When Disney announced earlier this month that its theme parks would be closing, the original plan was to reopen them on April 1. As the news about the COVID-19 crisis continually worsened, it became apparent that that was a very optimistic and unlikely timeline. The thought that parks that welcome tens of thousands of guests a day would be up and running by next Wednesday, while the coronavirus continues to explode throughout America, was clearly a best case scenario. And now that we know the scenario is far worse than that, the expected has officially happened: today Disney announced that all of its parks at the Disneyland and Disney World resorts would stay closed for the foreseeable future.
The company released a statement through its @DisneyParksNews Twitter account, announcing that “Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort will remain closed until further notice.”
The statement also revealed that the company will pay its “hourly parks and resorts cast members through April 18.” Based on current statements by health officials, it’s very unlikely that the parks will be reopened by then. Hopefully something happens to push that April 18 deadline back, as despite its massive losses during this crisis a company the size of Disney should be able to care and provide for its employees as needed.
Disney had a variety of new projects scheduled to open this year, from the Ratatouille ride at Epcot, to the Avengers Campus development based on its Marvel characters that’s coming to California Adventure. All construction at every park is currently on hiatus, so it’s safe to assume that even if the parks do wind up reopening soon, those projects will wind up being pushed back. For now though what’s important is keeping those parks closed to help fight the spread of COVID-19, and for Disney to support its out-of-work employees in any way needed. As sad as it is to think about Disneyland being shuttered, it’s sadder to think about the toll this could have on its already struggling hourly employees, who not only put themselves at risk of infection every day on the job, but are on the front line jobs threatened by pandemics like this.