Stephen Foley: Disney deserves to pop the champagne corks

 

US Outlook It was, in the words of Neil Patrick Harris's medley of Disney tunes, a super-spicy-synergistic-glitzy-celebration. Emphasis on the synergistic.

The Doogie Howser actor was just one of the star turns at the christening of the new Disney Fantasy cruise ship in New York this week. Mariah Carey smashed the champagne, Jerry Seinfeld did stand-up, Mayor Michael Bloomberg popped aboard and the champagne flowed from Jessica Rabbit-emblazoned bottles of Tattinger. At one point, so many Disney characters were running down the aisles of the on-board theatre I thought this must be what it would be like if chief executive Bob Iger's life were to flash before him.

Disney has doubled down on the cruise business; the Fantasy takes its fleet to four. Coming on top of the cost of refurbs needed at the Disney theme parks, analysts have been grumbling about capital investment spending depressing profits. But the company's ability to put its cast of characters to work across movies, TV shows, musicals, theme parks and now cruises is unique in the media industry and why it deserves its stock market premium.

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