A great read from the Daily Disney at the Orlando Sentinel:
Nineteen months after breaking ground, Disney today will begin selling time-share interests in Aulani, a high-rise resort in Hawaii that company executives hope will be a template for future growth in their $11 billion-a-year theme-park division.
The 841-room hotel and time share, which carries a reported $800 million price tag, is the first test of Disney’s strategy to build stand-alone resorts and niche attractions in markets far from its massive theme-park resorts in Orlando and Anaheim, Calif.
If successful, Aulani will likely serve as a model for similar Disney projects in other markets — such as in Washington, where the company last year paid $11 million for 15 acres as a potential resort site. If it flops, Disney executives will be left scrambling for new strategies to wring profit growth from a maturing U.S. theme-park market.
“It’ll be a test to see if their brand can extend … outside of their traditional business,” said Michael Corty, a stock analyst who follows Walt Disney Co. for Morningstar Inc. “I would say they’ll be tested outside of their parks.”
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