Disney Takes $2.6 Billion Theme Park Hit Amid Pandemic

Disneyland California
Mario Tama/Getty Images

"We have ample demand for our parks," Disney CEO Bob Chapek said during the Thursday earnings call.

The Walt Disney Co. on Thursday reported that it took a $2.6 billion hit this quarter due to the pandemic's impact on theme parks.

Disneyland Resort has been closed since last March. Other parks around the globe have reopened, but several have had to close and open again amid novel coronavirus case spikes in their respective countries.

"Disney Parks, Experiences and Products revenues for the quarter decreased 53 percent to $3.6 billion, and segment operating results decreased $2.6 billion to a loss of $119 million. Lower operating results for the quarter were due to decreases at both the domestic and international parks and experiences businesses," read the Disney earnings disclosure released prior to the Thursday earnings call. "We estimate the total net adverse impact of COVID-19 on segment operating income in the quarter was approximately $2.6 billion."

Disney CEO Bob Chapek said during the Thursday earnings call that Walt Disney World, which reopened last summer to reduced capacity, saw average attendance grow "significantly" into the new quarter. Chapek said capacity at the Florida theme park had been increased, which is now up to 35 percent.

"We have ample demand for our parks," Chapek said. He added that increasing the capacity at open parks and reopening others will be "determined by rate of vaccinations." He also said it is anticipated that masks and social distancing would be required at all theme parks through 2021.

Christine McCarthy, Disney chief financial officer, noted that theme parks continued to be "hard hit" by the pandemic, but noted that the company continues to be "pleased" with reservation bookings at destinations currently open. However, McCarthy said that Disneyland and Disneyland Paris are expected to stay closed through March.

The conglomerate has been pushing for Disneyland to be allowed to reopen in Southern California with strict new health and safety measures in place. However, Gov. Gavin Newsom has not softened on his strict stance. However, the Downtown shopping and dining district is open along with a portion of California Adventure. All rides remain closed.