Disney World began phased reopening in mid-July with Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom opening July 11 and Disney’s Hollywood Studios and EPCOT opening July 15. The parks were able to reopen after the unprecedented closure since March. Even with the Disney World parks managing to reopen, the timing coincided with an uptick in COVID-19 cases in Florida. Due to the increased number of cases in Florida many visitors from out of state have chosen to cancel their trips.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek revealed in the Walt Disney Company’s Q3 earnings call that the Parks, Experiences, and Products division lost $3.5 billion in operating income. Now that isn’t entirely surprising given the historic mass closures of all Disney Parks worldwide with Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California still remaining closed. Hong Kong Disneyland, which originally reopened in June, was forced to close for a second time due to the rise in COVID-19 cases.
Disney World reopened with new health and safety guidelines including required face masks, temperature checks before entry, new sterilization protocols, and more. Disney has also created a new ticketing and reservation system for guests to schedule their trips. However due to the rise in COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and specifically Florida, more guests than were expected have chosen to cancel their trips. Many of these guests who have cancelled are from out of state which makes the cancellation understandable considering the travel that would be involved.
Disney World usually has a majority of guests not just visiting from out of state, but out of the country as well. With visitors from out of the country and now out of state having to change plans, Disney World has definitely felt the blow in their profits. Out of state guests tend to spend more money while visiting, on hotels and restaurants as well as often buying more tickets to visit parks for longer stretches of time.
Now, Disney World has announced that all four parks will have reduced hours starting September 8 through October. Disney’s Animal Kingdom will open and close an hour earlier, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom will close an hour earlier, while EPCOT will close two hours earlier. Disney Springs’ hours will remain the same with the shopping center open from 10am – 10pm daily.
NEW DISNEY WORLD HOURS
Disney’s Animal Kingdom: 9am – 5pm (previously 8am – 6pm)
Disney’s Hollywood Studios: 10am – 7pm (previously 10am – 8pm)
Magic Kingdom: 9am – 6pm (previously 9am – 7pm)
EPCOT: 11am – 7pm (previously 11am – 9pm)
There has been no official reason given for the change in park hours. The Disney World parks were already operating at lower capacity in order to accommodate social distancing mandates, but with more cancellations and visitors from out of town not going to the parks it looks like they will continue to have financial issues. With all of that being said there is some good news even with the cancellations Disney World is still making more money than it costs to operate.
There is no indication at this time that Disney World will be following Disneyland Hong Kong into a second closure. Even with the reduced hours, guests will have ample time to enjoy their experiences at the parks. This is yet another policy change that the Walt Disney Company has had to make due to the ongoing pandemic. Disney has also had to keep the gates closed at their other U.S. park, Disneyland. Walt Disney Company has been hugely affected by the pandemic and not just in the Parks, Experiences, and Products division. Upcoming films have seen delays for years to come and the live action Mulan will be released on Disney Plus September 4 around the world.
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Source: Cinema Blend