It was the worst of times, spun with threads of gold. Disney finally announced the obvious this week when they shared quarterly financial results which showed billions of dollars in losses for the theme parks. But in typical Disney fashion, they glossed right over all the bad stuff and focused on the silver lining of their new streaming business. But the real bad news is likely still to come, as Disney hasn’t officially spelled out their plans for dealing with closures and reduced demand for their parks and products. Back at the Happiest Place on Earth, there are bits of news as well, including some surprise construction, a spooky birthday, project updates, and approval for Disney’s hotel expansion. And all the world’s a stage as our readers share their favorite Disneyland entertainment. Let’s take a look . . . 

Disney’s Not-So-Unexpected Decline

What happens when theme parks, theaters, and stores all close at the same time and that’s your primary business? . . .  Massive losses! As we warned in our last Update, Disney reported their latest quarterly earnings last week for the period of April through June of 2020 (which is Disney’s fiscal 3rd quarter). There was no doubt that the news would be brutal, and it was. Disney doesn’t report theme park earnings alone – they combine parks revenue with travel, cruise lines, Adventures by Disney, Vacation Club, and consumer products (among other things). Still, this segment of Disney’s business declined 85% versus the same quarter in 2019 and lost nearly $2 BILLION dollars in the period. The total cost of Coronavirus to the company as a whole in the period was a staggering $3.5 billion dollars. And while Disney had good news to report about the growth of Disney+ subscribers, and the strong performance of broadcast television, the company as a whole suffered a complete reversal of its strong performance last year. 

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

Here’s Bob Chapek’s summary of the results: 

“Most of our businesses were shut down, and this had a huge impact on our third-quarter results. Adjusted EPS in the quarter was $0.08 a share compared to $1.34 a share last year.”

To compound Disney’s troubles, future film releases for films such as Black Widow, new Avatar and Star Wars films, as well new animated films from Pixar and Disney, have all been pushed back, some more than once. And one pic has been pulled from theatrical release to be displayed on Disney+ for an extra fee. That film is the highly anticipated live-action version of Mulan: 

‘Mulan’ to Skip Theatrical Release and Debut on Disney Plus Premium

 

Theme Park Industry Seeing Red

But Disney isn’t the only entertainment company battling rough financial times. The entire entertainment industry is on the ropes, the theme park segment even moreso. The Disney Company’s total revenues fell by about 40% in their spring quarter, while their most comparable competitor, NBC Universal (which also has film and theme park operations), saw their revenues decline 29.5% in the quarter. And while Disney and Universal have diverse operations that afford them some level ongoing income in these challenging times, the performance of the theme park-only companies was dire.  

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions
The accountants at Gringotts Bank confirm tough times ahead.

We created this chart to show the % loss in the quarter for the top theme park operators in the United States. (The Disney number is for their Parks, Experiences, and Products unit, while the Universal number is their theme parks only).  

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

Loss by % and $ for each of the major theme park companies: 

  • Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products Segment declined 85% over the same period of 2019 – Representing a $2 billion loss
  • Universal Theme Parks Loss of 94% over the same quarter last year – $399 million loss
  • SeaWorld – 95% loss over the same quarter of 2019 – $105 million net loss
  • Six Flags – 96% year over year quarterly decline – $137 million net loss
  • Cedar Fair – The company which owns Knott’s Berry Farm saw the biggest decline of 98% over the same quarter last year   – $142 million net loss

Since the end of the spring quarter, some theme parks have reopened for operators nationwide. However, limited capacity and soft demand will continue to impact the entire industry for months (perhaps years) to come. But this was the quarter of the deepest pain. Results for the next quarter will show how well the reopened parks have performed and if they can turn a profit on severely reduced capacity and demand.  

Here’s a deeper dive into Disney’s spring quarter: 

Breaking: Disney Shareholder Meeting Reveals Massive COVID Impact

  •  

FALLOUT: LAYOFFS & CUTBACKS BEGIN

It will be no surprise that all of the theme park operators, including Disney, are now engaging in the trimming of expenses wherever they can. Coasters and other attractions under construction have been delayed across the industry.  SeaWorld is postponing all new attractions until at least next year, Universal is also postponing most attractions and canceling others. Most notably, they have indefinitely suspended work on a whole new theme park for Universal Orlando. Even Disney has hinted at the delay and cancelation of future projects. Unless it’s close to completion, don’t count on your favorite Disney projects making it to the parks any time soon (Epcot, we’re looking at you).  

 
, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions
Empty Epcot.

With capital expenses now cut from budgets, next will be labor expenses. Universal has confirmed the completion of two rounds of job cuts, mostly in their theme park division. As you saw in our charts above, Universal lost the least amount of money as a percent of last year’s revenue in the previous quarter. It would be next to impossible for their competitors not to cut even deeper given their larger losses and the expected weakness in demand for theme parks in the coming year (and likely longer).

But operators won’t be able to justify keeping employees on furlough forever. Non-union employees will start seeing furloughs become layoffs, or be warned to start seeking other employment very soon. We’ve been hearing that some Disney employees in both California and Orlando have been told that there is no word on when their jobs may return and that they should start looking for other employment. That doesn’t sound like a good sign, but Disney hasn’t commented on the situation yet. And given the guidance from the CEOs of various theme park operators that they expect to continue operating at reduced capacity and that the recovery of tourism will be a long road, it’s only a matter of time until payrolls are adjusted permanently. 

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

Just this week, Disney decreased the hours at their parks in Orlando, and Disney CFO, Christine McCarthy, confirmed weakness in Walt Disney World’s reopening plans: 

At parks, experiences, and products, it’s worth noting that while Walt Disney World is operating at a positive net contribution level, the upside we are seeing from reopening is less than we’d originally expected given the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in Florida.

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions
An empty Pandora at Walt Disney World

The coming weeks will bring more definitive information on which jobs will be returning and which must be cut. Our hearts are with all of you who feel as though your jobs are twisting in the wind. 

Disneyland Construction

Although Downtown Disney has been open for over a month now, it’s still hard to walk by Disneyland’s closed gates. But even through those gates, there’s still a bit of news for us to talk about.  

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

Just beyond the entry arch, you’ll see scaffolds up on the Emporium building on Main Street. So we know that in addition to the older projects we’ve been following in our aerial articles, there’s some new work being started as well. 

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

There’s another item which is easier to miss from a distance . . . 

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

As you zoom in on the turnstiles, you might notice a little glare . . . 

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

Plexiglass has been installed on the turnstiles to separate the guests from the cast members. Safety markers have also been installed throughout much of the park. Disneyland is ready for you, even if you aren’t quite ready for Disneyland.  

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

And on the far side of the park, behind ToonTown, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway is under construction. Many have wondered if this project might end up being delayed by the Corona-slump, but the site was clearly active when we stopped by.  

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

Downtown Disney

But part of the resort is open, of course. Downtown Disney has been quite successful, especially on weekends. We had staff at the shopping district during the week and again yesterday. If you hope to avoid the crowds, early on weekdays is your best bet. But the area can get crowded in the evenings and stays consistently busy on weekends. In fact, parking was repeatedly closed on Saturday and Sunday this week. And even when parking was reopened, guests were still held for a while due to the attendance cap. 

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

Once inside, there are a few new details. 

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

More umbrellas have been added around the planters and in some of the queues for the popular stores. 

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions , Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

And almost all of the flat surfaces now have large social distancing signs. But there are problem areas in Downtown Disney. Below, you’ll see planter seating, a queue line along the building, and a tiny sliver of walkway for guests not sitting or waiting in line. 

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

In our last Update, we noted that the Starbucks on the West side of Downtown Disney had been closed. It was open again over the weekend. It appears that they are either having staffing issues or are only opening on the busier weekends. 

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

We popped into Wonderground Gallery and noted some new Tiki-inspired merchandise. 

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

Trader Sam’s Tiki Mug artwork! 

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

Mugs on cups . . . 

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions , Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

Happy Haunted 51st Anniversary to the Haunted Mansion 

Yesterday was the 51st anniversary of the Haunted Mansion. 

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

Hard to believe, but the Mansion never had the chance to operate in its normal mode this year. When the Holiday overlay was removed, the ride began a major refurbishment that wasn’t complete before the March shutdown of the parks. The ride normally begins its holiday transformation at the end of August. Though, we assume that the park won’t bother with the overlay this year even if the parks do reopen. 

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions , Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions , Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions , Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions , Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions , Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions , Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

For a ride that’s 51 years old, it sure is beloved. Mansion merchandise is among the most popular and frequently sells out. While in the Wonderground Gallery this week, we took notice of all the Mansion merch. So even though the ride is closed, you can still bring a little piece of the moldering sanctum home with you. 

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions , Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions , Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions , Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions , Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions , Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions , Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

But for now, the happy haunts are still awaiting their 1,000th ghost. 

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions , Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

Disneyland Hotel DVC Tower Clears Hurdle 

The proposed Disney Vacation Club tower for the Disneyland Hotel has been approved by the Anaheim Planning Commission. The 350-room timeshare building will now need final approval from the Anaheim City Council.

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions
The above photo is an Artist Rendering.

The Disneyland Hotel DVC expansion was announced back in November last year, and more details have been coming along since then. In January, concept art for the DVC tower was shared, and a 3D model of the tower was presented to Walnut Street residents in June. We hope to have more information regarding the finalization of plans in the coming days.

Disneyland Hotel Availability

While the Disneyland Resort theme parks remain closed, with no reopening in the near future, there have been some updates to reservations for guests with upcoming stays. Last week we wrote that rooms were available for booking at two of Disneyland’s hotels (Paradise Pier and the Grand Californian Hotel & Spa) starting in September. Now, the Disneyland Hotel is accepting bookings starting in October. 

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

Although bookings are available, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the hotels will actually be open. Currently, Disneyland’s website states that the Hotels of the Disneyland Resort remain closed and will reopen at a later date. Disneyland has been sending emails to guests with hotel reservations at Paradise Pier and the Grand Californian Hotel & Spa through August 29 that they can modify or cancel their plans. 

Shortened Hours Ahead for WDW

The WDW theme parks reopened just last month, but the demand for the parks has been lower than what was expected. Although the park reservation system quickly filled up at first, there’s since been some updates to allow Annual Passholders and Cast Members more access to the parks. But starting next month, park operating hours will be cut back from 10 hours a day to 8 or 9 hours per day. Last week, this push notification came through the My Disney Experience app.

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

Starting the day after Labor Day the parks will be limiting operating times. Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios will have longer hours than Epcot and Animal Kingdom. 

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions 

 

The Epcot hours, in particular, seem strange since it will impact dinner reservations. Dining is a major part of Epcot’s appeal. 

These are the current operating hours for comparison: 

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

 

More WDW News

Looking for more Walt Disney World info? Check out the most recent WDW Update to see a sunken Splash Mountian log, the new baby mandrill, beautiful rainy day shots from Disney’s Hollywood Studios and updated park operations.

Walt Disney World Update – That Sinking Feeling

 

Halloween is Dead Before Arrival

The last few weeks have been filled with announcements of popular Halloween events canceling one after the other. We detailed all the theme park haunt cancellations a few weeks ago, but we’ve got one more major event to add to the list: Knott’s Scary Farm. Personally, I hope that Knott’s can create an experience that blends their current food festivals with some Halloween flair. Taste of Spooky Farm anyone? 

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

For more about the Knott’s Scary Farm cancellation, general Knott’s updates, and some scarily beautiful shots of Scary Farm from last year check out the article below. 

CANCELED – Knott’s Scary Farm Halloween Haunt 2020!

While the big-league players in haunt attractions may have bowed out for this year’s Halloween, there’s a new option that can still provide some thrills and chills. Urban Legends of Southern California is a drive-through attraction at the OC Fairgrounds that runs from October 1 through November 1. It’s an interesting offering, and a great way to make use of the large fairgrounds that will otherwise go mostly unused this year.

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Buckle Up! . . . #halloween #urbanlegends #drivethruhaunt #scary #boo

A post shared by Urban Lengends of SoCal (@drivethruhaunt) on

Let Us Entertain You – MiceChat Reader Photos

Disneyland is an entertainment lover’s paradise with loads of parades, shows, and performers. Last week we asked the MiceChat Facebook group to share their favorite photos from nighttime parades and spectaculars, and this week we’re sharing the daytime counterparts! Here’s a sampling of all the photos our readers shared. We hope you enjoy them and invite you to share some of your own!

Disneyland Band

The Disneyland Band captures the essence of Americana through Disney songs. There’s nothing quite like seeing them march down Main Street USA. 

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions
Disneyland Band, February 2013
, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions
“Disneyland band with Beauty and the Beast on Disneyland’s 62nd birthday in 2017.” – Ryan

Magic Happens!

Disneyland’s newest parade, Magic Happens,  only had a month-long run before the parks shut down. 

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

Mickey’s Soundsational Parade

Soundsational was full of color, lots of pep, and iconic Disney music. And who knew that Mickey was such a good drummer?! We miss it. 

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

New Orleans Square

New Orleans Square is filled with music and magic. 

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions
“Bayou Bash 2013 (one of my all-time favorites I only saw once!)” – Susie

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

Mickey’s Toontown Morning Madness – 2011

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

Mickey and the Magical Map

At the Fantasyland Theater, you’ll find an exciting adventure with Mickey as he encounters a wide cast of Disney characters. The ending sequence with Tiana sure is beautiful! 

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

Christmas Fantasy Parade

There’s nothing quite like seeing Disneyland at Christmas. We asked our readers to share photos of the Disneyland Resort during the holidays a few weeks ago. But one of the hallmarks of winter at Disneyland is always the Christmas Fantasy Parade. Whimsical and timeless. 

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions
“I do love me the Christmas Fantasy Parade.” – Nicole

Mulan’s Chinese New Year Procession

During the Lunar New Year Festival at DCA, there’s a gorgeous procession that features Mulan and Mushu. It’s colorful and eyecatching. Definitely worth watching at least once.

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

Viva Navidad

Dancers and performers bring Paradise Gardens to life in this high energy mini-parade. 

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular

Oh, Aladdin, how you are missed at DCA. A large-scale theater production that made you forget you were in a theme park. 

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

Frozen – Live at the Hyperion

Let it go! The Frozen show at DCA is a great way to sit for a spell and enjoy some air-conditioning. 

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

Pixar Play Parade

Closing out our list, we have the Pixar Play Parade. Who would have ever imagined seeing Roz dressed like a show girl??

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions
“Love the energy of the Pixar Play Parade!” – Kenneth
, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions
Pixar Play Parade, 2013 California Adventure

And all that is just the tip of the iceberg. There have been hundreds of different shows and performers at Disneyland over the years. Be sure to share your favorites with us. 

Thank you to everyone who shared a photo this week! We’re really missing all of Disneyland’s magic and entertainment. To see more photos of Disneyland’s daytime entertainment, be sure to join our MiceChat Facebook group!

Keep an eye out for next week’s theme!

This & That

And now we’ve made it to the odds and ends of Disney/theme park/travel news. 

Cruises Suspended Through October

This week, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) announced that they were extending the suspension of sailings through at least October 31. Disney is a member of CLIA, and while they have not made an official announcement of their own regarding the extended suspension, the Disney Cruise Line website is not displaying any cruises through November.

To learn more about the suspension of cruising:

Batten Down the Hatches! Disney and Other Cruise Lines Suspended Until October 31!

Cast Member Care Kits

As Cast Members return to work at Disneyland, the company is giving them something of a care package: company-issued masks, a thermometer, hand sanitizer, and a pamphlet of cast resources. 

Knott’s Spotify Playlists

If you’ve been looking for some new theme park music to play around the house, Knott’s has got you covered. Knott’s social media team put together a handful of Spotify playlists with music from around the park. We included the Ghost Town playlist for you below, and there are also playlists for Fiesta Village, Boardwalk, and Camp Snoopy on the Knott’s Berry Farm Spotify profile.

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Take the music of #KnottsBerryFarm with you wherever you go! ? ? ? ? Enjoy our new Spotify playlists, available at the link in our bio.

A post shared by Knott’s Berry Farm (@knottsberryfarm) on

A Disney Movie Theater In Your Future? 

We wrote (much) earlier in the update that Mulan will be skipping its theatrical release and heading straight to streaming for a premium. But what happens to the movie theaters that haven’t had a single showing for months? Well, recent changes may make it possible for the movie studios to merge with the movie theater chains. Read more about the state of movie theaters:

Disney Theaters? Your Multiplex Could Soon Change Dramatically

 


Let Us Help

Theme parks are reopening, and whether you are ready to travel yet or not, there’s no better time to lock in low rates on future travel. But waiting on hold and not knowing what questions to ask isn’t the magical part of a vacation. That’s why MiceChat has partnered with Get Away Today to handle all the difficult stuff for you . . . all for no extra cost. That’s right, they do all the work and it doesn’t cost you extra. 

, Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

Our travel partners at Get Away Today are here to help you with your theme park booking and rescheduling plans. We know you’re as uncertain about the future as we are. That’s why Get Away Today is offering the most flexible Disney travel options available. Ask about:  

Price Protection – If a better special comes out after you have booked, you’ll get the better deal. 

Peace of Mind – Make hotel changes, reschedule dates, drop nights, change ticket vouchers and more, as many times as you’d like for a small, one-time fee.

Layaway Plan – Lock in your 2020 or 2021 Walt Disney World Resort vacation for just $175 down. By booking early, you secure your availability and have the flexibility to pay as you go. Make as many interest-free payments as you’d like, whenever you’d like, with final payment due just seven days prior to travel.

Give your family something to look forward to


Let’s Hear From You

Well folks, this one was a LOT longer than we had planned. It continues to amaze us how much news can happen in a week . . . even in the middle of a pandemic. Were you surprised by Disney’s financial results in the last quarter? That 2 billion dollar loss will have to be recouped somehow. How do you expect Disney to juggle tighter budgets? And don’t forget to let us know what your favorite Disneyland daytime entertainment offering of all time is/was.  

 , Disneyland Update – Magic, Mayhem & Parks Bleed Billions

My sincere thanks to Mike Kindrich, Logan Collins, and Nathan Villamor for their help with this lengthy update! Have a great week everyone!!!

Sharing is caring!

Dusty is the founder and CEO of MiceChat.com. When he's not visiting theme parks and writing, editing or speaking about Disney and theme parks worldwide, Dusty is involved in multiple Disney related projects and charities. He helped save and restore the charming Walt Disney Birthplace in Chicago, launched the Dick Van Dyke Foundation, and is the curator of Walt Disney's historic 1930's estate in Hollywood. If you've got news or photos to share with the MiceChat community, or would like to book Dusty for an upcoming event, please contact dustysage[email protected]