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Investing in Disney Stock (DIS)

What you need to know when investing in The Walt Disney Co.

The Walt Disney Co. (DIS) is a global entertainment company that operates a broad range of businesses, including theme parks and resorts, film studios, broadcast TV networks, and a cruise line. Disney produces live entertainment events, and delivers a wide range of film and TV entertainment content through digital streaming services. Since October 2020, the company has focused on accelerating the growth of its direct-to-consumer (DTC) strategy through its media networks and studio entertainment operations.

The company was founded in 1923 as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio by brothers Walt and Roy Disney. By 1929 the Disney brothers' partnership had been divided into four companies focusing on production, film recording, realty and investment, and other enterprises. Disney expanded into theme parks with the opening of Disneyland in 1955. The company issued its first over-the-counter (OTC) stock in 1940 and had its IPO in 1957.

Disney is headquartered in Burbank, California. Bob Chapek has been chief executive officer (CEO) of Disney since February 2020, succeeding Robert Iger. The Carlyle Group executive Susan E. Arnold succeed Iger as chair of the board on Dec. 31, 2021. The company's stock is grouped with the communication services sector and the entertainment industry for investment purposes. Because of the breadth of its operations, Disney has competitors ranging from diversified media and entertainment companies like Paramount Global (PARA) and Comcast Corp. (CMCSA), to amusement park operators such as Six Flags Entertainment Corp. (SIX) and streaming platforms including Netflix Inc. (NFLX). Disney's FY 2021 ended Oct. 2, 2021. For that period, it reported net income of $2.5 billion and revenue of $67.4 billion.

Key Takeaways

  • Disney is a global entertainment company operating theme parks, resorts, movie studios, broadcast TV networks, and a cruise line.
  • Disney's primary rivals include media and entertainment companies like Paramount Global (PARA), Comcast Corp. (CMCSA), and Netflix Inc. (NFLX).
  • For its Q2 FY 2022, ended April 2, 2022, Disney reported net income of $597 million on revenue of $19.2 billion.
  • Disney made headlines in opposing a new Florida law restricting public school instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity, and again when the Florida legislature voted shortly after to abolish the special tax district allowing Disney to carry out some local government functions at its Disney World resorts near Orlando.


Recent Developments

  • On May 11, 2022, Disney released its Q2 FY2022 earnings report. Its adjusted EPS and revenue of $1.08 and $19.2 billion, respectively, missed analysts' expectations. Its "Parks, Experiences and Products" segment revenue of $6.7 billion, somewhat exceeded expectations.
  • On April 29, 2022, Disney announced that Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Geoff Morrell, would be immediately leaving the company after having only been named to the position in December.
  • On April 21, 2022, the Florida legislature passed a bill eliminating the special district used by Disney to provide most municipal services at its Walt Disney World in Florida, which exempted operations from local regulation. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed the measure on April 22. The action followed Disney's opposition to a new Florida law restricting public school instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity.

What's Happening With Disneyland?

Many Disney parks and resorts around the world are open and serving customers following a number of closures throughout the early part of the COVID-19 pandemic. Guests must have an advance ticket reservation. Face masks are strongly recommended for all indoor settings and required for all guests ages 2 and up on Disney shuttles and at first aid stations. Face masks are optional outdoors. Guests are not currently required to provide proof of vaccination. The advance registration system is new and allows visitors to book reservations up to several months in advance.

Disney has also changed its ticket options and services recently. Notably, it has introduced Genie and Genie+ services, which are available via a mobile app. Disney Genie is a complimentary service which provides personalized itineraries and planning for a Disney resort visit. Disney Genie+ is the advanced version, available for $15 per ticket per day, which also allows users to use the Lightning Lane (previously known as the FastPass program) for faster access to several attractions per day.

What's Happening With Disney+?

For Q1 FY 2022, ended Jan. 1, 2022, Disney reported 11.8 million new Disney+ subscribers. As of the end of the quarter, the company had 129.8 million total Disney+ subscribers. Disney+ subscriptions currently cost $7.99 per month or $79.99 per year. Although the company has not announced plans to increase the cost of the subscription service, CEO Bob Chapek has said that as Disney increases content for the service, a price increase may follow. In a recent earnings call, he said that added content could provide an "impetus to increase that price/value relationship even higher and then have the flexibility...to then look at price increases on our service."


Does Disney Have Its Own Government District?

Yes. In 1967, Florida legislators created a special taxing district called the Reedy Creek Improvement District, for the site of the Disney World amusement park. The status allows Disney to provide typical municipal services like water and sewers, roads, and fire protection. The district also raises its own debt financing. Reedy Creek covers 40 squares miles, maintains 134 miles of roads and handles 60,000 tons of waste annually. Republican legislators who passed a bill repealing the district effective June 1, 2023 said details of the change would be worked out and legislated over the next year.

What's Happening with Disney's Dispute with Florida?

Passage of the Florida bill abolishing Disney's Reedy Creek special taxing district follows Disney's opposition to a new Florida law barring public school instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity for students in grades K through 3, and restricting it for other grades to "age-appropriate" presentations as specified by school boards, subject to lawsuits by parents. Opponents of the law have argued it fosters discrimination and hate. Disney initially opted not to join the many other large companies opposing the measure. After protests from Disney employees opposed to the legislation, Chapek apologized and promised the company would lobby against the passage of similar laws in other states and would pause its political donations in Florida, which had mostly gone to Republican politicians in recent years. Disney's policy shift brought condemnation from conservatives, including some who warned the company's business interests would be in jeopardy as a result. Disney did not comment immediately on the legislation abolishing its Reedy Creek special taxing district. However, by late April, Disney reminded Florida of its billion-dollar bond debt would need to be resolved before the state could move forward.

Has DIS Ever Split its Stock?

Disney has split its stock 7 times:

  • July 9, 1998: a 3-for-1 split.
  • May 15, 1992: a 4-for-1 split.
  • March 5, 1986: a 4-for-1 split.
  • Jan. 15, 1973: a 2-for-1 split.
  • March 1, 1971: a 2-for-1 split.
  • Nov. 15, 1967: a 2-for-1 split.
  • Aug. 20, 1956: a 2-for-1 split.

Does DIS Pay a Dividend?

Disney does not currently pay a dividend. The most recent semi-annual cash dividend of $0.88 per share was payable Jan. 16, 2020. The company has not declared or paid a dividend with respect to FY 2021 operations.

How Many Shares of DIS Stock Are There?

As of Feb. 2, 2022, there were 1,820,633,408 common shares of Disney stock outstanding.

Who is Disney's CEO?

Disney's CEO is Bob Chapek. Until his appointment as CEO on Feb. 25, 2020, Chapek spent nearly three decades at Disney, heading the company's theme parks unit from 2015. In that role, Chapek dramatically expanded the company's parks and related offerings, launching the Shanghai Disney Resort and nearly doubling the Disney Cruise Line fleet.



Article Sources
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  1. The Walt Disney Company. "Investor Relations: Annual Reports," Download "2021 Annual Report," Pages 3-17, 23.

  2. Walt Disney Archives. "Disney History."

  3. Goldman Sachs. "Disney Magic Comes to NYSE in IPO."

  4. The Walt Disney Company. "Investor Relations: Annual Reports," Download "2021 Annual Report," Front Page.

  5. Life at Disney. "Susan Arnold to Succeed Bob Iger as Chairman of the Board of The Walt Disney Company."

  6. The Walt Disney Company. "Bob Chapek."

  7. Yahoo! Finance. "The Walt Disney Company (DIS)."

  8. The Walt Disney Company. "Investor Relations: Annual Reports," Download "2021 Annual Report," Front Page, 31.

  9. The Walt Disney Co. "The Walt Disney Company Reports Second Quarter and Six Months Earnings for Fiscal 2022," Page 6.

  10. Executive Office of the Governor of Florida. "Governor Ron DeSantis Signs Legislation to Create Lawful Congressional Districts and Remove Special Interest Carveouts."

  11. The Walt Disney Company. "Statement on Disney’s Support for the LGBTQ+ Community."

  12. The Walt Disney Company. "Returning to a Land of Magic."

  13. The Walt Disney Company. "Theme Park Tickets & Reservations."

  14. The Walt Disney Company. "Disney Genie."

  15. The Walt Disney Company. "The Walt Disney Company Reports First Quarter Earnings for Fiscal 2022," Pages 1, 5.

  16. Disney+. "Frequently Asked Questions," Select "How much does Disney+ cost?"

  17. The Walt Disney Company. "Disney's Q1 2022 Earnings Results Webcast," Download Transcript, Page 22.

  18. Reedy Creek Improvement District. "About."

  19. Orlando Sentinel. "Disney World's Reedy Creek: What Happens After the Special District Is Abolished?"

  20. NPR. "Florida's Governor Signs Controversial Law Opponents Dubbed 'Don't Say Gay'."

  21. Fox Business. "Conservative Legal Group Accuses Disney of Violating Civil Rights, Religious Freedom Laws."

  22. NPR. "Disney Says Florida Would Have to Pay Nearly $1 Billion to Dissolve Special District."

  23. The Walt Disney Co. "Investor Relations - Frequently Asked Questions," Select "Stock Split History: Q: When has Disney stock split?"

  24. The Walt Disney Co. "Investor Relations - Frequently Asked Questions," Select "Dividends."

  25. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. "The Walt Disney Company Form 10-Q for the Quarterly Period Ended Jan. 1, 2022."

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