In late August, Orlando tourists and residents were surprised to hear the breaking news that The Walt Disney Company is buying Marvel Entertainment Inc. for $4 billion in cash and stock. Under the deal, which is expected to close by the end of the year, Disney will acquire the rights to 5,000 Marvel characters. The acquisition will undoubtedly impact two of the major Orlando area attractions, Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Studios Resort.
“We believe that adding Marvel to Disney’s unique portfolio of brands provides significant opportunities for long-term growth and value creation,” said Bob Iger, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Co.
There is a lot of market-growth potential within this deal, as many believe that the acquisition of Marvel characters will help Disney appeal more to young men, who flocked to the theaters to see blockbuster hits such as Iron Man. However, Universal Studios features many of the Marvel characters at Islands of Adventure, one of their Orlando theme parks, including X-Men, The Hulk, Fantastic 4, and the ever-popular Spider-Man. Many feared that this deal would cause some kind of conflict, given that Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Studios Resort are competitors in the Orlando theme park industry.
However, despite early fears and rumors, the acquisition is not expected to adversely affect Universal Studios Orlando or any of its rides and attractions. Tom Schroeder, a Universal Studios corporate spokesperson, said in a released statement, “Marvel Super Hero Island at Universal’s Islands of Adventure and our Marvel characters are beloved and an important part of the whole Orlando-Universal experience. They’re going to remain so. Our guests are going to meet Spider-Man and all of the Marvel characters. We believe our agreement with Marvel stands and that the Disney-Marvel deal has no impact on our guest experience.”
It is important to note, this does not necessarily stop Disney from also using some Marvel characters in their theme parks. In an interview with CNBC, Iger said, “Marvel characters have already proven to be strong in terms of theme park attraction, and we believe there are a lot of opportunities around the world . . . for us to use the Marvel characters to basically help us grow our theme park business and better entertain people.”
Based on this statement, we can assume there is a possibility that in the future, Orlando tourists can expect to see Marvel characters in both Universal Studios and the Walt Disney World theme parks.
For more information regarding Walt Disney World Resort or Universal Studios Resort, or to purchase discounted tickets, please visit our Web site The Official Ticket Center, or call us toll-free at 1-877-406-4836.