Disney CEO Bob Chapek appeared on Bloomberg TV from Magic Kingdom Park earlier today with Emily Chang and David Westin to talk about the reopening of the Walt Disney World theme parks.
Emily Chang asked Chapek what makes him feel confident about the safety of the proposed plan, as well as the reaction from officials. Chapek said, “We said we would not open up again until we thought we could do so responsibly. We have learned things from Shanghai, as well as our own Disney Springs complex that we opened up just a week ago.”
Chapek continues saying that officials have been able to make some learnings of how to keep the social distancing, which is the key for Disney whether it’s in restaurants, Main Street, or even attractions. He says that all of this can be done responsibly.
When Chang said to Chapek that Universal (Orlando) was opening June 5, she asked “why a month later?” Chapek said, “for us, we feel that it’s the right time. We have different situations than Universal does because we’re bigger, and because we have a much more complex business. We have a different labor situation, and at the same time, we will be implementing a new reservation system our guests. That is going to take some time.”
Chang then referred back to Shanghai Disney Resort and the safety protocols being taken there. Chapek said, “everything is going extremely well in Shanghai, and I must compliment not only our Cast, but our guests for their cooperation during this because it takes the chemistry between both groups in order to make everything work.”
When Chapek was asked about reopening resorts in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Paris, and California, he replied, “we have no announcement that we are ready to make on those other Parks. They are all in areas with different situations in terms of the progress of the COVID-19 pandemic, but also in different situations in terms of where the government feels they are at.”
Chapek continued saying that Disney has to take their cues from each local government. He said that Disney is “just a citizen of the environments that we operate in, and we want to be good citizens. So we really do follow the lead of the local governments as our cue. We then we overlay what is good common sense from a Disney standpoint, and that determines our opening day.”
Westin then followed up with Chapek saying that “The Walt Disney Company prides itself in often flawless execution of plans, and that the company is also a planner.” Westin then said that many of the Company’s assets are based on people getting together, and asked Chapek how that has changed his perspective.
Chapek then said, “over time, the fears that people have about getting together in big groups will eventually dissipate. But it’s going to dissipate on the function of trust. And there aren’t many companies in the world that are trusted as much as The Walt Disney Company. But it’s a trust that we will not in any way violate. So Disney opens up a little bit later than others. We open up with not as many people inside our Parks, but we do that on purpose because we want to build that trust in this new environment, and ‘new normal,’ and then take it from there.”
Walt Disney World officials submitted their proposed plans to the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force earlier today. Magic Kingdom Park and Disney’s Animal Kingdom will reopen Saturday, July 11. Disney’s Hollywood Studios and EPCOT will reopen Wednesday, July 15.
Stay tuned to DAPS MAGIC for more information about the different Disney Parks and Resorts reopening. We will share the information once we have official word from Disney.