Disney theme parks may not open until 2021 due to coronavirus – The Sun

DISNEY theme parks may not be able to open until 2021 due to the measures of social distancing making them "unprofitable".

UBS analyst John Hodulik explained that the parks may not be able to resume normal services until a vaccine is made widely available, with travel restrictions also playing a part.

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The theme parks have been closed since mid-March due to the pandemic, with Disney World, Disneyland California and Disneyland Paris all affected.

While bookings for Disney World are available on the website from June 1, experts warn holidays are not to be expected until next year.

Mr Hodulik explained in his report 'The Eye of the Storm': "[T]he economic recession plus the need for social distancing, new health precautions, the lack of travel and crowd aversion are likely to make this business less profitable until there is a widely available vaccine."

He added that the parks may be able to "regain their recent operating cadence in ~18 months, coinciding with the earliest expectations for a widely available vaccine for COVID-19".

Scientists say the discovery of a vaccine is the only genuine "exit strategy" from the virus, meaning the country will have to adjust to a 'new normal'.

According to the Daily Mail, scientists expect a vaccine will take 18 months and some of the restrictions will remain in place until a cure is developed.

Some experts believe the parks will be able to open by June 1, although attendance is likely to be low.

J.P. Morgan analyst Alexia Quadrani told financial news site Barrons: "I think you have to assume [international visitors] are not going to be the first ones who come back to Disney World."

While they make up just 20 per cent of guests, she added other guests are likely to be "financially strapped" further reducing attendance rates.

A holiday to the Magic Kingdom is set to be a very different experience, however, when the parks open once more.

Temperature checks are common at airports around the world amid the crisis, and something Disney haven't ruled out for the park gates.


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Disney boss Bob Iger said in an interview to Barrons: "In order to return to some semblance of normal, people will have to feel comfortable that they’re safe.

"Some of that could come in the form, ultimately, of a vaccine, but in the absence of that it could come from basically, more scrutiny, more restrictions.

"Just as we now do bag checks for everybody that goes into our parks, it could be that at some point we add a component of that that takes people’s temperatures, as a for-instance."

This could be difficult to implement at the gates due to the sheer volume of guests, but could be a short-term option when they first open.

Another change could be virtual queues – something that is already in place in certain parts of the park such as the new Rise of the Resistance ride at Star Wars: Galaxy Edge.

According to The Orange County Register, a new "Virtual Queues" section has been added to the Disneyland app since the park's closure.

Disney has stopped paying 100,000 workers in order to save $500m a month, affecting more than half the Walt Disney Corporation's workforce.

Many of the unpaid parks and hotel staff join the estimated 22 million Americans thrown out of work in four weeks – the worst stretch of US job losses on record.

Sun Online Travel contacted Disney for comment.

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