Hong Kong Disneyland To Temporarily Close Again After Jump In COVID 19 Cases

BREAKING: Hong Kong Disneyland to Reclose After Increase in COVID ...

Starting on July 15th Hong Kong Disneyland will close after Hong Kong is experiencing a spike in Covid 19 cases. After three straight weeks of not recording a single case, the city now has over one hundred new cases. In response, the government has tightened restrictions of gatherings limiting them to 10 people instead of the previous 50 people.

These restrictions will be in place for seven days and then will be re-evaluated, so it is possible the park will be able to open up in the next week or two. Hong Kong and China in general has excellent contact tracing and they have been able to nip any local outbreaks quickly and I expect the same for Hong Kong.

During this time, the resort hotels will still be operating on a modified schedule and adjusting their needs based on demand.

Orange County Moving to FULL Phase 2 Allows Downtown Disney To Legally Be Able To Reopen

DOWNTOWN DISNEY® District - Park Place Inn Mini Suites

Today Orange County received approval to move forward with the full phase 2 reopening plan from Gavin Newsom. This plan includes open air shopping malls such as Downtown Disney.

Disney has made no announcement regarding the opening of the Disneyland Resort, but things are definitely heading in a positive direction. When Downtown Disney does reopen expect the same procedures that are being done in Orlando such as the temperature screenings and face masks.

Will you be heading out to Downtown Disney on opening day?

Hong Kong Doing Cast Member Testing Today Through May 21st

In more positive signs that Hong Kong Disneyland is getting to be the second park to reopen, there have been talks that Hong Kong Disney is doing cast member testing today through May 21st.

The cast member testing will include temperature checks and social distancing procedures to make sure everything runs smoothly when the park reopens. Just like Shanghai, Hong Kong has been slowly returning to normal operations with reservations at the resorts hotels happening since April and early May.

Disneyland Resort Only Accepting Reservations for Dates After July 1st

Until recently, the Disneyland Resort was accepting reservations for hotel rooms and dining packages on June 1st and afterward. That date has now been pushed back to July 1st as we are in May and rapidly approaching the initial June date.

It is widely believed that Disney and Universal are going to open in Orlando first due to looser restrictions from the state government. It was even reported that Universal Citywalk will be opening May 11th after people spotted trucks delivering supplies to some of the shops and team members getting an email that they would be returning to work next week.

Shanghai Disney is reopening May 11th with some very strict restrictions. It is believed that other Disney parks are going to follow the same protocols when they reopen later this year. Hong Kong Disneyland looks to be the next Disney park to be opening its doors fairly soon.

When do you think Disneyland will be open again?

Man Arrested After Breaking into Disneyland During Closure

Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout! - Wikipedia

A man was arrested late Sunday night after trying to break in to the Disneyland Resort. Police got a call at around 11pm of a man walking around near the Avengers Campus construction site near Guardians of the Galaxy in Disney California Adventure.

The man was an 18 year old transient resident of Anaheim named Jeremiah Smith who was seen attempting to jump over the fence backstage in California Adventure. The motive for breaking in to the resort was so that he could try and steal equipment from the construction site, according to ABC 7. Smith was then cited for trespassing and was arrested and eventually released.

Bob Iger Takes Over Takes Control of CEO Bob Chapek’s Duties During Pandemic

If you were wondering why Bob Chapek has been so silent ever since he became CEO we now have an answer as to why. The New York Times did an article covering Disney during the past few weeks from the leadership changes to COVID-19 to the future of the company when everything resumes normal operation.

Here is a snippet of the article that explains Iger taking back the reigns as CEO of Disney:

“And now, Mr. Iger has effectively returned to running the company. After a few weeks of letting Mr. Chapek take charge, Mr. Iger smoothly reasserted control, BlueJeans video call by BlueJeans video call. (Disney does not use Zoom for its meetings for security reasons.)

The new, nominal chief executive is referred to, almost kindergarten style, as “Bob C,” while Mr. Iger is still just “Bob.” And his title is “executive chairman” — emphasis on the first word.

Mr. Iger is now intensely focused on remaking a company that will emerge, he believes, deeply changed by the crisis. The sketch he has drawn for associates offers a glimpse at the post-pandemic future: It’s a Disney with fewer employees, leading the new and uncertain business of how to gather people safely for entertainment.”

In my opinion, I think Chapek was never a good decision for CEO as he definitely has more of a middle management style to him than a CEO type of vibe. For example, take a look at the past D23. Chapek seemed very uninspired when talking about the future projects and you can tell he was clearly reading from a teleprompter. By contrast, Iger was clearly excited and passionate while talking about projects such as Galaxy’s Edge. I feel that the Disney company is in much more secure shape with Iger taking back the reigns.

Iger is planning multiple strategies as how to handle this pandemic and the future of the company as described below:

Mr. Iger, meanwhile, is trying to figure out what the company will look like after the crisis. One central challenge is to establish best practices for the company and the industry on how to bring people back to the parks and rides while avoiding the virus’s spread — using measures like taking visitors’ temperatures.

Mr. Iger also sees this as a moment, he has told associates, to look across the business and permanently change how it operates. He’s told them that he anticipates ending expensive old-school television practices like advertising upfronts and producing pilots for programs that may never air. Disney is also likely to reopen with less office space. He’s also told two people that he anticipated the company having fewer employees. (Mr. Iger said in an email on Sunday evening that he had “no recollection of ever having said” that he expected a smaller work force. “Regardless, any decision about staff reductions will be made by my successor and not me,” he added.)”

As Iger said, I can see a future where initially Disney checks temperatures and reduces capacity when first opening the parks. I can also see them having a significant reduction in office space (like most companies probably will) because companies are realizing they do not need as many people in an office due to things such as telecommuting and being more efficient.

What do you think of this developing situation? Who do you want to be the CEO of Disney?

Avengers Campus Opening Delayed at Disney California Adventure

Avengers Campus Delayed: Park Opening is Now "Coming Soon" – /Film

As expected Disney has changed the Avengers Campus opening date from July 18th to “Coming Soon” on its website. With the extended park closures it was becoming quite obvious that Disney would have to do push back the opening date as everything in the land still has a considerable amount of construction left.

The Spiderman ride is farther along than the rest of the project though, so Disney may try and do a phased opening by just opening Spiderman and the gift shop and then the rest of the land at a later date. Assuming the parks open in June, I can see Spiderman opening up by July or August and the rest of the land opening up by September or October.

Are you excited for this land? Will you be visiting when it opens or will you wait until there is a vaccine for the virus to go visit the parks?

Universal Studios Hollywood & Orlando Closed Until May 31st

With both California and Florida under Stay at Home orders, Universal has decided to close their domestic parks through at least the end of May. They had originally been closed through April 19th, but were extended due to the coronavirus situation not slowing down.

Some good news is that stats show that California has started to flatten the curve and computer models moved up its peak to April 14th, which is as soon as next week. Those projection models have the state social distancing until Mid May to complete flatten the curve. That would coincide with the time frame that Knotts and Six Flags would like to open up their parks and give Universal enough room to decide to push up the opening of its Hollywood park should the situation vastly improve by that time.

Here is the official statement from Universal below:

Disney Furloughs Cast Members Starting April 19th

Disney announced today that starting April 19th they will be furloughing cast members of all types including: hourly and salaried cast members in non essential roles. They will be also talking to the unions about those roles as well.

Cast Members with medical will be able to keep it and any cast members in the Disney Aspire program will be able to continue to participate in it. This does not just go for the theme parks, but also the stores, cruise lines, call centers, warehouses and any other Disney units.

A spokesperson from the company released a statement that can be found here:

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a devastating impact on our world with untold suffering and loss, and has required all of us to make sacrifices. Over the last few weeks, mandatory decrees from government officials have shut down a majority of our businesses. Disney employees have received full pay and benefits during this time, and we’ve committed to paying them through April 18, for a total of five additional weeks of compensation. However, with no clear indication of when we can restart our businesses, we’re forced to make the difficult decision to take the next step and furlough employees whose jobs aren’t necessary at this time. The furlough process will begin on April 19, and all impacted workers will remain Disney employees through the duration of the furlough period. They will receive full healthcare benefits, plus the cost of employee and company premiums will be paid by Disney, and those enrolled in Disney Aspire will have continued access to the education program. Additionally, employees with available paid time off can elect to use some or all of it at the start of the furlough period and, once furloughed, they are eligible to receive an extra $600 per week in federal compensation through the $2 trillion economic stimulus bill, as well as state unemployment insurance.”

Disney CEO Bob Chapek also sent out a letter that can be found here:

Dear Cast Members and Imagineers:

As you know, over the past several weeks, COVID-19 has completely reshaped our daily lives as well as our business. A new chapter in the history of our company began when we closed our theme parks, hotels, stores and other operations to help lead the effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. This reality has been sobering to all of us. As difficult as this decision was, we know it was the right one to help protect our Cast Members, our Guests and our communities.

True to the core of Disney, it is heartwarming to see many of you continuing to show your compassion, creativity and support for each other over the past few weeks. The acts of kindness and joy we’ve seen our Cast sharing have been inspirational. We appreciate all you do and know that our Cast Members will always be the heart and soul of Disney. This is why some of the choices we must make are extremely difficult.”

This is an extremely difficult time for everyone and I hope everyone stays healthy and at home so we can all come together and beat this virus!

Disneyland and Walt Disney World Halt Annual Passholder Payments

Disney released some new information regarding annual passholders in their updated travel and information page. The main changes are that if you have already paid your pass in FULL then you will get an extension of your expiration date by however many days the parks are closed. If you do not want an extension you can request a partial refund on however many months you still have left to go on your pass.

If you are doing the MONTHLY PAYMENT PLAN then:

Monthly payments will be waived for the length of the closure.

Payments made between March 14th through April 4th will be refunded.

You will not get an automatic extension on your pass.

You may choose to extend their pass the length of the closure and pay the amount at a later date.

The full statement released by Disney is below:

Photo courtesy of disneyland.com