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.
The public is about to get a first look at the revamp of Disney’s 11-year-old California Adventure — including the Pixar-engineered Cars Land and other upgrades. The face-lift, which took five years, aims to fix what Disney CEO Bob Iger once called a “brand eyesore.” The company also hopes to boost attendance at the underperforming venue, which is situated across from Disneyland in Anaheim. Disney reportedly spent $1 billion on renovations. Goofy’s Sky School replaced the Mulholland Madness roller coaster. An animatronic attraction, The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure ride, replaced the Golden Dreams audio tour of California. And the Golden Gate Bridge was replaced by Buena Vista Street, which attempts to re-create the Los Angeles of the 1920s when Walt Disney first came to town and lived and worked in Los Feliz.