Although Disney World has yet to announce park reopening dates in the United States or France customers can book tickets for June 1, while Disney Shanghai is set to open May 11.
Disneyland in Shanghai’s opening will set the precedent for how Disney could open in the US and France at a later date. Shanghai’s Disney Town and resort have been open since early March.
Disney Shanghai is opening with limited capacity and all customers must wear approved face masks, purchase tickets prior to the day of opening, show their greenlight health QR code, social distance in queues for rides and restaurants as well as undergo temperature checks upon arrival. Some shows and attractions will not be open, no pictures with cast members will be allowed and there are increased sanitation measures that will take place throughout the day in Disney Shanghai once the park reopens.
Disney in the United States is likely to follow similar guidelines placed in Shanghai after it determines how well the regulations work and although the Disney executives have yet to announce a specific date, customers can purchase tickets in the US to attend the park beginning in June.
“An encouraging sign for Disney parks and retail locations all over the world,” said Pamela Hymel, the Disney parks chief medical officer about the Shanghai openings in a press release.
Hymel stated that the parks are exploring a phased opening option where restaurants and retail, such as Disney Springs, open first before the parks similarly to Shanghai. Virtual queues and efforts to aid social distancing within the park utilising Disney park apps, increased disinfection, use of personal protective equipment and training cast members in health are some of the reopening plans.
This is ongoing while Disney reported a ($1 billion dollar) 814,435,000 pound impact due to COVID-19 mainly due to lost revenue from park and resort closures. Disney has also decided to forgo the payment of their semi-annual cash dividend to investors, saving the company $1.6 billion US dollars(over 1.3 million pounds), according to a Disney press release.
The company has had to adapt to the massive loss in park revenue by furloughing 43,000 workers while reducing capital spending and cutting salaries for senior management.
“While the COVID-19 pandemic has had an appreciable financial impact on a number of our businesses, we are confident in our ability to withstand this disruption and emerge from it in a strong position,” said Bob Chapek, Chief Executive Officer of Disney. “Disney has repeatedly shown that it is exceptionally resilient, which is evident in the extraordinary response to Disney+ since its launch last November.”
In a Florida tourism survey, where the Orlando based Disney World is located and brings in over 75 million domestic and international travelers in 2018 according to the Orlando Business Journal, tourism businesses in Florida had to reduce their staff by 73% due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This impact on the Florida economy that is largely built around tourism will have negative effects for years to come. Not only will the Central Florida economy suffer due to a loss in tourism, but the families used to hold seasonal passes will likely not experience the full magic of Disney soon.
“My daughter Emma turns 11 today. She’s been saving her money for a year to go to Disney World for her birthday. Not as a gift for herself, but so that her baby sister could enjoy Disney the way she did as a little kid. COVID had other plans,” Berny Belvedere father and Arc Digital editor in chief said on Twitter.
(Feature image: Christian Wagner on Unsplash)
by Natalia Jaramillo