Disney’s U.S. parks were set to re-open next Wednesday, but amid the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Disneyland and Disney World are now closed indefinitely. The Walt Disney Co. announced on Friday that the California and Florida parks will remain closed “until further notice” and hourly park employees will continued to be paid until April 18.
“While there is still much uncertainty with respect to the impacts of COVID-19, the safety and well-being of our guests and employees remains The Walt Disney Company’s top priority,” Disney said in a statement. “As a result of this unprecedented pandemic and in line with direction provided by health experts and government officials, Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort will remain closed until further notice.
The Walt Disney Company has been paying its cast members since the closure of the parks, and in light of this ongoing and increasingly complex crisis, we have made the decision to extend paying hourly parks and resorts cast members through April 18.”
Disneyland and Disney World both closed up shop over the weekend of March 14, followed by the closure of Disney’s stores, shopping districts and hotels. Disneyland Paris is also closed. Both California and Orlando are currently under stay at home order, and the earliest the Orlando would be able to open as of now is on April 9. The duration of California’s stay-at-home order is to be determined.
As a leader in multiple entertainment and tourism industries, Disney finds themselves in a position to be hit uniquely hard by the Coronavirus pandemic and the economic challenges that come with the necessary public health precautions. In addition to the park closures, Disney’s cruises have been grounded for the time being. In the realm of film and television, Disney’s productions are currently on hold, from the MCU to Disney+ content for their branded streaming service. Upcoming major releases Black Widow and Mulan were also pulled from the calendar during theater closures. Then there’s sports. Disney owns ESPN, and with live sporting events at a standstill, they’re also taking hits there. Per a report in the OC Register, Moffett Nathanson analysts recently calculated that the park closures alone could cost Disney $3.4 billion dollars.
Stay tuned for more on the Disney Parks closures as it breaks.