Disney Chairman Bob Iger Hints At What’s Needed To Open Disney Parks

by SharonKurheg

While hotels, airlines, airports and so many other industries are losing money on a daily basis due to coronavirus, fans of Disney parks around the world are waiting to learn when they can go back to the places they love so much that some call the resorts “home.”

Disney Chairman Bob Iger just gave at least a hint at what will be needed before the parks can open again.

On April 17, Iger was announced as one of the business leaders who will be on a special task force that’s focused on reviving California’s economy.

Later in the day, in an interview with KABC, he spoke about the obstacles he thinks there will be in getting people, including Disney cast members, back to work.

“Clearly, making people feel safe from getting the virus is the biggest obstacle and it’s clearly complicated,” said Iger. “It’s not just about — as far as we know — social distancing. It’s about taking a number of steps, implementing a number of procedures to make sure that people feel safe.”

Hygiene (i.e. keeping surfaces clean and frequent handwashing) will be important, but Iger continued, “it’s likely that we’re going to need some mass testing, at scale, and some form of contact tracing as well so that we can identify people who have been exposed or people who have had the virus and may be of harm to others.”

The previous week, Iger had also mentioned to Barron’s the possibility of take guests’ temperatures before entry, although many Disney guests suggests that people would just take aspirin or some over-the-counter medication to temporarily lower their temperature.

To some extent, Iger’s ideas reflect the survey that Universal Orlando recently sent to a percentage of their annual passholders, to get a feel of how comfortable they would be with various scenarios in a post-COVID visit to Universal Studios. The survey focused on the possibility of:

  • The use of face masks
  • Taking temperatures before entry
  • Undergoing quick testing before entry
  • Implementing touch-free payments
  • Eliminate self-serve anything
  • Enhanced sanitation stations
  • Limit park attendance by 25%, 50% or 75%
  • Closing indoor attractions and shows
  • Suspending parades and shows that requite crowds that gather
  • Other aspects of visiting a theme park in post-COVID life (I received a survey that had a few options the link above didn’t include. The link above also had some options that were not offered to me. That’s market research for ya!)

Iger, the Walt Disney Company and Universal Studios have offered no hints of when any parks will open, either in the U.S. or any other country. It will be interesting to see what the final requirements will be for each park for local, domestic and international travelers.

*** Feature photo (cropped): Josh Hallett/flickr

#stayhealthy #stayathome #washyourhands

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

1 comment

SO_CAL_RETAIL_SLUT April 22, 2020 - 10:39 pm

Since KABC is owned by Disney – I don’t take anything the station says or reports about The Walt Disney Company and/or any of it’s Disney parks seriously.

A couple of areas that are missing are: the labor component and how the cost of these suggestions are going to impact their costs for labor and two, all of these suggested changes to work rules will need to be negotiated and agreed to with their labor unions on the property – at least in California, at the studios, television stations-KABC/KGO and at the parks and hotels.

I forecast that Disney will have a harder time ramping up any re-openings at the studios, theme parks and hotels simply because of the unions – and the unions will want to negotiate any work rule changes into their contracts.



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