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Disney World reopens as corona virus nails in Florida

Although Disney is implementing several measures to re-open safely, a dense theme park is resuming roughly the size of San Francisco with risks, issues and criticism as fall nails in Florida.

Even in normal times, Disney World is not easy to operate. The facility has more than 75,000 employees (or as the company calls them, “cast members”) and is visited by millions of people each year. The Magic Kingdom alone, which contains brand attractions such as Cinderella Castle and Space Mountain, accounted for more than 20 million visitors in 2018, according to a report from AECOM.
Disney World sets a new opening date

Disney World is “the heart of the brand,” according to Trip Miller, a Disney stockholder and leading partner at Gullane Capital Partners.

“When you think of Disney, I think for many people, Disney World will immediately think of it,” he said.

“Disney’s most important individual asset”

Disney’s media empire is huge. The company has a movie film franchise, a popular and growing streaming service and a robust cable network in ESPN. Still, all of these things may not be as important to the company’s short-term end line as its parks and resorts.

And no Disney park is as important as Walt Disney World.

“It’s three times the size of Disneyland in terms of revenue,” Michael Nathanson, a media analyst and founding partner at MoffettNathanson, told CNN Business.

Nathanson estimates that Disney World alone generated $ 11.2 billion, or about 16% of the company’s total revenue in 2019, adding that it is a massive driver of growth for the company.

“It’s probably their most important individual asset,” Nathanson said.

Disney’s Parks, Experiences and Products unit, which brought in more than $ 26 billion in fiscal 2019, was crushed financially last quarter due to the outbreak. The segment’s operating profit fell 58% year-on-year, and Disney reported a $ 1 billion loss in profits just a few weeks into the global shutdown.

According to Nathanson, while the coronavirus pandemic has hit every part of Disney’s business, its parks where Disney has the most reopening agency.

“You have TV, which is affected by lack of production, lack of sports, advertising weakness, lacing. It’s not good. You have their film unit, which has great content, but no theater openings in the near term. It’s a problem. And then do you have parks, which have been hit by Covid-19 and closures, “he said. “So of those three, you can control your park operations. You have control over the safety issues, the opening. It’s under your control, so you can do what you can there.”

Despite Disney’s many safety protocols and health measures, which include reduced capacity in its parks and requiring all employees and guests to wear masks, one thing Disney can’t control is the coronavirus itself.

“How do you plan for something that seems to change every day?”

The Florida Department of Health reported more than 10,000 new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing the state’s total value to more than 220,000.
The significant uptake of cases in recent weeks has prompted petitions from employees asking to delay the reopening and the union’s union representative representing Disney World service workers to warn that Disney “must do the right thing” about reopening.

“For me, the risk is not just a potential outbreak in the parks, but it’s the rapid evolution of the virus,” Miller said. “Even though Disney has done everything to combat the spread of the virus, as it seems to have, how do you plan for something that seems to change every day?”

Bob Chapek, Disney’s CEO, told CNN Business in May that he thinks it is safe to return to the park.
Disney World workers are asking to delay the reopening as Florida coronavirus cases grow

“I think what we can say is that we have done everything we can to open up responsibly,” Chapek said. “Taking guidance from local health officials, state health officials, national health officials, plus our own well-trained physician staff to create an environment to create new operational procedures, to create a new policy, to make new education, to new hygiene standards.”

But much has changed since May.

When reached for comment, a Disney spokesman pointed out a blog post by Dr. Pamela Hymel, Medical Director of Disney Parks. In the post, Hymel wrote that Disney remains “deeply committed” to focusing on the well-being of guests and employees.

“From increased cleaning and disinfection in our parks and resorts, to updated health and safety policies, we have incorporated the Disney experience so that we can all enjoy the magic in a responsible way,” Hymel wrote. “We implemented our health and safety measures after considering the guidance of the government and local health authorities.”

“This is the future of the travel industry at this time”

Disney World is not the only theme park open in Florida. Other popular theme parks such as Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando have already had guests. And Disney has opened some of its other theme parks abroad including Shanghai Disneyland, which returned on May 11. Disneyland, Disney’s California resort, was slated to open again this month, but was postponed.
But Disney World is different. It is not only the most popular theme park in America; It is the most popular theme park in the world, which can set the tone for the entire tourism industry, according to Robert Niles, editor of ThemeParkInsider.com.

“This is the future of the travel industry at this point,” Niles said. “There are only wrecks in the entire industry at this stage … So somebody has to figure out a way to do this work if this industry is going to survive and Disney has more resources than anyone else. This is an obvious leadership opportunity for Disney. “

But what is the future of Disney and its parks? Niles is not sure.

“My best guess at this point is that this is a slow leap forward for Disney,” he said. “Even if they do the best job of keeping things safe, people still have to get there, they still have to go on airplanes and the parks still need international boundaries to open. So Disney is priced out of many other things beyond its control. . “

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