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Ahead of What Was Once a Busy Summer Season, Disney Says It’s Too Early To Tell When Parks Will Reopen

Photo: Skylar Sahakian

The parks have been closed since March 12 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

CEO Bob Chapek said they don’t have an opening date in mind for Disney World and Disneyland.

But Chapek said the company is  working through a number of scenarios for when they do welcome families back to the parks.

He says these include limiting guest capacity and other precautions aimed at reducing the spread of coronavirus. 

“The approach we take may include implementation of guest capacity and density control measures as well as health and prevention procedures that comply with state and federal guidelines,” Chapek said.

Chapek said staffing could also be reduced if there are fewer guests at the parks.

He said since mid-April, 100,000 park employees have been furloughed without pay but are still receiving health benefits.

“So whatever level we stake that at whether it’s ten percent, twenty-five percent or fifty percent of typical crowds that’s what we’ll be able to have at our park. Therefore, we’ll staff accordingly to that type of level whatever that level will be,” Chapek said.

Chapek said the company plans on reopening Shanghai Disney on May 11 as the curve has flattened in mainland China.

He said visitors and staff will still have to wear face masks and undergo health screenings and temperature checks and only 24,000 people will be allowed in the parks at any given time.

The company lost half a billion dollars during the first two weeks Disney World and Disneyland were closed because of the pandemic.

The surprise success of Disney+ streaming services and the ESPN documentary The Last Dance helped regain part of these losses.

If you’d like to listen to the story, click on the clips above.

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Danielle Prieur

About Danielle Prieur

Reporter & Fill-in Host

Danielle Prieur is a general assignment reporter at WMFE. You can hear her reporting on a daily basis on the station. She also fills-in as a host during the morning and afternoon drive times. Her reporting has been featured on NPR, Marketplace, Here & Now, and Vox. Danielle is originally from Rochester Hills, ... Read Full Bio »