The two Disney theme parks in California will reopen on April 30th, CEO Bob Chapek said on CNBC’s Squawk Alley on Wednesday.
“We saw the excitement, the need for people to return to our parks around the world,” Chapek told CNBC’s Julia Boorstin. “We’ve been with Walt Disney World for about nine months and there’s certainly no shortage of demand.”
“I think when people get vaccinated they get a bit more confident in the fact that they can travel and, you know, stay Covid-free,” he added. “Consumers trust Disney to do the right thing, and we’ve proven for sure that we can [open] responsible whether it is temperature controls, masks, social distancing, [or] improved hygiene in the parks. “
Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa will reopen in front of the parks on April 29 with limited capacity. The Vacation Club Villa at the Grand Californian will reopen May 2nd, and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel and Disneyland Hotel will reopen at a later date.
All California theme parks were closed last year due to Covid restrictions. While guidelines in other states like Florida have allowed parks to reopen with limited capacity, California rules have closed theme parks large and small.
However, new state guidelines allow amusement parks to reopen from April 1, with a capacity of 15% to 35%, depending on the spread of the virus in the community. Masks and other health precautions are required. Chapek said the two parks will initially operate at around 15% capacity.
Disneyland Resort visitors take photos in front of Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim, California on Thursday, October 22, 2020.
Jeff Gritchen | MediaNews Group | Getty Images
According to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, California reports nearly 2,900 new Covid-19 cases per day based on a weekly average, a decrease of nearly 32% from a week ago. The number of new Covid cases has decreased as more and more people have been vaccinated. With an increase in supply and access, an average of 2.4 million people in the US are being vaccinated daily
Orange County, where Disneyland and California Adventure are located, has four new cases per 100,000 people every day. At its peak in mid-January, there were 118 new cases per 100,000 people in the county each day.
The shutdown last year resulted in Disney laying off tens of thousands of workers and limiting an important source of income for the media company. The Parks, Experiences, and Consumer Staples segment accounted for 37% of the company’s total revenue of $ 69.6 billion, or approximately $ 26.2 billion, in 2019.
A year later, revenue shrank to $ 16.5 billion, or roughly 25% of the company’s total revenue of $ 65.4 billion.
Christine McCarthy, the company’s chief financial officer, said the company made “an incremental net positive contribution” to the parks opened during the pandemic from guests who visited the company despite reduced capacity. This means that the revenues exceeded the variable costs associated with the opening, she explained.
As the parks expand their capacity and reopen, there will be some level of social distancing and masking for the rest of the year.