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Why Disney Shareholders Should Be Excited for 2015

By Bradley Seth McNew - Jan 23, 2015 at 7:28AM

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Disney made this Fool happy in 2014. The magic should continue this year.

Source: Disney.

Not only has The Walt Disney Co. (DIS 3.30%) provided me with magical memories and experiences throughout my life, but it's also given me great returns on my investment. In 2014 alone, the share price climbed 25% to what was then an all-time high above $95.  

Following that growth, Disney shares are now expensive compared with the market, and investors should be questioning whether there's much upside left for Disney. However, 2015 looks poised to be another blockbuster year for Disney, as many of the investments it has made in the past few years will come to fruition this year. Here's why I'm excited to continue to be a Disney shareholder in 2015. 

Disney releases its 2015 new movie schedule
In its most recent quarterly earnings, CEO Bob Iger said Disney is going to be releasing more major films than ever before, planning for at least 21 films in the next three years. Disney has since released its full expected schedule of new movies in 2015, 12 in total. And the list looks awesome.

The most exciting parts of this release include more films from the Marvel franchise, new live-action adaptations of classic movies such as Cinderella, new original animated films such as Inside Out, one still-untitled Cold War-era thriller directed by Steven Spielberg, and, of course, the tail-end blockbuster of the year, Star Wars. Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm for $4 billion in 2013 is finally going to make its big financial debut with what Disney (and we investors) are hoping will be a major revenue boost when Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens on Dec. 18. Here's the lineup for the year:  

  1. Strange Magic (Lucasfilm) -- Jan. 23
  2. McFarland, USA -- Feb. 20
  3. Cinderella -- March 13 
  4. Monkey Kingdom -- April 17
  5. Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron -- May 1
  6. Tomorrowland -- May 22
  7. Inside Out -- June 19
  8. Marvel's Ant-Man -- July 17
  9. The Jungle Book -- Oct. 9
  10. Untitled Steven Spielberg movie (Cold War-era thriller, with DreamWorks) -- Oct. 16
  11. The Good Dinosaur -- Nov. 25
  12. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Lucasfilm) -- Dec. 18

Scene from Star Wars VII trailer. Photo: Disney.

The company's segment responsible for movie productions like these is only the company's third largest segment, though it was one of the fastest growing segments in 2014. The second largest segment holds one more reason to be excited for 2015 -- theme parks and the coming resort in China.

Disney's resort in China is going to be amazing
Disney's theme-park segment proved to be one of the company's best segments in fiscal 2014, with 20% growth year over year. Theme parks should continue to be a strong asset to the company, as visitation at its U.S. parks reached record numbers over the recent holiday season. Just like with films, Disney's past investments are going to make for an exciting year when that investment starts bringing returns by the end of the year. The investment: Disney's first resort in mainland China. 

Photo: Disney.

This new resort, set on nearly 1,000 acres of land just outside Shanghai, is a $5.5 billion bet on the Chinese market. Following the success of the company's Hong Kong park, this new park boasts fresh hotels, attractions, and features specific to this park, and the company has worked with the Chinese government to make a theme park unlike any in the world.  

Expecting more share price growth in 2015
Disney's earnings per share were up 22% year over year in the most recent fiscal year, ended Sept. 30. That number is expected to grow another 10% by the end of fiscal 2015. If the company's current share price-to-earnings ratio of 22 holds, that values shares of Disney at around $102. With those numbers and the anticipated roll-outs in 2015, Disney investors have plenty of reasons to be excited in 2015.

Bradley Seth McNew owns shares of Walt Disney, as well as way too many Disney movies on VHS. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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