Disney World And Its Important Week
As of midday on Monday, July 6, Disney stock had gained over its pre-holiday close. But, if you’re watching the news, you see COVID-19 cases rising Florida. So, what’s to become of Walt Disney World’s planned re-opening this week? And how will that opening reflect in The Walt Disney Company’s bottom line?
An Important Seven Days For Disney World
The Motley Fool’s Rick Munarriz penned a post entitled, “This Could Be Disney World’s Most Important Week Ever.”
In it, he outlined the factors he sees weighting that importance:
- Pro basketball and soccer players billeting and returning to competition at ESPN Wide World of Sports; testing WDW’s bubble.
- The Phased re-opening of the theme parks following pass-holder previews.
- The viability of Walt Disney World’s safety and safeguards regarding social distancing, masks, and what have you.
The timing isn’t ideal. Florida cases have been surging in recent weeks. Hospitalizations are spiking, even though death rates — for now — remain well below the pandemic’s peak springtime levels. Disney waiting more than four weeks longer than the competition to reopen afforded it the opportunity to study the best practices of the competition. It also gave the very limited tourism market in what will be a lost summertime to gel. As a well-diversified media giant, Disney was able to wait nearly four months to get going again, knowing that it’s still making money on other fronts.
Mickey’s Still Making Money?
Yes. Disney is still bringing in dollars, as evidenced by the uptick in downloads in line with the Disney Plus debut of Hamilton.
Disney needed the win.
The company has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic: all of its U.S. theme parks are closed, all of its cruise lines are closed, all of its Disney retail stores are closed, and its cable subsidiaries ABC and ESPN are starved for live sports content…
In the meantime, Disney+ has been the sole silver lining. On May 4, Disney shared that the service has amassed 54.5 million paying subscribers in under six months since its November launch.
Time Will Tell
But the analyst correctly surmised that there will be no middle ground for how public opinion responds to the results. Disney will have either done very well or very poorly in the eyes of history.
We shall see.