Rumor: Disney Does Have a Contingency Plan to Close Walt Disney World Again


There is a new rumor going around, which isn’t really a surprise, that Disney has a contingency plan in place that does see Walt Disney World shut-down again. This just makes sense because it’s always a possibility that the governor could require another shut-down. Of course it would likely be a last resort, worst-case-scenario type move.  Always good to be prepared though.

This rumor is actually coming from more than one source.

One source is WDWPro from WDWMagic, who is usually more right then they are wrong:

I am likely to be announcing the biggest news/rumors I will ever make in this thread (at least, I hope so). As a preface to this information, please remember that this information should be treated as RUMOR. I cannot verify that any of the following information is true in part or in whole. You should not make any business decisions based on the information provided herein. While this information has some details of a political nature, its required to even post what is going on… please do not discuss the political aspects of this news in this thread.

The last 24 hours has been eventful for Disney. While COVID cases in Florida are problematic to follow, Disney has been using the death rate to best gauge public safety. Within the past 24 hours, those numbers have reached levels that put staying open for the Walt Disney World Resort in meaningful jeopardy. Closing WDW is immensely painful for the company, and Josh D’Amaro’s main job at this point is to keep the resort running… but there could be a situation in which the resort simply can’t remain active to guests. At this point, it appears increasing deaths in Florida are due to – and increasing due to – nursing home infiltration. Should that change, Disney could conceivably close the resort OR resort back to the Secure Circuit plan that would involve closing everything except Magic Kingdom and the MK resorts. A push in that direction comes from the concern that even with their most restrictive capacity ceilings in place, some parks simply can’t generate enough demand to warrant staying open (except for the purpose of demonstrating that they can be open for stockholders).

What we learn from this post:

Disney is allegedly going by the death rate, which in itself could be iffy. Besides the reports that testing numbers and percentages aren’t accurate, death rates are also being questioned across the country as COVID-19 is being listed as a cause of death, even if an individual died from something else.  Smartly, they are taking into consideration that a lot of deaths are unfortunate results of nursing home contaminations. It sounds like they are watching to make sure that doesn’t shift.

If it would happen they could downgrade to the “Secure Circuit” plan where they shut down all parks and resorts except for the Magic Kingdom park and area resorts. The plan would allow for gradually adding more parks and resorts as the numbers allow. That was rumored to be the initial plan that likely changed when Universal Orlando announced they were opening both their parks and Volcano Bay.

It also makes sense, because as WDWPro mentioned, Disney has to weigh the cost of being open and the overhead that creates against what they parks are generating financially. If they have to shut down or cut back, it might not be financially feasible.

WDWPro isn’t the only one saying this:

Now a Cowen analyst, Doug Keutz has mentioned that there is “a meaningful probability” that Walt Disney World could close again over the COVID-19 pandemic.  If they don’t close the reduced capacity issues could last into Mid-2021. He also downgraded Walt Disney shares with reduced earnings estimates and they cut the target price as well.

According to Deadline:

Walt Disney World reopened at limited capacity last weekend amid the surge. Kreutz said he thinks there’s “a meaningful probability” that the park could be forced to close again or at best continue to operate with severe capacity restraints until at least mid-2021. Disneyland in Anaheim remains closed.

Of course Keutz did also note that: “The situation remains very fluid and we do not rule out the possibility that the impact could last even longer.

Adding to Disney’s potential issues, Keutz also thinks that the movie theater situation might continue in the United States until Mid-2021 as well. This could hinder Disney’s major releases, as well as other Hollywood films. Disney may have to push back releases again.

One has to wonder, if this comes to pass, at what point Hollywood will start releasing more films on a “pay-per-view” basis to recoup costs. We’ve already seen Disney take some of their theatrical releases and move them to the streaming service instead. Most notably “Hamilton” and “Artemis Fowl.” But the movie theater industry is counting on all the studios holding out for them.

Disney’s third quarter earnings report will be coming out on August 4th and investors are waiting to see what they have to say about where the company is at and what measures and contingencies they have planned. I’m sure there’s a lot of pressure on the Disney executives and Bob Chapek at this point.

Of course it’s all rumor, but now multiple sources are speculating about the possibility of closure coming to Walt Disney World. It’s just something to keep in mind. I say keep moving forward with any plans you have and not worry about it to much. Likely the parks will stay open unless they are required to shut-down.

What do you think? Comment and let us know!

Sources: Deadline, WDWPro on WDWMagic


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