Days after a Disney investor's call where it was revealed the company lost $3.5 billion largely in part to park shutdowns during coronavirus quarantining, the company has decided to roll back hours at Walt Disney World. Beginning in September, three of Disney World's four amusement parks — Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studio, and Animal Kingdom — will close an hour early. The fourth park, EPCOT, will close two hours early.
The new hours are set to start on September 8th and last through October. The park was closed from late March through the middle of July, when it reopened to reduced capacities and new procedures, including the mandatory wearing of masks. After some guests took advantage of the relaxed mask-wearing guidelines at first, the park promptly closed any loopholes as it decided to outline mask requirements in a blog post from Disney Parks head Josh D'Amaro.
“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 said. “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.”
“I’m exceptionally proud of this group in terms of what they've put together from a protocol perspective and being able to open in a phased and really responsible way,” he added. “I had a chance to walk Main Street just a few minutes ago. It feels really good in the park. So yeah, the world is a different place, but we feel really prepared to operate in this new environment that we're in.”
With the abysmal performances from Disney's parks over the course of the company's third quarter, Disney chief Bob Chapek praised the performance of Disney+, the House of Mouse's latest direct to consumers offering.
“Despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, we’ve continued to build on the incredible success of Disney+ as we grow our global direct-to-consumer businesses,” Chapek said in a press release. “The global reach of our full portfolio of direct-to-consumer services now exceeds an astounding 100 million paid subscriptions — a significant milestone and a reaffirmation of our DTC strategy, which we view as key to the future growth of our company.”
When do you plan on returning to amusement parks? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section!