MickeyBlog News for August 10, 2020
The Walt Disney Company just experienced an unforgettable week.
The parks lost a fortune, the movie division and streaming service just declared war on Hollywood, and a Splash Mountain log got lost at sea.
Let’s catch up with the wide world of Disney in the latest edition of MickeyBlog News.
Theme Parks Lose $2 Billion
When a business can’t sell anything, it cannot earn money. I’ve just described Economics 101.
Disney found this out the hard way over the last few months, as the pandemic forced the closures of most forms of guest entertainment.
All six Disney theme parks shut down due to Coronavirus concerns.
While Shanghai Disneyland and Walt Disney World have since reopened, Disney’s theme park division still took a beating during April-June.
Disney reported quarterly losses of just under $2 billion.
You may wonder how this was even possible, as it sounds like $333 million per park. That’s not the case, though.
Disney has combined several of its businesses like Adventures by Disney, Disney Cruise Line, and Disney Vacation Club into one division.
Obviously, none of those entities did well during the quarter. It’s a rare instance where a company could do absolutely nothing to make money.
Disneyland and Disney Cruise Line Updates
Thankfully, the return of Walt Disney World will help with the next quarterly update, but half of Disney’s theme parks remain closed.
Also, Disney Cruise Line just announced that it won’t return until early November.
A competitor recently attempted to restart its operations. Almost immediately afterward, dozens of people contracted COVID-19.
So, Disney is wise to shut down operations until the start of November.
Similarly, Coronavirus updates from California remain grim. The state leads the country in reported cases.
Of course, California also claims 37.7 million residents, making it the most populous state in the union. Theoretically, it should have the largest case volume.
Still, Disneyland cannot reopen until the situation calms down. Even then, the parks will need a few weeks to prepare.
Disney just confirmed the obvious by sending cancellation emails to all guests with bookings through August 29th.
I think it’s fair to say that the Happiest Place on Earth won’t return until September at the earliest.\
I wrote a more detailed evaluation of Disneyland’s predicament the other day if you’re interested.
To a larger point, you can put two and two together here to realize that Disney’s next quarterly earnings report will only show modest improvement from the current one.
Until all of Disney’s theme park operations have returned to service, Coronavirus will impinge on its bottom line.
Mulan for $30?
Disney entered its third quarter earnings report call in a negative position. Executives had to discuss some of the worst earnings ever.
Somehow, CEO Bob Chapek and his team won the press conference by defining the future of Disney movie exhibitions.
Chapek announced that Mulan will do something that no major Disney production has ever done before.
The movie will premiere day-and-date on home video…sort of.
You must subscribe to Disney+ to purchase Mulan. However, users of Disney’s streaming service can watch the movie at home.
For $29.99, people will “own” Mulan as long as they subscribe to Disney+.
So, this purchase follows somewhere between rental and ownership, depending on attached you are to your Disney+ subscription.
Social media users quickly expressed their displeasure, while Disney fans, especially those with large families, thanked the heavens above.
A family of four could easily spend $75 or more watching Mulan in theaters. Also, they can’t pause the movie if a child starts crying or has a bathroom emergency.
For $30, people can watch Mulan as often as they want over the next few months.
From Disney’s perspective, the company won’t share its revenue with exhibitors, which explains why some of them are tearing up posters.
— Destination Ciné (@destinationcine) August 6, 2020
While Chapek swore that Mulan was a one-off attempt, everyone in Hollywood knows that Disney is attempting to revolutionize the industry.
With Disney+ claiming over 60 million subscribers, Disney no longer needs movie exhibitors the way that they need Marvel, Star Wars, and Pixar films.
If Mulan sells well on Disney+, Pixar’s Soul and Black Widow could potentially employ a similar release pattern.
Disney currently claims 38 percent of global box office market share.
So, this move could disrupt the entire Hollywood studio system that’s existed for a century now.
More importantly, you can watch Mulan on your couch, starting on September 4th!
If it weren’t for bad luck, Disney would have no luck at all this summer.
Walt Disney World, the most popular theme park destination on the planet, recently reopened.
— MagicalNewsLIVE (@MagicalNewsLIVE) July 21, 2020
Since then, Audio-Animatronics have malfunctioned, rides have experienced unexpected closures, and now a boat has sunk.
Yes, guests on Splash Mountain almost took the ride’s name too literally, as their log flume began to sink.
so we got out of our boat because it was sinking while we were stuck there and the disney world employee decided to tell us that we should’ve stayed in the boat but it went under as soon as we all stepped out… nice #DisneyWorld #splashmountain #MagicKingdom #disney not okay???? pic.twitter.com/15zMnP1wgX
— sky💫 (@skyelaringrsoll) August 3, 2020
As you can tell from the video, the vehicle completely sank. Disney Twitter was up in arms about this one, as it wasn’t a cast member’s finest hour.
The employee recited the usual safety script to remain in the boat for safety reasons.
Anyone who followed the rules in this instance would have gotten dunked underwater.
The riders smartly abandoned the boat just before it sank. Afterward, Splash Mountain closed for a while before reopening later that night.
Since then, the ride has operated without incident. So, this issue was more of a one-off.
As MickeyBlog’s Whitney Littlejohn said, “it’s just another reason why Splash needs a major rehaul.”
Thankfully, a retheming to The Princess and the Frog is just around the corner.
No Cars Allowed! (Sorry, Lightning McQueen)
The other Walt Disney World mishap wasn’t Disney’s fault. A confused driver got turned around at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.
The person knew only two things: 1) They were on the second floor. 2) They needed to be on the first floor where the parking area is.
So, this individual tried to drive down the stairs to reach the parking lot.
Someone’s having a bad day at the wilderness lodge lol pic.twitter.com/C7foWHl4UB
— Star Fox (@MrChew3131) August 6, 2020
Believe it or not, cars aren’t designed to drive down stairs. The midsize sedan got stuck on the stairwell, leading to a hilarious sight gag:
Do you have to leave? I want to know what happens to this car!
— Christy ✨ Pack Your Pixie Dust (@PackYrPixieDust) August 6, 2020
The whole thing feels like a Farmers Insurance commercial waiting to happen.
While we’re on the subject of ride issues, Disney finally offered some clarity about the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover.
The ride failed to reopen with the rest of Magic Kingdom, which naturally led to questions.
Well, Disney has updated the official listing for the PeopleMover, which now states that the attraction is temporarily unavailable and undergoing refurbishment.
Other Disney News
Okay, a lot is happening this week. For the sake of brevity, let’s jam a bunch of independent stories together.
For starters, I have great news for residents of the Tri-State area.
The governor of Florida has rescinded travel restrictions for Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York.
Given the discrepancy in new infections in Florida vs. those three states, this move was long overdue.
However, the reverse remains true. When you travel from Florida to New York, you must quarantine for 14 days.
In fact, the governor of New York recently introduced checkpoints to verify the enforcement of these preventive measures.
In park news, Disney recently confirmed that it will follow the standard practice of reducing operating hours during the Fall.
Disney World to Cut Theme Park Hours Due to Lower-Than-Expected Attendance amid COVID-19 Pandemic https://t.co/38la4t9P9P
— People (@people) August 9, 2020
People had wondered about this possibility, as the parks already offer reduced hours due to the pandemic.
Starting on September 8th, park officials will close every park one hour earlier, except for EPCOT.
At this location, the park will close two hours earlier. So, its operating hours will shorten from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. to 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
So, you will need to get your Food & Wine eating and drinking done early.
On the plus side, Disney has restarted construction on several of its projects.
Park watchers had associated Disney’s tight finances with the shutdown of construction.
However, during the earnings report, Disney got grilled for having too much cash on hand rather than the opposite.
You can stop worrying about their finances. Disney’s fine, y’all.
Finally, Disney has replaced the Disney Parks Moms Panel with planDisney.
When answering guests’ questions, this new group will have a wider variety of backgrounds, thereby presenting a wide array of viewpoints.
Okay, that’s everything for now. Have a great week, everybody!