In a CNBC “Squawk Alley” interview on Wednesday, Disney CEO Bob Chapek has confirmed that Disneyland will be reopening later next month.
Disney’s two Californian parks will officially be reopening on April 30th, confirmed by current Disney CEO, Bob Chapek, through an exclusive interview with CNBC. The two parks, Disneyland and Californian Adventure, will open at limited capacity, a first for the parks, which have been closed for roughly a year.
As Bob Chapek said in the interview,
“We’ve seen the enthusiasm, the craving for people to return to our parks around the world; We’ve been operating at Walt Disney World for about nine months, and there certainly is no shortage of demand.
I think as people become vaccinated, they become a little bit more confident in the fact that they can travel, and, you know, stay Covid-free; Consumers trust Disney to do the right thing and we’ve certainly proven that we can open responsibly whether it’s temperature checks, masks, social distancing, or improved hygiene around the parks.”
This is in contrast to the company’s Florida-contained Walt Disney World, which has been reopened for months, mostly due to a relaxed COVID-based amusement park legal system. That’s completely the opposite of California’s very tight legal system, which up until a few days ago, has been a major opponent to Disneyland’s reopening.
Disneyland isn’t the only thing opening however. Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa will reopen April 29th with limited capacity, likely a day earlier just for reservations or early arrivals. The Disney Vacation Club Villa in the Grand Californian will reopen on May 2nd, with Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel and the Disneyland Hotel reopening at an undisclosed date.
All of California’s parks and major amusement park related hotels have been shutdown due to COVID-related restrictions and legal closures for the past year, keeping all theme parks, both big, and small, closed until cases improve for the state.
That was before the addition of a new reopening plan, allowing amusement parks to reopen on April 1st with 15% to 35% opening capacity. Statural covered this new legislature a few weeks ago here, if you want to learn more about the plan. Currently, CEO Chapek has said that the parks will operate at 15% capacity to start, slowly increasing occupancy in relation to California’s changing plans.
Anything would constitute a massive jump for the park however, as closures have kept the park generating zero revenue. The COVID-19 shutdown last year led Disney to lay off 10s of thousands of employees, as well as removing a very important source of revenue for the company.
Parks, Experiences, and Consumer Products, which includes the Disney Parks, accounted for roughly 37% of Disney’s 2019 revenue of $69.6 billion, or around $26.2 billion. COVID-19 cut 40% off of that revenue, reducing the division to around 25% of Disney’s $65.4 billion in revenue, around $16.5 billion.
Luckily for the company though, this reopening is massive. Orange County, the location of Disneyland and California Adventure, are seeing four new COVID-19 cases everyday per 100,000 residents. That’s a 96% reduction from a COVID-19 high of 118 cases, just back two months. This sign is a good one towards the parks’ reopening, something that’s been wanted by millions, ever since it was shut down.
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For Disney’s 1st quarter 2021 earnings call, CFO Christine McCarthy had said that for the parks which were open, the company was able to create a “new incremental positive contribution,” from the guests, although there were reduced capacity levels. This sign points to there having been pent up need to visit or purchase items from the resort, helping to offset the expenses of keeping them open while many couldn’t visit.
I’m really excited about this, although I don’t go to California for Disney, because California stepping down their COVID-19 restrictions for amusement parks, is a good sign for other states with other parks. Restrictions to help prevent a 3rd wave of COVID are great, but they’re not necessary for theme parks. These parks are incredibly well isolated, controlled, and they can easily mandate social distancing and mask wearing, with some ridiculously easy ways of spreading out the crowd.
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