There Is a Light at the End of the Tunnel for Disney Fans!
I realize that everyone’s in a bad mood right now. Americans love freedom, and we hate being told what to do. So, the Great Shut-In of 2020 has made us all grouchy. However, I think the situation’s looking up. Is there a light at the end of the tunnel for Disney fans? I say yes and will now explain why.
Look, the current news is grim. All Disney theme parks around the world are closed right now, a first in the company’s history. In addition, almost all other types of Disney park-related businesses aren’t open due to Coronavirus.
Downtown Disney and Disney Springs shut down on March 17th, and Disney Stores around the country joined them. The following day, Disney transportation stopped running.
Next, Walt Disney World hotels closed on March 20th, along with the company’s resorts at Hilton Head and Vero Beach. Even the gorgeous Aulani property will finally stop hosting guests on March 24th. Almost all things Disney are currently unavailable to most consumers.
That’s only part of the situation, too. Disney’s losing the optics battle as well. Three Transportation Security Administration agents at Orlando International Airport have tested positive for COVID-19. Several others have had to self-quarantine while awaiting test results.
Social media users drubbed Disney over pictures of large crowds at Disneyland and Magic Kingdom. After the company announced that the parks would close, fans rushed to spend the final few historic moments at the Happiest Place on Earth.
Disney fans relished the euphoria of the moment. Meanwhile, outsiders only noticed a bunch of people violating the basic tenet of social distancing. They worried that Disney park guests on that day would infect others.
Then, those fears received an unlikely confirmation. A 34-year-old man who had recently visited Walt Disney World died of Coronavirus. It was a headline that Disney haters could throw at the company while angrily accusing park officials of reckless decisions.
Disney has struggled so much with the impact of COVID-19 that the company had to take out a hefty loan. The company raised $6 billion through banknote sales so that it could deal with the current situation more effectively.
We’re all wondering what will happen next. And some of the news sounds grim. A few third-party Disney Springs hotels have announced that they will stay closed through the end of April.
Disney fans were hoping that this closure would last only a couple of weeks. After all, the company’s merely stated that its parks will stay out of business through March 31st. April 30th would indicate a much more significant period of inactivity.
Will Disneyland and Walt Disney World return before then? Nobody knows for sure, not even Bob Iger and Bob Chapek. However, we are starting to receive some good news from other locations.
The purpose of everything that Americans are doing right now involves flattening the curve. It’s a term that indicates a reduction in the spread of COVID-19 infection. Believe it or not, there’s some cause for optimism here.
Great News from the Far East
China is where the earliest outbreaks occurred. Some pandemic officials question where the disease started. Still, everyone knows that the Wuhan part of the Hubei province bore the initial brunt.
More than 81,000 Chinese citizens have tested positive for Coronavirus. Do you know how many new cases were reported on March 21st? 46. That’s a growth of 0.05%. That’s the flattest growth chart imaginable. Barring something unforeseen, Chinese officials have gotten control over COVID-19.
Not coincidentally, Shanghai Disneyland has started a phased re-opening in recent days. The park still isn’t open, but several accompanying businesses are in operation again.
Now, I should mention that Shanghai didn’t suffer the same impact as other Chinese cities. It only has had 394 confirmed cases and four deaths far, numbers that are lower than in New York City. And that’s precisely why Governor Andrew Cuomo had to act so forcefully.
Shanghai reacted to the disease more quickly than the Americans had. So, Cuomo has placed his entire state “on pause” until the curve flattened. In Shanghai, the curve never expanded.
The same isn’t true in Florida. The state reported 171 cases on March 22nd and has experienced 830 since March 1st. Its growth rate isn’t ideal, but the situation could have been worse. As long as Florida remains under 20 percent daily, the infection shouldn’t escalate dramatically.
In California, the situation is even better at the moment — remember that everything that I say here is fluid – with 152 cases reported on March 21st. That brings the statewide total to 1,543, with a growth rate under 10 percent.
A Reminder about Math
What’s different about New York City and Florida? It’s the infection rate I keep mentioning. New York City also had its first reported case on March 1st. While Florida remains under 1,000 cases at the time of publication, the Empire State has passed 15,000. The Sunshine State’s growth rate qualifies as a relatively flat curve. With New York City, the situation more closely mirrors Wuhan and Northern Italy.
Presuming that California and Florida have accurate tests being administered as needed, both states are unlikely to feel the full force of Coronavirus. Yes, some people are suffering and dying, which truly breaks my heart, but they’re primarily in the safe zone at the moment.
As long as that trend continues, Disneyland and Walt Disney World are likely to return relatively soon. The fly in the ointment is that travelers from New York City, the state of Washington, and other infection hot zones love Disney, too. So, the Coronavirus growth rate really must be under control everywhere in the United States, not just where the parks are.
Even so, the news from China suggests that we should keep hope alive. We have more information about the disease today than the people of Wuhan did a few months ago. As long as everyone practices the safety tips that CDC officials suggest, I think that the Great Shut-In should end at some point in April.
Disney theme parks may safely re-open as soon as the CDC gives the all-clear on this front. So, keep washing your hands and keeping your distance, my friends! You’re not just doing it for yourself. You’re doing it for Mickey and Minnie Mouse, too!