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.
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.