Analyst Claims Disney Parks Might Take Two Years to Return to Previous Attendance Levels Following Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic

Jessica Figueroa

Updated on:

Analyst Claims Disney Parks Might Take Two Years to Return to Previous Attendance Levels Following Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic

Jessica Figueroa

Updated on:

Analyst Claims Disney Parks Might Take Two Years to Return to Previous Attendance Levels Following Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic

While the Disney Parks were pretty much packed right up until their inevitable closure in the lead-up to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, with new social distancing guidelines in place and even the prospect of potential temperature checks to enter the parks, it seems guests will have a whole new set of factors to worry about when planning for their next Disney vacation. In fact, some analysts are claiming that Disney Parks may take up to two years to normalize in terms of park attendance after the COVID-19 crisis subsides.

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Magic Kingdom on March 15, the night before the parks closure.

In a piece by The Hollywood Reporter, Wells Fargo analyst Steven Cahall claims that Disney Parks will take two years to return to normal attendance in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cahall told investors, “We don’t think Parks can get back to anything close to full capacity until testing and/or vaccines are far more ubiquitous.” Cahall expects “zero park attendance” for the latter half of fiscal 2020 and only 50% capacity in fiscal 2021. For reference, Disney’s current fiscal year should end around September/October. As it stands, Wells Fargo is projecting that the current closures will last until at least then.

In a recent interview with Barron’s, former CEO Bob Iger mentioned that the company is already in talks to ensure that guests feel as safe and comfortable as possible once the parks re-open. Iger noted, “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.”

Currently, Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort are closed “until further notice.” The few essential Cast Members still working security, animal care, and maintenance at Walt Disney World are now allowed to wear face masks to slow the spread of COVID-19.

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16 thoughts on “Analyst Claims Disney Parks Might Take Two Years to Return to Previous Attendance Levels Following Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic”

  1. Just because you have a temperature, doesn’t mean you have the virus. People with no symptoms got it. Your temperature could be high because it’s Florida. Is Disney going to ask who has AIDS?

    • What does whether or not a person has AIDS have to do with anything related to this post? AIDS is totally irrelevant in this context and AIDS is also not readily transmissible between people who are not in intimate contact (and I do mean INTIMATE… I’m trying to avoid using words that would get this post automatically flagged) with each other. No exchange of bodily fluids is necessary to transmit the novel coronavirus, unlike AIDS. Let’s stick to the discussion at hand.

    • It’s security theater. In the hopes that people who are sick will know to stay away if they face the prospect of a fever screening.

  2. My question is, is this implying that they will only allow up to 50% capacity in parks or is it that people won’t want to go to Disney World for a while resulting in the 50% capacity number?

    • They are assuming people won’t want to go out of fear of getting sick, in the same way that the 9/11 terrorist attacks hurt the travel/vacation industry

    • Not sure as to the author’s reasoning, but those without jobs probably can’t afford a trip to the parks and the main reason for potential declines.

    • If the park was only 50% capacity it would be awesome, but to sustain this I would guess the admission may increase. It is already quite high so combined with high unemployment, who knows.

  3. Disagree. People are going to flock there like nobody’s business. I say it’s back up in a year or less.

    • I am hoping they open up soon I mean it is what it is .. at least open for July and on .. and just make some changes as far as distancing and so forth.. above are they staying the fiscal year they predict will open in September October and be closed until then . These news reporters talk in circles

    • I think locals are going to flock there because it’s an easy place but exciting place to go. Those who live in other states or other countries may be more cautious, especially if the economy is bad and people can’t afford plane tickets.

    • I agree. I think the Disney Parks will be a sign to alot of people that the world is back to normal and we will see major crowds when they reopen.

  4. Between the current recession/potential depression we are in, the lack of travel, and the increase if prices, Disney will have a hard time returning to stable attendence. Disney cannot run the parks w only the 2%ers or even 10%ers going.
    Disneyland, w its more local, will probably be better off… But WDW w the tourist crowd will be bleeding red.
    As for plans re post virus testing, Disney would be playing in a litigation minefield. You have logistic of where that would occur. Does the exam occur before you pay for parking? After parking but before ticket swipe? What if a parent gets through the gate and the kid does not? Vice versa. Or a party of five….if one tests positive does the whole party get kicked out? What about pre paid reservations? What if you are hoping from one park to the other?

    You have both FL and Federal privacy concerns. You have potential HIPAA concerns. Does that mean Disney would be a medical provider? Not everyone has 98.6 temp….

  5. Rest assured Disney is planning everything over conference calls and video chats on how to open if they can they will open in phases June 1. I keep saying they will open the resorts 1st and offer limited capacity for the parks to resort guests Only for the 1st few weeks as a trial to see how things are working and keeping the social distancing. Once that is done if they open by 6/1 open with limited capacity to the pass holders a few weeks later.

    You can control who is coming into the resorts and parks by only allowing resort guests to access the parks. You know where they are coming from (out of state folks and in state folks) .

    This will be the new norm until the testing is available 24/7

    • This is what I was thinking as well. It would be possible for them to do a “soft open” over Memorial Day weekend and only allow resort guests who already had reservations and tickets to attend. That would be much smaller numbers and allow for a trial of any new security or testing measures they were intending to implement.

      As for total park attendance, this article is ridiculous in stating that WDW will not get back to current crowds for two years. I almost feel that headline is click bait. Every post commented on by Disney fans shows them biting at the bit to return to the parks. Once Disney allows it, the parks will back to cheek to cheek shortly. Just watch.

  6. I hope they NEVER return to the attendance level they have been the past couple of years. Too crowded!

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