Financial analyst: Disney properties won’t reopen until 2021
A report by a top financial analyst published Monday predicts that Disney parks won’t be able to open until January due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We believe Parks’ profitability will be impaired for a longer period of time given the lingering effects of the outbreak and now assume an opening date of Jan. 1 as our base case,” John Hodulik, managing director of investment research at UBS, wrote in his report, according to USA Today.
“That said, the economic recession plus the need for social distancing, new health precautions, the lack of travel and crowd aversion are likely to make this business less profitable until there is a widely-available vaccine,” he added.
Disney, which is expected to release its quarterly report in May, said in March that Walt Disney World in Orlando and Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., would be closed until further notice.
Hodulik noted that while “officials at the federal and state level are working on ‘opening’ the economy,” large venues such as stadiums and amusement parks are “low on the list.”
JPMorgan analyst Alexia Quadrani has presented a rosier outlook for Disney, saying that the entertainment giant’s parks could open as soon as June.
“We’re assuming the parks will open on June 1,” Quadrani told Barrons. Quadrani noted that Disney World hotels are accepting reservations for June 1.
That said, Quadrani predicted that initial attendance in the parks would lag, largely due to the travel bans that have been implemented during the pandemic.
“First off, you have to take the international attendees,” she said. “I think you have to assume those are not going to be the first ones who come back to Disney World. And I think there will be consumers who are financially strapped, given the economic situation we’ll be in.”
Last week, President Trump, who has been adamant about reopening the country’s economy, outlined a three-phase plan for doing so.
In Florida, where Walt Disney World is located, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has created a “Re-Open Florida” task force that includes executives from both Disney and Universal.
Meanwhile in California, home of Disneyland, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) last week outlined six guidelines that the state must reach before reopening can happen.
The Hill has reached out to Disney for comment.