Like most in the entertainment industry, The Walt Disney Company faces substantially reduced earnings for 2020. Their big blockbuster tentpoles have been delayed, ongoing productions are on indefinite hiatus and merchandising sales are way down. The only bright spot has been an uptick in subscriber numbers for Disney+ as parents struggle to keep children entertained during lockdown.
Another hard hit area has been their theme parks. These were closed in mid-March when COVID-19 began to make an impact, resulting in spooky pictures of a deserted Magic Kingdom. There was even talk that the parks might remain shut until 2021. Fortunately, things are looking up, as two weeks ago we learned that Disney’s Orlando parks would reopen on July 11th (with Epcot and Hollywood Studios on July 15th).
Now, we also know when the California parks are planning to reopen their gates. This will be a staggered process, beginning on July 9th with the Downtown Disney District, Disneyland Park and Disney’s California Adventure Park a week later on July 17th and The Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and the Paradise Pier Hotel on July 23rd.
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Guests rushing back to the park may find it a different experience than they’re used to though, with changes made focusing on health, safety and reducing the risk of viral transmission as much as possible. This means they’re holding off on events that bring large crowds like parades and nighttime spectaculars, and character meet-and-greets are suspended until further notice. Disney want to stress that you’ll still see iconic characters in their parks, though interaction with them may be limited due to social distancing rules.
They conclude with a message saying that after all that’s happened in 2020, a visit to Disneyland will provide some much-needed escapism.
“Disneyland holds a special place in the hearts of people around the world. It was created as a place where family members of all ages could have fun together – a place to “leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy.” Sixty-five years later it still is.
It’s time for magic – and we look forward to welcoming you back.”
But with many people understandably anxious about being in large crowds and the economic downturn COVID-19 will cause, it may be years before Disney returns to where they were in 2019.
Source: Disney Parks Blog