Disney will announce results for the July-through-September quarter — the fourth and final one of its fiscal year — after the markets close Thursday. As far as theme parks go, investors will be listening for further details on the rollout of Walt Disney World’s MyMagic+ program, which executives have said should be largely launched by the end of 2013.
Disney will be followed a week later by Orlando-based SeaWorld Entertainment Inc., which will report earnings after the markets close Nov. 13. After disappointing second-quarter results, SeaWorld has said business is improving, telling investors in a mid-quarter update that it had a strong summer.
Comcast and NBCUniversal have set a high bar. Thanks primarily to rising attendance and spending at Universal Orlando, Comcast said operating cash flow at its theme-park unit grew 8.6 percent to $343 million, setting a quarterly record for the business.
MyMagic+ Leadership Changes
Disney says it has has turned responsibility for MyMagic+ over to the top executive at Walt Disney World as the billion-dollar project gets closer to a full launch.
Disney recently assigned day-to-day oversight of MyMagic+ to Disney World President George A. Kalogridis, who will be in charge of successfully implementing the multi-tentacled project. MyMagic+ is designed to get guests to spend more time and money at Disney World by making it easier to navigate the crowded resort. It includes microchip-equipped bracelets known as “MagicBands” that will function as all-in-one theme-park tickets, hotel-room keys and credit cards, as well as a new reservation system that will allow travelers to book ride and show times weeks before their vacations.
The project, which has been in development for more than half a decade, had been led since late 2009 by Nick Franklin, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts’ executive vice president for next-generation experience and a member of Disney Parks Chairman Tom Staggs’ executive committee. Disney said Franklin’s focus will now shift to future development, which could include devising more uses for the technologies involved in MyMagic+ and adapting them for use at Disney’s other theme-park resorts around the world.
Disney said the changes come as it reaches “important milestones in terms of testing” with MyMagic+.
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