A new opinion poll from Reuters/Ipsos forecasts a rough road to recovery for two of The Walt Disney Company’s largest money makers – the Disney Parks, Resorts and Experiences division and its movie studios. This is bad news for Disney’s business model.
According to the poll most Americans plan to avoid sports, other live events or experiences until such time as a vaccine is available for the coronavirus. This includes people who were regular customers of sports, movie theaters, theme parks, and other events in the past.
According to the poll, just four in 10 of those who regularly visit sports stadiums, theaters, entertainment venues, and theme parks would do so again if they opened before a vaccine was available.
Around 40% said they would not return until there is a vaccine, even if that takes more than a year to develop.
Remaining respondents indicated they either didn’t know or might never attend crowded sports, entertainment or theme parks again.
Disney’s movie factory could see weak demand until a vaccine is available. When asked about entertainment options, respondents to the poll said only 27% would visit a movie theater when cinemas reopen. 32% indicate they will wait until a vaccine is available. More than half of Americans think cinemas, live theater, and other shows should wait to resume operations until a vaccine is available.
When asked specifically about theme parks, the answers were much worse. 59% indicated the parks should not open until a vaccine is available. Only 20% would be willing to visit a theme park when they reopen.
We Disney fans tend to live in a bubble of enthusiasm for the product. Despite Disney’s best efforts to build up a tradition of the family Disney vacation or catching the latest super hero or animated movie on the big screen, that is not as important as maintaining a family’s good health.
This is just one poll, but the outlook is pretty bleak for Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and the blockbuster movies that have broken box office records for the last few years.
The proof is in the pudding. We’ll see what happens when everything does start to open back up.