CNBC: Do you find that Chinese visitors spend time differently in the parks? And, if so, how do you make sure that you're accommodating them properly?
Iger: Well, this is all still very new. We've had over half a million people come through this park and over a million people actually visit the overall property, so, reaching firm conclusions at this point would be premature. We've certainly learned a lot already. Interesting, one thing that we anticipated and it was reflected in the design, if you look at China today, especially its most urban parts, there aren't many places that people can go to get shade, to relax, to be in what I will call a bucolic setting. So, the design of Gardens of Imagination, which is this seven-acre garden that sits in front of the castle, serves as our hub but has water features, and is tree lined and had plants and is generally a great place to sit and relax. [It] was very much the results of research that we did, where we believe that we were actually answering a need that people had. The lake that we built, Wishing Star Lake, was another example of that: let's build a beautiful place that people can walk around and sit and enjoy. As a for instance, we actually have property within the confines of the theme park itself that's just grassy stretches for people to sit out on a nice sunny day and sit on grass, and I noticed the other day people throwing Frisbees around and people sitting and having lunch. So they clearly are enjoying that. In terms of other forms of behavior they are getting used to we're offering, which is Disney, a lot of people in one place, generally having a good time, but it's a different, unique experience for people. We're learning how they're learning from us.
CNBC: We've already seen evidence there that the economic slowdown has effected consumer behavior and the consumer market, is this something that you're worried about at all?
Iger: No, because we're building something to last forever and when we make a decision to invest at this level we don't pin that decision on one time economically, we think long term about a market; we really take a long view. So, whether it's here or in other parts of the world, current or near-term economic circumstances or political circumstances or whatever typically don't cause much anxiety with us.
CNBC: Does it affect your pricing at all?
Iger: Our approach to pricing in this marketplace took into [account] a number of circumstances and conditions; none were really specifically tied what's going on in the economy today, but they took into account the overall Chinese economy, the Chinese consumer, spendable income, price-to-value relationship, the fact that we were building something [of that] scale, something that was very high in quality, something that was unique, something that many people aspire to, having heard about, read about Disneyland and that experience. So, it was all, a lot of things factored into the decision.
CNBC: Who do you think your target Chinese consumer is.. is there one?
Iger: The great new [approach] about Disney is everyone is our target consumer. What I've loved [about] actually about watching people enjoy this park the last few weeks is the multigenerations that come together. We assumed that would be the case, but the number of groups that include grandparents and parents and a grandchild is just extraordinary to me. We thought that would be the case, but it's very evident here when you walk around on a full day. It's for everyone. I've seen single people. You go at night, it's very different; they don't have kids, in some cases they're not married, people on dates. That's always nice to see. I've seen grandparents alone; I've seen parents with kids; I've seen mothers with their children. It's sort of, again, the great thing about Disney, that universal appeal, and certainly that's true with this park.
CNBC: Some of your Chinese competitors have been saying negative things about you guys and saying that Disney won't necessarily having a long-term future here. Where do you see Disney fitting into the overall theme park industry?
Iger: Well, I think the theme park industry in China is growing and will continue to grow. We were aware that there was significant competition when we entered this market; we fully anticipated there would be more competition. What we knew and what we would concluded and what we already know to be the case is we're bringing a product that is unlike any other in this market. Obviously, it starts with the fact that it's Disney, and with that comes Disney stories, characters and our intellectual property. In addition to that, the level of the investment here basically creates something that is unique in terms of quality. In order to build something that is this great, all of the detail, all of the beautiful artwork, all of the great attractions, the technology that we put into the experience that takes significant investment and our competitors don't come close in terms of either being able to or wanting to put that kind of investment into their parks. In addition, we have 60 years of operating experience. That's a lot of experience; we do this really well. And we've learned along the way, that's only enabled us to get better. No one comes close to that. The quality of the experience that you get here, whether it's what you're eating, what you're riding, what show you're seeing, how you're being treated by the person who's taking your ticket, the person that's serving your meal, the person that's making sure you're in your seat and ready for the ride to start, is vastly different than what anyone else has to offer. So, to those that are criticizing us, they clearly do not know our product, or they suffer from significant envy for that product, and frankly, what they've said is completely immaterial to us.