Disney has been sharing a LOT of information about the company’s upcoming plans. So, what did we learn from D’Amaro?

What We Learned

Throughout the conference, D’Amaro commented on various topics, including Disney+, Disney parks, and more. The conversation started with a turn toward the business success of the parks currently. D’Amaro pointed out that recovery from the pandemic has been great recently in both the domestic and international parks, but that the company is expecting a slight drop in business at Walt Disney World now that the 50th Anniversary celebrations are over.

Cinderella Castle

But with a possible recession approaching, how will Disney manage its theme park business effectively in the U.S. going forward? To answer that question, the subject of discussion turned to yield management strategies, including the park reservation systems currently in place in the domestic parks. D’Amaro said, “I don’t think anybody is completely immune to a recession” but mentioned that the tools the company has in place will help them to navigate those challenges.

Animal Kingdom entrance

The park reservation system helps Disney to plan labor for its parks and to develop better consumer targeting. Because of this system, D’Amaro shared that “we are a lot more sophisticated now than we were pre-pandemic.” The company is in a better position to manage economic volatility since they have control over park capacity.


However, Disney has also received complaints about things like the reservation system making a visit to the parks more “complicated” — a complaint that D’Amaro addressed as well. The chairman shared that he visits the parks often and listens to thoughts from guests. He said,“I still think we have more to do” when it comes to making the systems in place more user-friendly, but that they’re trying to be accommodating in other ways.

Entering the park

“What we’re trying to do is make sure that we have variable and flexible pricing wherever we can,” said D’Amaro. This way, they’ll be able to invite as many guests as possible to visit. He mentioned that peak days would have more aggressive pricing, but that the company is trying to make sure there are plenty of in-park options for guests. While adding those offerings and options for guests often means that things become more complex, D’Amaro said, “We’ll continue to invest in technology to simplify the experience.” To hammer on that point, he mentioned the Disney Park Pass changes coming in 2024 as an example.

Tower of Terror

But besides technology, what’s coming next for the Disney parks? When asked about optimizing the footprint in the U.S. parks, D’Amaro shared that “we have plenty of opportunity within these existing footprints to optimize” and that there is more room for expansion at both Disney World and Disneyland Resort than people realize.

Toy Story Land crowds

He mentioned the proposed DisneylandForward project, which would make use of some extra space around the resort. The project is currently in the planning and approval stages, but we’ve heard Disney mention it a few times recently. Its projects like these and expansions like new rides and new lands that allow Disney to increase capacity in the parks without making them feel too cramped.


So what could come next with these projects? D’Amaro was asked which IPs he’s interested in bringing to the parks, and he specifically called out Marvel Studios and Star Wars by name, mentioning that there are so many stories available that are being released through those brands currently. But on top of that, he said “You can go all the way back to Mickey Mouse” and use the Disney classics. Referencing Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway specifically, he noted that “this is IP that is still incredibly relevant today and our guests rate it highly.” So more Disney classics in the future? We’ll be on the lookout!

Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

And speaking of updates that could come to the parks, D’Amaro was asked about the $17 billion that Disney is planning to invest in Florida. D’Amaro shared that the number (announced by CEO Bob Iger) did not include the now-canceled Lake Nona project, but is more indicative of how the company wants to continue to build Walt Disney World in the coming years. D’Amaro mentioned his appearance at the D23 Expo in the fall of 2022, saying, “I talked about some pretty ambitious plans that we have to continue to grow these theme parks” and noting that he’s excited about what’s in store for Florida.

A Lot More Could Be Coming to the Parks

In general, Josh D’Amaro shared that there’s a lot coming in the future, and that we can expect some ambitious additions and changes in the coming years for the theme parks and the company as a whole. 100 years in, Disney isn’t stopping anytime soon!

In the meantime, we’re always on the lookout for the latest Disney news, so stay tuned for more!

Changes Coming to Disney World Based on Disney+ Views, Says Disney Exec

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Whether you’re a rookie or a seasoned pro, our insider tips and tricks will have you exploring the parks like never before. So come along with us, and get planning your most magical vacation ever!

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Are you planning a trip to Disney World this year? Let us know in the comments!

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