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Disney Theme Parks Reopen as the World Recovers

Muhammad Nasir Aziz

The day has finally arrived, as we see Disney begin the long and cumbersome process of reopening its theme parks in the post-Covid landscape. Disney CEO Bob Chapek seems happy with his prediction of low, but double-digit, capacity growth over the summer months, and must at least be pleased that this will not be another shuttered summer. The entertainment Attorney Los Angeles BLAKE & WANG P.A examines the current developments with interest.

A fully restructured company

Disney reopening its parks is certainly a very different one from the entity which was forced to close them in the mists of March 2020. We’ve seen 2 full overhauls of the Disney entity since then, as the abrupt lockdown switch-off highlighted their fledgling streaming arm as their only hope for a balance sheet that stayed out of the red in 2020. 

These developments aside, the Disney fiscal year-end is set for Sept, 30th, and this year the Parks side of the budget should at least be able to even itself out. As vaccine programs roll out, the virus wanes in its hold, and safety guidelines relax across the world, we should be able to see a reasonable recovery (and the return of much-needed employment options) before year-end. Not that the situation is all golden, as Chopek warned investors on Monday. 

An uncertain landscape

We’re still in an uncertain landscape, and the recent relaxation of some COVID restrictions has led to issues of its own. Many institutions- the Disney Parks included- are left confused as to what exactly remains in play and what doesn’t, and how to work around unclear or muddied health guidelines and remain compliant. 

There’s also the key issue that borders remain closed in many places, and international travel bans are likely to remain with us for a long time to come. Not to mention the different COVID landscapes in play across Disney’s many international presences. Disneyland Paris, for example, was given the go-ahead to reopen on June 17, but now faces down a new COVID surge. The fallout of the postponed Summer Olympics and Japan’s new state of emergency has had severe impacts on Tokyo Disneyland, too. 

All the same, we see the flagship Park open as of April 30th, and workers are flocking back, quite against the sluggish employment trend we’ve seen elsewhere. After shouldering a $6.9 billion hit to their balance sheet last year, this has to be seen as good news for the Disney group. It’s also worth noting that few infections have stemmed from park-like attractions, likely due to their outdoor natures and the fact guests are naturally kept separate on many attractions, and we’re sure they will remain a staple of the US summer. 

Additionally, we are promised that the downtime has been well-used on tech improvements and new innovations in how everything works- including virtual queues for food and the park pass system, which should entice the curious.

Overall, this is great news and BLAKE & WANG P.A wishes them all the best going forward.

Muhammad Nasir Aziz
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