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Disney World could close again due to COVID-19, reopen in mid-2021, expert says

Disney World could close again. But something else could happen

In this March 16, 2020, file photo, the entrance to the parking lot at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World is closed in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
The entrance to the parking lot at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World is pictured in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., on March 16, 2020.
John Raoux, Associated Press

Walt Disney World could close again in the near future, one analyst said in a recent report on shares for Walt Disney Co.

What’s going on?

  • Cowen analyst Doug Kreutz said in a new note that there’s “a meaningful probability” that Disney World will be forced to close again because of the coronavirus pandemic, Deadline reports.
  • He said there’s a chance the park will operate with current measures until mid-2021, too, according to Deadline.
  • Kreutz said at the beginning of the pandemic that social distancing requirements would trail off by the end of the year. But now, it looks like middle of next year might be the right time.
  • He said: “The situation remains very fluid and we do not rule out the possibility that the impact could last even longer.”

This isn’t really new ...

Disney Parks were originally believed to be closed until Jan. 1, 2021, as I wrote about for Deseret.com. UBS Analyst John Hodulik, who often comments on media investments, said that he expected the risks to outweigh the benefits of Disney’s parks, meaning they would stay closed through the end of the year.

  • Hodulik said: “(T)he economic recession plus the need for social distancing, new health precautions, the lack of travel and crowd aversion are likely to make this business less profitable until there is a widely available vaccine.”
  • He said the parks may “regain their recent operating cadence in (about) 18 months, coinciding with the earliest expectations for a widely available vaccine for COVID-19.”