Disney CEO Bob Chapek has revealed that Disneyland plans to re-open by late April, with additional plans to open the Avengers Campus later in 2021. Chapek gave this updated projection during The Walt Disney Company’s 2021 Annual Meeting of Shareholders, which was held today. Disney's theme parks have been hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, with attendance (and subsequently profits) seeing record-lows. As the US (and the world) attempts to bounce back from the pandemic in 2021, the entertainment industry has been working to scope-out a clear "restart" point that will be perfectly-timed with safety protocols like mass vaccination, as well as consumer enthusiasm.
So far, the bounce-back is looking good for Disney. Disney World is already booked to capacity for Spring Break 2021. Disney has been working diligently through the COVID-19 pandemic to adapt its parks and procedures with every bit of new knowledge gained about the disease and preventable practices. Back when the parks first re-opened last summer, Disney Parks chairman Josh D'Amaro laid out "the new normal" for how things would work:
“We are in a new normal right now, so what's happening outside of the gates of Walt Disney World is our new world,” D’Amaro told CNBC. “I think you know we were one of the first theme parks to close, and we'll be about the last to open. And we spent every minute of every day thinking about how to operate in this new normal that we're in.”
“We figured out a way to really push hard on technology, really accelerate some of the ideas that we’ve had for a long time,” D'Amaro explained to Dow Report. “So you think about things like reservation systems in the parks that we can manage capacity and therefore guest experience a little bit better. It’s working exceptionally well for us.”
“Things like mobile order, Roger. So you can walk up to a restaurant, have your meal ready for you when you arrive. Things like queue reservations systems that we’re executing in different ways,” Amaro continued. “Or even how you might pay for merchandise but without transacting with a credit card. And this technology, it doesn’t only help us during a time of a pandemic, but I think it actually leads to a better cast and guest experience. And so, these are things that are helping us now, but I think they’re here to stay.”
The new Avengers Campus will offer Marvel fans a grand interactive experience, with a character roster that includes Black Widow, Captain America, Iron Man, and Spider-Man. The Avengers Campus planned for Disney California Adventure Park promises to be "the largest assembly of these heroes anyplace, anytime, anywhere," as stated by Dan Fields, Executive Creative Director, Disney Parks Live Entertainment, during last year's Avengers Campus preview attended by ComicBook.com.