Disneyland, Walt Disney World Will Close As Theme Parks Brace For Coronavirus Fallout

Disneyland and Walt Disney World will close for the rest of March starting Friday and Sunday, respectively, as theme parks across the country weigh the financial and health risks of operating during the coronavirus outbreak.

Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure will close starting tomorrow morning, the company announced Thursday afternoon, while the resort’s hotels will remain open until March 16 so guests can arrange travel.

The company says that no cases of COVID-19 have been reported at the resort, but made the decision in response to California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s advisory, issued earlier in the day, against gatherings of more than 250 people.

Later Thursday, Disney announced that the parks at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris will shut down as of close-of-business on Sunday. The resorts’ hotels, dining and retail complexes will remain open.

Starting Saturday, Disney Cruises will be suspended through the end of the month, as well.

Orange County, California, where Disneyland is located, has reported six cases of coronavirus (4 confirmed, 2 presumptive). Orange County, Florida, where Disney World is, has not yet reported any cases.

Comcast’s Universal Studios Hollywood will also close starting Saturday through March 28, the company announced.

Even without closures, theme parks are already banking on lower foot traffic this year. According to B. Riley analyst Eric Wold, who covers regional park companies like Sea World and Six Flags, park operators are anticipating as much as a 50% decline in attendance.

Big number: $13 million per day. That is how much Disney could lose from the closures of its parks and resorts in the U.S., which account for 30% of the company’s operating income, according to UBS. Although that would be a big loss for the company, the long-term attendance loss would be much worse if an outbreak was linked to the parks. “They have more to lose from a real crisis,” said Dennis Spiegel, Founder and CEO of International Theme Park Services. “We’ve never dealt with anything of this magnitude, where it relates to health.”


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