For the theme park industry, things don’t seem to be getting easier. Faced with a surge in coronavirus cases across Europe, parks in Belgium and Italy announced their closure for one month last week. This week, we saw Germany and France announce partial shutdowns, which will force theme parks in these countries to lock their turnstiles for at least the next few weeks.
Disney (New York Stock Exchange: DIS) Feel tingling. Disneyland Paris will be closed at the end of today’s business day. It hopes to reopen in time before the two-week holiday at the peak of December 19, but this regulation naturally depends on the situation at the time and the government̵
Historically, this is the low season for the industry. In any case, many attractions are closed or restricted in operation. However, as the US case set a daily record this week, people have to wonder whether Disney’s domestic business in the US must also press the pause button. We must begin to prepare for the grim possibility that Florida Disneyland may have to close again before the original Disneyland has a chance to reopen.
When the ride stops, please go left
The suggestion that Disney World may have to close in the next few weeks is an unpleasant idea, and it is definitely not in the discussion now. The United States set a new daily record this Wednesday, but the situation in Florida is much better than when Disney World opened to the public in mid-July.
The number of daily cases in Florida reached a peak of over 15,000 on July 12. The number of cases in the state is increasing, but still less than one-third of the peak summer period. However, lock-in is always possible because we are preparing for the second wave. Just as we have seen the stalemate in California, it is no longer possible for Disney to decide its own destiny.
Disney World is sending mixed messages. It gradually began to reopen some previously closed resort hotels and restaurants, but this week, Florida resorts did send pink notes to more employees. Disney’s in-park entertainment department bears the brunt of this round of layoffs because many live performers and roaming performers are upset. This is just another stern reminder that Disney World may have been technically open for more than three months, but we do not call ourselves “the most magical place on earth” as we did before.
Since its reopening, Disney World has continued to lose money. When media stocks report its quarterly results within two weeks, we will have a clearer picture of the matter, but it does say that the last time it turned out was that the loss of funds was less than the loss of keeping it closed.
To its credit, Disney World has proven that it can safely reopen in the pandemic. Since the resumption of operations in June and July, there has not been any major coronavirus outbreak related to Florida theme parks. However, if the situation continues to climb, then the narrative can be changed, as is now done throughout Europe.
Of course, this will be devastating for Disney. If they are unsure whether they are open or not, consumers stop planning to travel to the Rat’s House, and that is before we get the desalination experience necessary for the current new normal. Squandering momentum is a dangerous thing, no matter how amazing you are running in one place, this is true.