As proud members of the 1% club, Wall Street analysts have little in common with most of the people Disney hopes to attract with its renovations at the California Adventure theme park, including the new Cars Land attraction. Still, reports out this morning indicate that yesterday’s look-see for the money mavens was a hit. Miller Tabak & Co’s David Joyce raised his long term price target for Disney stock to $56 from $53 and increased his fiscal 2012 revenue estimate 4.6% to $42.8B. He based the change in part on his expectation that attendance at the park will grow 7% this quarter with per-capita spending +5% — and attendance and spending both will be +4% in the next two quarters. Needham & Co’s Laura Martin provided one of the most thorough reviews: “Nobody is better at line management than Disney, and they are innovating with more immersive storytelling in the lines while you wait,” she says. The analyst also was impressed by the way the company used “interactive games and dining facilities that draw people into the least trafficked areas of the parks.” That should increase the maximum number of tickets that Disney can sell. But she reminds investors that new media investments can turn profits with far fewer employees: California Adventure will have about 25,000 full timers vs just 3,500 at Facebook and 17 at Instagram.
Morgan Stanley’s Benjamin Swinburne weighs in, noting that Disney’s recently announced 6%-7% price hikes for its Florida parks, and 11%-15% increases in California suggest that his forecast of 3%-4% per capita spending growth is now “likely conservative.” The event also impressed Bernstein Research’s Todd Juenger. He didn’t change his forecast but says the park now “delivers on the Disney promise of an all-encompassing immersion into a different world.” He also likes the company’s new fees for park hopping. Before California Adventure was refreshed, it was “essentially free” to visit from Disneyland. Now it costs $30. And just to show that Disney leaves no stone unturned, Juenger mischievously observes that televisions at the hotels on the property carry Disney Channels and Cartoon Network, but not Nickelodeon.
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