Today on a call for the JP Morgan Global Technology Conference, Disney CEO Bob Chapek shared a bit about what the future will look like for the Disney Theme Parks. Technology will be a big part of that. However, Chapek shared that Disney feels “bullish” about the future. He backed this up by referencing the earnings call where he said that the intent to visit is at 2019 levels.
The goal of Disney, Chapek said, is to get Disney Parks’ capacity back as soon as possible, practical and responsible. There are a lot of details involved in making decisions on reopening. Chapek expects low double-digit increases in attendance in the coming months as Disney navigates reopening guidelines. He doesn’t expect the “full benefits” of guidelines to be relaxed until the fourth quarter of the year. This could mean a change for social distancing and face-covering policies by the end of the year. He reiterated the importance of being safe and responsible as Disney navigates through this process. When pressed by the host on park capacity, Chapek shared that they are “hopeful” that the parks will be back at capacity by the end of the year. There are lots of details to be addressed though.
With demand building again for the Disney Parks, Chapek also shared that technology will be a part of the future. This is particularly true with mobile ordering for food, contactless check-ins for hotels, and virtual queues. All of these are likely to continue into the future beyond COVID, Chapek said. He also said this will not just help with the guest experience, but also Disney’s margins.
Chapek also indicated that the new reservation at Disneyland will be used to manage the attendance versus price balance. During the closure of the parks, Disney took the opportunity to look at pricing and ticketing, including the Annual Pass. This was “thoughtfully and thoroughly” reconsidered Chapek said. What this means in the future is yet to be seen. Repeatedly Chapek shared that things are being looked at to increase the yield. Expect Disney to continue to make adjustments to the ticketing structure as it analyzes the data currently coming in. This will be particularly true at Disneyland where the local demand is so much greater than at other Disney locations around the world. It also seems that park reservations will continue to be utilized moving forward. This confirms something that Josh D’Amaro said in August 2020 when he said the reservations were “here to stay.”
What do you think of these technologies sticking around the Disney Parks moving forward? Do you like some or all of them? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!