Disney has had a rough go of it over the past year. Disney CEO Bob Chapek has struggled to find his footing (and popularity) with fans. There was a very public lawsuit filed by Marvel star Scarlett Johansson. Then, there is Disney’s response to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill. Disney said nothing for a long time, then when they did, the damage was already done. There were a number of walkouts and protests — both from Cast Members and Guests, and Disney is still working to get back in the good graces of the LGBTQ+ community. However, their denunciation of the bill has caused a massive fight between them and their more conservative fans.
Disney’s stance on the bill has also caused a major rift between the company and Florida Republicans. In fact, things have gotten so bad that the state legislature passed a bill dissolving the Reedy Creek Improvement District. On April 22, Governor DeSantis signed the bill into law, which means that Disney will no longer function as its own government beginning June 1, 2023. If the bill goes into effect, Disney will be beholden to the state of Florida for any improvements it wants to make and any money that it needs to function. In turn, Florida residents will be on the hook for Reedy Creek’s debts, which are estimated to be between $1 and $2 billion.
All of this trouble is hitting Disney where it hurts, in its stock price. On April 20, 2022, Disney stock hit an 18-month low of $121.66. It had been lower in October 2020 at $121.25, but had managed to rebound. Unfortunately, things have only gotten slightly worse. On April 22, the day that Governor DeSantis signed the bill to dissolve Reedy Creek, Disney stock closed at $118.27. That was a nearly 3% drop from the day before.
This drop in Disney stock has been a slow burn that has been happening over the past year. In March 2021, just before Disneyland Resort opened back up after its pandemic closure, Disney stock was at an all-time high of $197.16. While it would seem logical that the reopening of Disneyland would have possibly caused the stock to soar higher, that has not happened. Disney’s stock has only been in decline from April 2021 until April 2022.
Disney’s drastic drop has also severely altered its overall growth over the past 5 years. With the more than 30% decline over the past year, Disney’s overall growth over the past 5 years sits at just over 5%.
While Disney is working hard to bring people back over to its side, it has been a struggle. People are boycotting Disney in a lot of ways, including not visiting the Parks and canceling their Disney+ streaming subscriptions. before Disney’s Florida issue was also not as high as The was hoping. However, if Disney continues to fight for the LGBTQ+ community, they could increase people’s positive perception of the company, which could, in turn, drive their stock value back up.
At this point, all we can do is wait and see. While it’s easy for stocks to plummet, it is significantly hard for them to rebound. Unless Disney announces a major positive change in its company — something possibly like the approval of DisneylandForward — then it will be a steep climb to get the stock prices back up to where they were in March 2021.