Chapek Says Disneyland Closure is a ‘Mandate, Not Much of a Negotiation’

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Disneyland

Yesterday, Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek spoke to CNBC about Disney’s restructuring announcement, which will see the company putting significantly more emphasis on its Disney+ streaming service.

During his video interview, Chapek dropped a bit of a bombshell regarding the still-closed Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California.  He stated:

“I’ll tell you, It’s not much of a negotiation. It’s pretty much a mandate that we stay closed.”

Related: Exclusive: Anaheim City Official Speaks on Disneyland Protocol

bob chapek cnbc
Credit: CNBC

Disney officials — including CEO Chapek, Executive Chairman Bob Iger, and Chairman of Parks, Experiences and Products Josh D’Amaro — have been locked in a heated battle with California Governor Gavin Newsom regarding reopening Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park.

Related: Disneyland vs. California: A Timeline of Confusing Events

Governor Newsom has declined to provide theme park reopening guidelines (even after the California Attractions and Parks Association asked for a delay so that more discussion could occur), which means Disney’s California parks have now been closed since March 14 — seven months as of tomorrow.

Disneyland is the only Disney theme park worldwide that has not been allowed to begin its phased reopening process. Chapek shared the following:

“You know, I look across our Disney properties — whether it be Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Paris, Walt Disney World, the Disney Bubble for the NBA — and all I see is that we’ve been able to open up responsibly using the guidelines that healthcare experts have given us. And as a result, we’ve been very, very successful at reopening without having issues that would preclude us from staying open. And it seems to me that the guidelines that are set up by the state of California are more stringent than any states across the country. And if you look at the history of Disney and what we’ve been able to do during reopening rather than arbitrary standards that are set up without regard to what actual fact is, and what we’ve been able to do as a company, I think you might come to a different decision about reopening Disneyland.”
Sleeping Beauty Castle
Credit: Joshua Sudock/Disneyland Resort

Yesterday, however, Newsom shared that he plans to meet with California theme parks this week to continue discussions.

“This week, just to preview, we’ll be visiting with some of the larger theme parks, continuing some of those conversations back and forth. We continue in good faith to try to work to get where I know everybody wants to go, and that’s to get people back to work, and also to create more entertainment options. But also we need to do so in a safe way. We need to do so with a health-first frame.”

Upon its eventual reopening, Disneyland Resort will abide by many of the same health and safety protocols that have been working successfully at Walt Disney World and other global Disney Parks.
When asked at what capacity Walt Disney World has been operating at — and at what capacity Disney plans to operate Disneyland Resort at in California — Chapek shared this:
“We’re limited by the six-foot social distancing guideline of the CDC, and that’s what essentially translates to about 25% park capacity. So every day that’s about where we’re at: 25% capacity. And that won’t change until the CDC guidelines change.”
Although Chapek didn’t specifically say Disneyland and Disney California Adventure will be operating at 25% of their normal capacity, the implication of this statement is that their limited capacity for Guests is likely to be similar, percentage-wise, to Disney World’s.
Bob Chapek Annual Passholder Reopening
Credit: Disney

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