Even if theme parks aren’t your thing, there’s a good chance some of your money flows into The Walt Disney Company’s pockets: The behemoth owns ESPN, ABC and Marvel Studios, among other entertainment brands.
Given the company's broad reach and cult following, it’s no surprise that Disney stock is a frequent object of investor attention.
If the idea of owning a piece of Disney — or purchasing Disney stock as a gift — makes your Mickey Mouse ears perk up, here’s our guide for how to buy Disney stock.
1. Decide where to buy Disney stock
Disney stock isn't just attractive to traditional stock investors. The company's iconic cultural stature has made its stock popular with more casual investors — Disney super-fans and parents or grandparents who want to buy Disney stock as a gift.
Nerd tip: Disney's stock symbol is DIS. Its annualized dividend is $1.76, but the company has suspended dividend payments.
Your intentions will help determine the best way to buy Disney stock. The two main options:
Buy Disney stock directly: Some companies, including Disney, offer a direct purchase investment plan that allows you to purchase shares of the stock directly from the company itself. These direct stock purchase plans typically require minimum investments and charge enrollment fees. In the case of Disney, the minimum investment is $175 — more than the current Disney stock share price — or a commitment to invest $50 a month as a recurring electronic transfer into the plan. There is also a $20 enrollment fee, and a $1 fee per additional investment.
Buy Disney stock online via an online brokerage account: A brokerage account is an investment account that's easy to open and typically doesn't charge initiation or account opening fees. Many brokers charge no commission to buy stock, which is why we generally recommend purchasing through a brokerage account, rather than directly from the company itself. (See our tutorial on how to open a brokerage account for specific instructions.)
You can see our roundup of the best online brokers, which includes the ones highlighted below:
(Note: If you're buying Disney stock as a gift for a minor, you'll want to open a custodial account. For more details check out our explainer on how to open a brokerage account for a child.)
2. Research Disney and its stock
Now that you're familiar with the different ways to buy Disney stock, it's time to decide if an investment is right for your needs. If your goal is anything other than the novelty of buying one share of Disney stock, it's time to get to know the business you're considering as an investment.
Although you might be well-versed in all the Disney characters, theme parks and brands, you’re probably less familiar with the bones of the company: its management, revenue, net income and earnings. With a company like Disney, you also want to be familiar with where revenue is coming from, or which divisions drive the biggest profits.
Disney is a blue-chip stock with a solid history. But there are still risks in buying its shares.”
It's helpful to look at the industry in which Disney operates, as well as the company’s competition. What challenges are ahead for the entertainment industry, and how is Disney positioned to weather — or not weather — them? Has Disney reacted well to current industry trends, such as consumers ditching cable TV for streaming services?
If you’re struggling to figure out how to answer these and other questions, our guide to how to research a stock will help. Your broker will also offer research on its website.
» View our list: The best-performing stocks
You’ve looked at Disney from every angle. It’s a blue-chip stock with a solid history. But there are still risks in buying its shares.
Individual stocks are always riskier investments than diversified options like index mutual funds or exchange-traded funds. To build a diversified portfolio out of individual stocks, you’ll need to research 20, 30, maybe 40 companies. That takes a lot of work.
Index funds and ETFs do that work for you, by tracking a market index and allowing you to hold stock in hundreds of different companies within one fund. Unlike with an individual stock, when one company in an index fund goes belly up, you don’t lose your full investment. Over the long term, the other companies in the fund pick up the slack.
This is not to scare you away from buying Disney stock. In fact, owning shares of a publicly traded company is a great way for adults and kids alike to get a hands-on education about how businesses are run and how the stock market works. If you do become a Disney shareholder, keep two things in mind:
Limit individual stocks to 10% of your overall portfolio. The rest of your investable assets should be devoted to low-cost index funds and ETFs.
Invest long-term money only. That means money you won’t need in at least the next five years. That protects you against short-term market volatility.
4. Place your Disney stock order
The time has come: You have a budget, a brokerage account and you’re ready to make your purchase. To do that, you’ll use your broker’s online trading platform and fill out an order ticket to buy Disney stock.
Start by searching Disney’s ticker symbol, DIS, which will bring up the current price per share, alongside a buy button. Click that button and an order ticket will pop up.
On the order ticket you’ll be prompted to tell your broker how many shares of Disney you want to buy and how to process your order by selecting an order type. Generally, you can choose between these two:
A market order is best if you want your order to process quickly. It tells the broker to put your order through as soon as possible, prioritizing speed over price. That means the price you pay might vary a bit from the price per share you saw when you started placing your order.
A limit order is best if you’re most concerned about the price per share. It tells the broker to place your order for Disney only if the stock is priced at or below a level you set. For example, if you only want to buy Disney if the share price is $113 or less, you will put that price into the order ticket and select a limit order. It’s possible your order won’t execute if that price is not available.
If you need more guidance for placing your order, see our full guide to how to buy stocks.
Once your order goes through, you’re officially a Disney shareholder. You’ll want to keep an eye on company news and Disney’s stock price going forward, but remember this is a long-term investment, and stock prices have a tendency to ebb and flow. The most important thing is that Disney maintains an upward trajectory over the long haul.