What if Disney World had a birthday party and no one came?


Walt disneyof (NYSE: DIS) The most visited theme park station is gearing up for a big milestone. Disney World in Florida turns 50 this October, and the House of the Mouse hopes to put as much time as possible to blowing out the candles. Disney announced on Friday that it would expand the celebration to a full 18 months. In short, we’ll be celebrating Disney World’s 50th anniversary later this month through the end of March 2023.

Disney is no stranger to dealing with its milestones for as long as possible. As it turns out, it’s a particularly smart move for Disney to go down this route right now. In this difficult climate, the further you move into the future, the better the prospects for a return to normal for the theme park operator.

Image source: Disney.

There is a big big beautiful tomorrow

Disney World reopened in July of last year after a thorough social distancing makeover. The guests are spaced from each other in the queues. Plexiglass partitions protect guests at the expense of partially obstructing views. Most shows, parades, character interactions and nightly festivities are either suspended or drastically reduced to prevent crowds from gathering in large groups. Masks are mandatory at all times, except when eating or drinking while stopped.

It’s a buzzkill, but it’s better than being Disneyland. Right?

Disney World also currently allows only 35% of the regular capacity of each theme park at any given time. It requires customers to make reservations in advance to visit a particular park on a given day.

Disney World is also limiting annual pass sales to renewals for now, but it’s better than being Disneyland and eliminate passes entirely. Right?

A lot can change between now and October, but right now it’s hard to see Disney World at its best in October. The number of COVID-19 cases is on the decline again, but travel restrictions – at the very least, international travel restrictions – will likely still be in place to some extent.

In a call for results earlier this month, CEO Bob Chapek said he did not see masks disappear in 2021. He hopes the face covers and necessary social distancing measures will disappear by 2022, and that’s just another good reason for 546 days of celebration. .

The weather will help bring back visitors and the economy. It can also help get some projects back on track.

A lot of new rides and experiences that Disney World was unveiling four years ago in anticipation of the 50 years of the station, either will not be ready in October, or have been quietly erased from the table. Nobody expects that Tron– Disney’s Magic Kingdom-themed roller coasters will be open by October, but they should definitely be rolling at some point during the celebration. A 900-room nature-inspired lodge, as well as several Epcot attractions, including a Mary Poppins ride, have been scrapped for now.

Disney is fortunate to be a diverse asset media stock at present. The actions are soaring to a high level as Disney + carries the Growth Stick that takes the action to unprecedented levels.

Disney World isn’t ready for a celebration right now, but there’s a good chance the stick will be well within reach at some point before spring 2023 for him to be the primary sprinter. It may take a while for Disney World to get back to where it was a year ago, but that’s why an 18-month-old party clock is a brilliant watch for the most successful theme park operator in the world. world.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a premium Motley Fool consulting service. We are motley! Questioning an investment thesis – even one of our own – helps us all to think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.

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