In an interview with CNBC, Disney CEO Bob Chapek provided insight into what reopening United States parks could look like as well as the future of the recently reopened Shanghai Disneyland.
Shanghai Disneyland reopened on May 11 with tickets selling out in minutes. “This is really indicative I think of the love that consumers have for our brand throughout the world.” Said Chapek.
Masks were required for both castmembers and guests and limitations were put on the amount of guests allowed into the park. In addition, strict disinfecting routines were implemented.
The Chinese government has mandated that Disney operate Shanghai Disneyland at 30% capacity, right around 24,000 visitors. Chapek said the company is currently operating well below that capacity. In the interview, Chapek said that the company has plans to increase capacity by 5,000 guests each week until the limit put in place by the government is reached.
“I look at this as a stair step. We’re going to be very conservative, we’re going to be very prudent, we’re going to be very disciplined about how we open up,” Chapek told CNBC’s Julia Boorstin in reference to the plan for Disney to operate in a responsible manner. “And then we’re going to ramp up and increase…slow and steady for us”
Currently, Walt Disney World is only accepting reservations at its resorts on or after July 1, 2020. Disney has not made any official announcement regarding the reopening of its domestic parks and resorts and the July 1 reservations does not mean that the parks will reopen on that day. “We’re not going to comment on any specific date.” Chapek stated when asked about reopening Walt Disney World on July 1.
Disney capacities and reopening will depend not only on Disney and government guidelines but also on guests behaving appropriately. “A lot of it has to do with guest behanvior as much as it’s got to do with Disney operations.”
Chapek went on to say that one of the biggest challenges Disney will likely face in the United States will be the requirement of masks for both guests and castmembers. “Along with social distancing one of the things that we are most likely going to require is masks for both the cast and the guests and I think that will be something that culturally is different (in the United States).”
Disney will be operating under a new set or regulations and requirements that both guests and castmembers will have to adhere to in order to experience the magic at least for the foreseeable future once parks and resorts are allowed to reopen.
It is highly likely that almost every precaution being taken at Shanghai Disneyland will translate to what Disney will require from guests and castmembers in order to reopen domestically. It is also likely that the reopening will be slower in the United States due to the pushback from people who are reluctant or refusing to follow the restrictions that are already required in areas and will continue to be required as more areas reopen.
Disney has announced that Disney will begin a phased reopening of Disney Springs on May 20 with only a few third part establishments opening and masks required for both guests and castmembers as well as restrictions on the number of guests allowed.
Stay tuned right here to For Love of the Mouse as more information is released.
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