Walt Disney is one of the best-known names in the world of entertainment. The name is associated with countless animated films, theme parks and resorts--including the Walt Disney World resort in Orlando, Florida. Although this resort is world famous and has been extremely successful, it is still subject to market forces. In order to understand how Walt Disney World is positioned in the market, it is helpful to conduct a SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis is a managerial tool which assesses the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that a business faces.
Walt Disney World's greatest strength is its world famous brand. With theme parks around the world and movies released to generations of children, the Disney brand is one of the most recognizable brands in the world. Beyond the Disney name, Walt Disney World is able to use the brand power of its many animated characters such as Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Cinderella and Winnie the Pooh in order to attract customers. Disney has expanded its holdings to include the Mirimax film studio and the Pixar animation company, giving it access to an even greater number of brands and characters.
Walt Disney World includes several different theme parks within its resort, including Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom. Additionally, they have opened up two water parks, Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. They have also expanded beyond their traditional brands with the ESPN Wide World of Sports attraction. On top of all of this, Walt Disney World operates several different hotels and a campground. This diverse product portfolio may represent a weakness because managing such different products can reduce efficiency and lead to a lack of strategic focus.
According to Danjel Lessard and Lauren Northcutt of Pacific Lutheran University, a major opportunity exists for Disney parks and resorts, including Walt Disney World, through the use of "imagineering." Imagineering is a combination of imagining and engineering, developed by Walt Disney. It refers to the company's ability to develop innovative new attractions that bring the imaginary world to life. This provides Walt Disney World with the opportunity to create exciting, new attractions that will draw in new visitors.
According to Danjel Lessard and Lauren Northcutt, a major threat to Walt Disney World is the competition of other resort and theme parks such as Universal Studios, which is also located in Orlando. In addition to competitors in its geographic area, Walt Disney World risks losing customers to the many theme parks that are opening throughout the United States and the rest of the world. These theme parks have the potential to steal away visitors who might otherwise make the trip to Walt Disney World.
A SWOT analysis can be used to understand the position that Walt Disney World currently occupies in the market. This can be used internally to make decisions about the future direction of the company or by competitors to anticipate what the company might do next.