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Disney reveals $2.6bn hit for theme parks due to COVID-19

The Walt Disney Co has reported earnings for its first quarter ended January 2, 2021, revealing a $2.6bn hit for Disney Parks, Experiences and Products.

Magic Kingdom Park Reopening

The Disney Parks, Experiences and Products segment experienced the most significant impact on operating income, with Disneyland Resort closed since March 2020.

Disney’s other parks and resorts have been closed temporarily or operating at significantly reduced capacity due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

During an earnings call on Thursday (February 11), Disney CEO Bob Chapek said: “We have ample demand for our parks.”

Disneyland Paris was forced to close its doors on October 30, 2020, while Hong Kong Disneyland Resort shut again on December 2, 2020. Walt Disney World Resort and Shanghai Disney Resort were open through Q1.

Disneyland has been shut since March 2020


“Guests have consistently demonstrated a willingness and a desire to visit, which we believe is a testament to the fact that they feel confident in the health and safety protocols we’ve put in place,” added Chapek.

Disney theme park revenues for Q1 dropped by 53 percent to $3.6 billion, while segment operating results decreased $2.6 billion to a loss of $119 million.

Chapek also discussed the outlook for theme parks through 2021 (via CNBC). He said “it’s really going to be determined by the rate of vaccination of the public”.

“That seems like the biggest lever that we can manoeuvre in order to either take the parks that are currently under limited capacity and increase it or open up parks that are currently closed.”

“We have ample demand for our parks,” says Chapek

disney california adventure

Disney parks are expected to reach historic attendance metrics by 2022, with visitor numbers recovering in full by 2023, according to a report by UBS.

“Dr Fauci said earlier today that he hopes there’s vaccines for everyone who wants them by April this year,” added Chapek.

“If that happens, that is a game changer, and that could accelerate our expectations and give people the confidence that they need to come back to the parks.”

Meanwhile, California state lawmakers have proposed legislation to reopen theme parks before they are allowed to under Governor Gavin Newsom‘s Blueprint for a Safer Economy.

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Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

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