ANAHEIM, CA — With coronavirus on the rise across the southland, large scale theme parks continue to scale back hopes of reopening any time soon. A recent report from Disneyland Chief Financial Officer Christine McCarthy disclosed Disneyland Resort and Disney California Adventure will remain closed until the end of this fiscal year due to challenging state guidelines.
Shut down since mid-March, Disneyland Resort has made efforts to connect with its public. The Downtown Disney shopping district reopened to visitors over the summer. The resort announced an expansion into Buena Vista Street inside Disney California Adventure in mid-November. This will allow more space and room for fans to shop, dine outside, and enjoy a hint of the Disney spirit they know and love. Still, no rides, limited venues, and guests will find Disney California Adventure much changed for the time being.
“We currently anticipate Disneyland Resort will remain closed at least through the end of the fiscal quarter,” McCarthy said.
State guidelines dictate that large-scale theme parks, such as Disneyland Resort, Universal Studios, and others, will need to shutter until the county reaches the Yellow Tier —minimal coronavirus cases —in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s blueprint for a safer economy. Currently, Anaheim is teetering on the edge of the red tier and leaning to the more strict purple tier due to the substantial number of coronavirus cases. With luck, the county will turn around the coronavirus numbers, returning to the Orange (moderate) Tier, and then reaching the desired Yellow (minimal) Tier by late December.
McCarthy says that Disneyland Resort and Disney California Adventure are unlikely to “return to full operation” until early 2021 or even the summer of 2021.
The words “full operation” underscore an expansion of the Downtown Disney District into Buena Vista Street, which begins on Nov. 19. At that time, guests of Downtown Disney will be able to flow into the Disney California Adventure shopping district to enjoy food, shopping, and a glimpse at the Disney spirit they know and love. The Disneyland Resort has not shared if they’ll make a similar move toward reopening Main Street inside the Disneyland Resort as of this report.
This winter, the Disney Vacation Club Villas at Grand Californian Hotel & Spa will reopen to current Disney Vacation Club members starting Dec. 6.
The first quarter that McCarthy hinted toward ends before New Year’s Day.
Disneyland officials say that returning the parks to an “open” status will take weeks, as “it is a bit like restarting a small city,” a spokesperson told Patch earlier this year.
“Our parks and experiences business continues to be impacted by COVID-19,” she said during the theme park conference call. “We do not have visibility into how long it will last.”
Though Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products division saw a $9.7 billion loss in revenue during the 2020 fiscal year, quarterly reports show, the Walt Disney Co. has seen profits grow in the area of Disney+ and online entertainment.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek noted that Thursday marked the one-year anniversary of Disney+, and announced that the streaming service now has more than 73 million paid subscribers, “far surpassing our expectations in just its first year.”
Disney reported fourth-quarter revenues of $14.7 billion, besting analyst anticipations. Diluted earnings per share showed a 20-cent loss compared to the same quarter a year ago — also better than analysts expected.
Disney’s Parks, Experiences and Products segment reported nearly $2.6 billion in revenue for the fourth quarter, a 61% drop from the same quarter last year. The Direct-To-Consumer segment, however, reported $4.8 billion in revenue in the quarter, a 41% year-over-year increase.
The company announced Thursday it would forgo it semi-annual cash dividend for the second half of the 2020 fiscal year, “in light of the ongoing impact of COVID-19 and the company’s decision to prioritize investment in its direct-to-consumer initiatives.”
According to Chapek, the guideline established by Gov. Newsom’s office is “arbitrary,” and he is “extremely disappointed that the state of California continues to keep Disneyland closed.” The company’s cruise line has also been left in dry-dock due to the pandemic, which also put its film and television productions on hold. The Walt Disney Co. has laid off over 28,000 employees across the United States due to closures.
After eight months of closure, businesses that border the theme parks and have staked their livelihoods on the success of the “happiest place on earth” struggle to remain open in the face of the ongoing pandemic.
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This article originally appeared on the Mission Viejo Patch