Shuttered Disneyland is still a disappointment to Disney

|
Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland in California. The park is still closed.
Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland in California. The park is still closed.

While Disney executives are encouraged by theme park visitation around the world and increased demand by way of forward bookings and reservations, the shuttered Disneyland Resort in California remains a thorn in the company's side.

CEO Bob Chapek said during Disney's fiscal year fourth-quarter earnings call Thursday that he was "extremely disappointed" that California is unwilling to let the park reopen under current conditions.

The state has released guidelines under which large theme parks like Disneyland could reopen, but Disney and other theme park operators have said they are too restrictive and are not reflective of successful efforts to reopen parks during the pandemic in other locales.

"Our health and safety protocols are all science-based and have the support of labor unions representing 99% of our hourly cast members," Chapek said. "Frankly, as we and other civic leaders have stated before, we believe state leadership should look objectively at what we've achieved successfully at our parks around the world, all based on science, as opposed to setting an arbitrary standard that is precluding our cast members from getting back to work while decimating small businesses in the local community."

Disney parks have successfully reopened in Orlando, Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong with safety protocols in place, including reduced capacities, Chapek said. Disneyland Paris was also reopened for several months, although it is again shuttered amid a coronavirus spike in the country.

Disney's park operators have also gotten more efficient in operating under the new Covid-19 guidelines, according to Chapek. That is evidenced in the fact that Disney has "pretty materially" been able to increase capacities at its parks while still staying within local guidelines.

For instance, parks at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando were originally opened in mid-July at 25% capacity. That has increased to 35%, Chapek said.

Consumer demand to visit the parks is strong, Chapek said, evidenced by positive forward bookings and reservations.

At the Walt Disney World Resort, CFO Christine McCarthy said, park reservations at reduced capacity limits have already reached 77% for the first quarter of the fiscal year, and Thanksgiving weekend is booked close to capacity.

McCarthy also said that Disney's parks in Orlando, Shanghai and Hong Kong all generated revenue exceeding operating costs in the fourth quarter.

Parks were the "most severely affected" business segment for Disney, McCarthy said.

Disney's Parks, Experiences and Products segment operated at a $1.1 billion loss in the fourth quarter. Revenue was down 61%, to $2.58 billion.

McCarthy said there is no visibility on how long the impacts of the coronavirus will affect Disney's theme parks, and the company anticipates the Disneyland Resort will be closed through at least the end of the fiscal first quarter.

Comments

From Our Partners


From Our Partners

Fiji Airways – Your connection to Fiji and the South Pacific
Fiji Airways – Your connection to Fiji and the South Pacific
Register Now
We Love Travel Advisors 2022 Guide
We Love Travel Advisors 2022 Guide
Read More
How You Can Sell Alaska This Summer - Webinar 2
How You Can Sell Alaska This Summer - Webinar 2
Register Now

JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI