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3 Dates for Disney Stock Investors to Circle in October

By Rick Munarriz – Sep 30, 2021 at 8:35AM

Key Points

  • Disney World turns 50 and has 18 months to milk money out of theme park fans.
  • The new season of "The Bachelorette" comes at a good time, with advertisers spending money again.
  • November will be a big month for Disney's studio-entertainment segment, but there's a potential dark-horse blockbuster coming out in October.

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A theme park milestone, a new season of ABC's biggest franchise, and a new animated feature hitting theaters will make the month ahead interesting.

September is nearly done, but it's easy to see why Walt Disney (DIS) is looking forward to the new month. October is going to be huge for the House of Mouse, particularly for its suddenly resilient theme parks business.

Disney is never dull. Let's take a closer look at a couple of the dates that investors will want to watch when it comes to the family-entertainment giant.

Mickey and Minnie in front of the Magic Kingdom castle.

Image source: Disney.

Oct. 1

Diehard theme park fans are converging in Central Florida this week. Disney World's Magic Kingdom turns 50 on Friday, and with that, the media mogul kicks off an 18-month fete across its massive resort, complete with new rides, shows, and -- well -- price points.

Disney just gave its annual passes a huge makeover, a move to optimize per-capita spending by limiting when less lucrative pass holders can visit. It's also making its former FastPass expedited queues a premium experience that guests will have to pay for daily to access. 

The heart of the Friday celebration will be at the Magic Kingdom, complete with a new fireworks show in the evening. Disney's Epcot park will also prove popular, debuting a new nighttime show itself, as well as the official opening of Remy's Ratatouille Adventure ride. 

This is also the start of Disney's 2022 fiscal year. If Disney World's strategic tweaks prove to be more popular than controversial, it could be the start of a record year for the media stock's bellwether.

Oct. 19

These are challenging times for ABC. It's hard for traditional media networks to compete against the edgier premium streaming services. Ratings for Disney's ABC and other legacy broadcasters have taken a hit over the years, but one standout near the top of the weekly rating rankings for ABC has been the current season of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette.

The new season of The Bachelorette premieres on Oct. 19, moving from Monday to Tuesday nights. It's generally hard to get excited about any show on ABC these days, but with advertisers comfortable spending again in 2021, the return of a popular content franchise is clearly a welcome sign. 

Oct. 22

There aren't a lot of no-brainer cinematic blockbusters coming out of Disney in October. November will bring us Marvel's Eternals, the sixth installment in the Home Alone franchise, and the animated Encanto. However, one dark-horse flick to watch in October is Ron's Gone Wrong

Disney inherited a catalog of upcoming releases as part of its purchase of key Twenty-First Century Fox assets, and that's how Ron's Gone Wrong wound up in its catalog. The full-length animated feature is set in the future, where children have personal bots as companions. The protagonist -- Barney -- gets a bot named Ron, who proves to be very different than all of the others. 

Disney is the undisputed top dog in theatrical animation. Between its iconic namesake studio and the Pixar acquisition, it's home to some of the biggest animated films in history. Like the namesake B-Bot itself in Ron's Gone Wrong, this film will be different than all of the others.

It's the first film from Locksmith Animation. If the movie's a hit, there's no company better than Disney to capitalize on TV, theme parks, and consumer-products merchandising.

If it fails to draw a crowd at local multiplexes, no worries. November has that slate of big releases.

Rick Munarriz owns shares of Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Walt Disney. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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