Hong Kong Disneyland and Disneyland California closing so soon after reopening does not send a positive message to potential Disney bound travelers.
The swift closures of the parks were in response to rising Covid-19 infection rates in these specific areas. As area/ state/ national lockdowns are being imposed as a quick response to this, it does not only affect local residents but also businesses in the travel sector.
Florida, which is currently one of the main hotspots of Covid-19 in the US with a rapidly rising infection rate, is home to by far the largest park, Disney World. If this is to close operations after recently reopening, it will cause major disruption. Re-booked holiday plans will have to be cancelled, hygiene measures will have to be re-imposed and improved for when it reopens.
Alongside this, many people would be left without work again for an undetermined period, at the largest single-site employer in the US. This will impose further complications and a burden on local authorities.
Confidence for booking a Disneyland holiday will be low in the short term
With the threat that Disney Parks can close with minimal notice, travelers who would usually spend a large amount of money visiting one of the parks, may not be as willing to do so. The uncertainty of opening and overall safety of the destination will make potential travelers think again before booking a Disneyland holiday for the near future.
Disneyland California, one of the parks which has closed, attracts a large audience from domestic source markets due to its location and history of being the ‘original’ Disney Park. Hong Kong Disneyland attracts many visitors from wider Asia, or people traveling around Asia as part of their trip. Disney World in Florida however, attracts a more international crowd.
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As Disney World in Florida is the largest Disney park in the US, many families and visitors will tend to spend a long time visiting. Due to their size, many travelers spend at least 1-2 weeks enjoying the facilities, making it an expensive, once-in-a-lifetime trip for some visitors. Alongside this, rather than attracting a local domestic crowd, people fly into Orlando from all over the world just to see and experience the 25,000-acre site in Florida.
Alternative income streams can help Disney ride out the storm
US travel restrictions have the potential to hinder the future success of the largest park. At present, travel to the US is restricted from many of its source markets. The escalating situation in certain parts of the US provides uncertainty for future travel plans and this will bring about a reluctance to embark upon expensive, once-in-a-lifetime, faraway holidays.
Parks are wrestling with much uncertainty at present. However, in the future when the majority of travel restrictions are lifted, Disney will not struggle to rejuvenate. Its unique experience and the presence of the Disney brand in everyday lives will not disappear, and travelers will want to return to Disney when the time is right.
Although Disney Parks & Experiences are the Walt Disney Company’s’ main income stream, it is fortunate that it has many other income streams available, some of which have been boosted amid the coronavirus pandemic such as Disney+, an online streaming service that was initially released in the US at the end of 2019.