Bob Iger checks the temperature in Disney parks; Wall Street sees two years before a return to normal – Variety


As the Walt Disney Co. looks beyond the current coronavirus crisis and into a horizon where its theme parks and global resorts can reopen, Disney executive chairman Bob Iger leaves the door open to take the plunge. visitor temperature. However, Wells Fargo separately downgraded Disney’s shares on Tuesday, analysts noting that park attendance “could take 24 months to normalize.”

“One of the things we are already discussing is that to get back to a semblance of normalcy, people will have to feel comfortable being safe,” said Iger in an interview with Barron. “Part of it could be in the form of a vaccine, but in the absence of that, it could come mainly from further investigation, more restrictions. Just as we now check the baggage of everyone who visits our parks, there may be a point at some point when we add something that takes people’s temperature, for example. “

Iger discussed with the publication how the company weathered the crisis, as well as its preparations for dealing with a potentially changed media landscape after the pandemic. The proposed new health protocols are part of a possible path to follow.

Iger then pointed out how China was dealing with the pandemic, in particular their establishment of frequent checkpoints where the temperatures of individuals were recorded. He compared this practice to security measures put in place after September 11, such as providing photo ID or going through metal detectors.

“Let’s prepare for a world where our customers demand that we look at everyone,” said Iger, who became executive chairman after Bob Chapek took over as CEO earlier this year. “Even if it creates a little difficulty, as it takes a little more time for people to enter it. “

Disney parks – located in Tokyo, Shanghai, Paris, Hong Kong and the United States – are all currently closed. Stateside, Disneyland and Walt Disney World have been closed indefinitely amid strict social distancing measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. It’s only the third time in history that Disneyland, the Anaheim theme park and resort, in California has completely shut down. The other cases were the September 11 attacks and the national day of mourning after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Meanwhile, Wells Fargo analyst Steven Cahall lowered Disney’s stock to equal weight on Tuesday, doubting the company’s ability to come back strong until tests and vaccines for COVID- 19 become the norm.

“We thought that the value creation of Disney + (and later Hulu) would be enough to more than offset a declining environment for media networks,” wrote Cahall. “We still believe in it, but we did not foresee this unique and serious slowdown for Parks. We don’t think Parks can return to something close to full capacity until tests and / or vaccines are much more ubiquitous. “

Cahall expects “zero park traffic” for half of fiscal 2020 and only 50% of its capacity for fiscal 2021. Disney’s current fiscal year is scheduled to end around September, which means that the firm of Stock research predicts that the current closings will last until at least.

“We consider the limiting factor as healthcare technology, because assets like Walt Disney World will either have to operate with a social distancing in place – dramatically limiting capacity – or a vaccine will have to be sufficiently widely available for people to feel safe a rally again, “he wrote. “The tests can also improve, allowing immunized clients / antibodies to behave a little more freely.”

“While the healthcare community is working hard, we think it is too optimistic to expect a widely distributed vaccine or a large part of the population to be immunized in the next 12 months” added Cahall. “As such, our attendance forecast is a best estimate with an abrupt decline followed by a recovery of ~ 12 months. “


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