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In Florida, Comcast and Disney Start a Border War

By Tim Beyers – Mar 15, 2014 at 9:00AM

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The cable giant announces plans to significantly expand its theme park business both in the region and around the world.

Theme parks are about to become a bigger part of Comcast's (CMCSA 0.74%) business, Fool contributor Tim Beyers says in the following video.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported this week that Comcast is putting some $500 million into theme park expansion annually. Work is already under way to significantly expand the company's attractions located near Walt Disney's (DIS 1.62%) competing parks in Orlando, Fla.

There's plenty at stake for both companies. Theme parks accounted for $14.1 billion in revenue and $2.2 billion in operating profit for Disney in fiscal 2013. Comcast, for its part, generates $2.2 billion in revenue and $1 billion in operating cash flow from resort operations such as Universal Orlando, the Inquirer reported.

Competition could grow fiercer with Comcast choosing to expand in Florida. Executives told the Inquirer that the company is "doubling down" on theme parks and expects to grow its capacity of resort-area hotel rooms from 4,200 this summer to as much as 15,000 over time.

New rides based on the Transformers movies, the acclaimed Harry Potter films, and Illumination Entertainment's Despicable Me franchise are also in the works. They'll join popular rides based on characters from Disney's Marvel Entertainment subsidiary, including "The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man," "Doctor Doom's Fearfall," and "The Incredible Hulk Coaster."

Tim says to expect Disney to respond to Comcast's moves with more attractions based on its Marvel and Star Wars franchises. There's also wide speculation that the House of Mouse will cash in on Frozen's billion-dollar run at the box office with a ride based on the movie. Which will come first? It's too early to tell. For now, all we can say for sure is that theme park business is about to get more interesting.

Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Walt Disney at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home and portfolio holdings or connect with him on Google+Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

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