5 Dates for Disney to Watch This Summer

Summer is always an important time for Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) . It's peak season for its theme parks and cruise ships. This is when the family entertainment giant puts out some of its biggest movies, too.

Let's take a look at a few days that Disney -- and Disney investors -- will want to keep an eye on this season.

June 21
Yes, that's today.

Monsters University kicks off its theatrical run today. The prequel to Pixar's wildly successful Monsters, Inc. is already paying dividends in the form of these shows at some of Disney's theme parks, and the movie's success may dictate if a third installment in the franchise is a worthwhile endeavor.

July 3
Another potential summer blockbuster for Disney opens in two weeks. Marketing has intensified for The Lone Ranger, and that's already a good sign for a production that ran into more a few hiccups along the way.

Disney knows what it wants here with this classic Western reboot. Reuniting Johnny Depp, producer Jerry Bruckheimer, and director Gore Verbinski suggests that the House of Mouse is hoping for another Pirates of the Caribbean winning franchise.

It's naturally still too soon to know if it will be an international hit.

Aug. 6
Disney has scheduled its fiscal third-quarter report for the first Tuesday in August after the market close.

CEO Bob Iger and CFO Jay Rasulo will discuss the company's financial performance. Wall Street is braced for surprisingly modest growth. They see revenue and earnings per share climbing just 5% and 3%, respectively.

Aug. 9
The D23 Expo kicks off in Anaheim this year. The annual festival is a get-together of Disney fans, and it's a bigger event than you probably think. More than 40,000 people attended the D23 Expo when it was hosted at the Anaheim Convention Center two years ago.

The reason that this exposition makes the cut is because Disney plans to have a Marvel meet-and-greet area set up for attendees on Aug. 9, featuring Disney's first shot at having costumed Spider-Man and Iron Man characters.

Disney has been reluctant to work its Marvel characters into parks through costumed character interactions and more ambitious attractions. It doesn't have much of a choice in Florida, where Comcast's Universal Studios Islands of Adventure has territorial rights to Marvel-themed attractions throughout the state. However, it's really just a matter of time before Marvel properties begin growing their theme park presence globally.

Aug. 18
Let's call this the day that Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI  ) has been worrying about for months.

Disney will introduce Disney Infinity, a new console gaming experience that borrows liberally from the concept of Activision's Skylanders: Players explore virtual worlds based on the actual figures that they place on connected docks.

Disney was originally set to roll out the first starter systems in late June, but that got bumped to mid-August. It gives Activision two more months to perfect its strategy. Disney Infinity should expand the audience of role-playing games, but it will inevitably take a few Skylanders players with it along the way.

It's easy to forget that Walt Disney is more than just the House of Mouse. True, Disney amusement parks around the world hosted more than 121 million guests in 2011. But from its vast catalog of characters to its monster collection of media networks, much of Disney's allure for investors lies in its diversity, and The Motley Fool's premium research report lays out the case for investing in Disney today. This report includes the key items investors must watch as well as the opportunities and threats the company faces going forward. So don't miss out -- simply click here now to claim your copy today.


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