One of the most iconic vacation destinations in the world, the Disney family of theme parks generated more than $26 billion in sales in 2019. This accounts for 37% of the company's revenue. The loss of income since the coronavirus has totalled over a billion dollars.
As the infection rate of the pandemic slows, Disney is beginning plans to reopen their parks. Shanghai Disney, which is the largest international park, reopened May 11th to small groups of people warily social distancing from each other.
Now the plan is to reopen the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom parks on July 11th and EPCOT and Hollywood Studios on July 15th.
"The theme parks define Disney for millions of its fans around the world," Robert Niles, editor of ThemeParkInsider.com, told CNN Business . "Returning its parks to operation signals that Disney is coming back to full speed as a company again."
The grand reopening of the park is a big deal for Disney and the entire global tourism industry. It sends a message to the industry "that a safe reopening is possible," according to Niles.
"Disney is the market leader in not just the theme park business, but in tourism worldwide," Niles said. "It tells the industry that tourists likely will be back traveling again soon because no one draws tourists like Disney can."
The parks will open with new safety measures in place:
- Employees and guests will be required to wear face coverings and undergo temperature screenings before entering the parks.
- Disney will reduce capacity at the parks and the resort will temporarily suspend parades, fireworks and other events that create crowds
- The resort will also enable cashless transactions by expanding contactless payments.
- Disney will also increase the number of available hand-sanitizing stations.
The company revealed in its latest earnings report that its Parks and Experiences unit was hit particularly hard by the outbreak last quarter. The segment's operating profit dropped 58% compared with last year.It remains to be seen how the opening will go.