After 52 days of record closure (and counting), Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla., is set to re-open the Disney Springs dining, shopping and entertainment facility on May 20. The theme park, along with five others in the Disney portfolio, has been shuttered since March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Disney on May 5 disclosed it lost $500 million in domestic parks revenue during the first two weeks of the closure. The “parks, experiences and products” business segment saw operating income plummet to $639 million, down 58% from more than $1.5 billion during the previous-year period.
The phased Disney Springs re-opening is significant since it marks the company’s slow rebound from a virtual complete shutdown that has resulted in executive salary cutbacks and 100,000 employees furloughed.
Disney said the re-opening would afford small businesses time to rehire staff to restart operations, order supplies and other business-related expenses.
Disney has been able to iron out kinks with social distancing, crowd capacity at the retail level at the already re-opened Disneytown at Shanghai Disneyland. The Chinese theme park slated to the re-open on May 11 — Disney’s first in the COVID-19 era. That park has sold out its first day.
“We will apply learnings and ideas from leaders in the health and travel industries, and we’re also talking to our unions as we prepare for some cast members to return to work,” Matt Simon, VP, Disney Springs, wrote in a blog post.