The Real Way Disney Makes Their Money—It’s Not Their Parks

It's not Mickey Mouse ears, either.

Disney symbolInk Drop/Shutterstock

The Walt Disney Company is famous for its notable characters and theme parks, but their business goes way beyond the likes of Mickey Mouse and the Magic Kingdom—though this business doesn’t include the failed Disney fast-food franchise.

There are four main ways Disney makes their money: media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment, and consumer products and interactive media. Although the Disney parks and resorts earned more than 20 billion dollars in revenue in 2018, Disney media networks actually made the most money with 24.5 billion dollars in profits, according to data from Statista. Some of the networks you might recognize include Disney Channel, ESPN, and ABC television networks, among many more. These channels consistently bring in the bulk of Disney profits. In fact, over 40 percent of Walt Disney Company revenue came from these networks in 2016. This isn’t too surprising considering everyone has a favorite Disney cartoon with some interesting backstories.

Of course, Disney offers so much more than just TV shows. After their shows and parks, the third-largest revenue stream is from Disney movies, or “studio entertainment,” per Statista. Movies like Black Panther, Toy Story 3, and Finding Dory are just some of the films that play huge parts in the success of the Disney movie business. Now, there might be even more growth for both the TV and movie side with the new Disney +. The streaming service, which rolls out in November 2019, will include programs from Marvel and Pixar, along with Disney movies, TV shows, and documentaries, too. Make sure you brush up on your Disney trivia before the streaming service release.

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Emily DiNuzzo
Emily DiNuzzo is an assistant staff writer at Reader's Digest who previously wrote for INSIDER, the Food Network, POPSUGAR, Well + Good, Westchester Magazine, and more. There's also a 90 percent chance Emily is drinking tea right now, but when she's not writing away about food and health with a cuppa by her side, you can find her lifting heavy things at the gym, listening to murder mystery podcasts, and liking one too many astrology memes.