Though Disney+ is one of the newest streamers on the block, Disney has been working hard to integrate the Disney+ streaming experience with its theme parks over the past few years. From unique offerings on the now-annual Disney+ day at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort, to the addition of Disney+-exclusive character meet and greets like The Mandalorian and Moon Knight, there have been a lot of opportunities for the company to promote its streaming service in its theme parks, especially in the US.
And now it looks like the next big Disney attraction may come from Disney+ as well!
Disney is harvesting user data to try and figure out what is popular enough for its theme parks
Disney's CFO, Christine McCarthy, recently spoke at the SVB MoffettNathanson Technology, Media & Telecom Conference and reiterated Disney's commitment to creating memorable attractions for Disney theme parks around the world that are centered around intellectual properties "that really resonate with our consumers." McCarthy then went on to give some insight into how Disney is using data from Disney+ to inform its decisions about future theme park development.
According to McCarthy, Disney is using data from Disney+ to track what shows and movies its subscribers are watching, and is working on ways to use that data to identify trends that can be exploited in the theme parks. The idea of course being if Disney sees that a lot of people are watching a particular show or movie, it can quickly decide to create a new attraction or experience based on that property.
These sentiments echo that of former Disney CEO Bob Chapek, who said last year that he would like to see closer integration of Disney+ and the company's theme parks in the future.
The end of original ideas for Disney theme park attractions?
The last twenty years have seen increasing amounts of IP at Disney Parks, with the last major attraction without an IP integration that opened at a Disney park being Soarin' Around the World at EPCOT in 2016. This change has been met with some criticism from theme park fans, who would like to see a return to the development of original attractions, like Spaceship Earth or the Haunted Mansion.
However, a quick glance at the upcoming new attractions at Disney Parks in the US shows nothing but IP development, from Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana at EPCOT and Tiana's Bayou Adventure at the Magic Kingdom/Disneyland, to the Marvel-based Rogers the Musical, which is opening at Disney California Adventure this summer.
And those are just the confirmed IP-infused attractions.
During last year's D23 Expo, Disney Parks chairman Josh D’Amaro said that Disney is considering developing several "blue sky" projects for its park, including re-developing the Dinoland USA area into a Zootopia- or Moana-themed land. A potential land “beyond Big Thunder Mountain” at Magic Kingdom was also teased that could include characters from Coco or the Madrigal’s Casita from Encanto.
With so much IP being added to the theme parks, it seems like original ideas for theme park attractions were already on the back burner long before Disney+ came around. And unfortunately, now that the opportunity is here, it looks like Disney isn't going to waste the chance to develop attractions based on what you're watching. But is this necessarily a bad thing?