Th Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) took a major hit when it reported second-quarter earnings the other day, noting the coronavirus pandemic had crushed its theme park segment, but with its Shanghai Disneyland park set to open on Monday, May 11, the pain could be short lived.
Tickets for the theme park went on sale in China Friday morning and sold out within minutes of being offered. While the park will be operating at a significantly reduced level of its capacity, the ticket sales indicate there remains massive built-up demand that will pour forth when normalcy returns.
Ready for fun again
The Shanghai Disneyland park was the first of Disney's theme parks to close due to COVID-19 back on Jan. 25, months before it was declared a pandemic. The closures spread to Disney's other properties soon after, and the company reported the closures cost it nearly $1 billion in profits.
Yet the Shanghai Disneyland opening will provide a roadmap for how the entertainment giant can reopen its other parks in the U.S. and around the world.
The reopened Disneyland experience will likely be less than optimal when tourists flood into the park as guests will have to undergo temperature checks at the gate, masks will need to be worn, and social distancing measures will be enforced on the lines for attractions. However, with only 30% of the park's capacity allowed in, or roughly 24,000 people, it may still feel desolate.
Tickets have sold out through May 14, as well as for the weekend of May 16 and 17.
Yet the opportunity for a rebound won't cause Disney to reverse its decision to suspend its summer dividend. The payout to shareholders, which was yielding 1.8% at the time, was made twice a year.