Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland

Disney domestic theme parks have been closed for more than two weeks, the longest stretch they have ever seen, by far. While the initial plan was only to close Disneyland and Walt Disney World until the end of March, this past Friday the closure was extended indefinitely, and now we have no idea when we'll be able to visit the happiest place on earth again. The only thing we do know, is that The Walt Disney Company is taking a massive financial hit because of this, and one research firm projects the financial damage is going to be in the multiple billions of dollars when it's all said and done.

An early projection stated that the closure of Disney's domestic parks was costing the company between $20 and $30 million a day, but now the calculation states that things are going to be significantly worse for the house of mouse. According to the research firm MoffetNathanson (via the OC Register), the closure of Disney's six resorts around the world will cost the company somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.4 billion if they're all closed for one month. The parks in Hong Kong and Shanghai have already been closed since the end of January.

However, it gets much worse, because the massive global shutdown has been an equally massive hit to the global economy and a recession is expected to hit in the aftermath of the pandemic. This means that even once things get back to "normal," a lot of people who might have visited the parks before the pandemic, might not have the financial resources to do so afterward. The damage done to the theme parks by the recession, combined with the closure, could total $3.4 billion.

These financial estimates came prior to the official word that Disneyland and Walt Disney World would be closed into April, but the feeling from the research firm was that a month long closure was expected. If the estimate ends up being accurate, then we could see the parks opening by the end of next week. This would be good news on a number of fronts. Not the least of which, is the fact that Disney has committed to paying its cast members through April 18. The hard date implies that if the closure extends beyond that date, cast members may cease getting paid.

Disneyland and Walt Disney World aren't taking new reservations at the resorts until June 1, which means the parks are preparing for a scenario where they are closed much longer. Obviously, if that's the case, it would mean the financial damage will be even greater than what's being suggested here.

In addition to the theme parks you can't visit, Disney makes movies you can't see, and sells merchandise you can't buy. The company is certainly hurting, which recently led Disney's major executives, including new CEO Bob Chapek and Executive Chairman Bob Iger, to reduce their salaries in order to try and stem the bleeding.

Disney was a powerhouse company when all this began, and it seems likely they will be again, but how long it will take to get there is anybody's guess.

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