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I Got COVID-19, But Disney and Starbucks Will Make Even More Money From Me Because of It

By Daniel Foelber – Jan 6, 2022 at 7:45AM

Key Points

  • I had to cancel my trip to Disney World, but I'm impressed by the company’s customer service.
  • Starbucks’ business is performing well even as the pandemic carries on.
  • Disney and Starbucks are excellent long-term buys.

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Strong brands create loyal customers, and Disney and Starbucks have these attributes in spades.

New Year's Eve 2021 was going to be a lonely affair, but I didn't know how lonely until I tested positive for COVID-19.

With CVS and Walgreens tests booked out for weeks in Houston, I drove to Stafford, Texas, to a small clinic and paid $150 for a PCR test that delivered results within 12 hours. Since my family was out of town, I was just going to make a fire with my girlfriend in the backyard and have a nice, relaxing New Year's. But once my results came back positive, I had to cancel not just my New Year's plans, but also my trip to Walt Disney (DIS 2.46%) World with my girlfriend and her family.

How I got the virus, I have no idea. I'm very careful, barely go anywhere, and shifted my exercise from group sports to tennis to stay distanced. I'm also double vaccinated, received the booster in late October, and am 25 years old. Five days into quarantine, the vaccines are working well, as I feel little to no symptoms.

Even in the wake of the pandemic, Disney and Starbucks (SBUX 0.69%) will be getting more money from me in the years to come. Here's what makes each blue chip stock a great buy now.

Person sips a hot beverage on the beach at sunset.

Image source: Getty Images.

Walt Disney values customer satisfaction 

My positive test results came in at 8:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 31. I was scheduled to leave for Disney World on Sunday morning and stay at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort for five nights, park hop to all four parks, and fly back Friday, Jan. 7. Saturday morning, roughly 24 hours before the trip, it was all hands on deck to reschedule.

Disney was very accommodating. The Dolphin Resort fully refunded our rooms even though it was well past the date to do so. Disney gave us vouchers that refunded nearly all of our costs. And even United Airlines gave us credits for our flights.

We are simply rescheduling our trip for March, so Disney won't lose any money from the ordeal. In fact, they'll make more because the experience left us all with an even more positive impression of Disney, knowing the company is understanding of the pandemic. We'll probably be going to Disney World even more in the future.

Disney also benefits because we all use its streaming service and have no plans of canceling Disney+ anytime soon. Not only have I been watching more Disney+ during quarantine, but I'll be more inclined to purchase Black Panther 2 when it comes out later this year.

Starbucks has improved its customer experience

I've found myself going to the Starbucks drive-thru (wearing my N95 mask) more often than usual during quarantine as a way to get out of the house while still staying safe. Even before contracting COVID, I increased my Starbucks visits in 2020 and 2021 compared to 2019.

Starbucks suffered one of its worst years in recent history in fiscal year 2020 (FY 2020) as the pandemic disrupted the economy and commuting to work ground to a halt. But in Starbucks' FY 2021, which ended Oct. 3, 2021, the company reported record-high revenue of $8.1 billion, as its Starbucks Rewards members grew to nearly 25 million in the U.S. alone. 

Starbucks has mastered the art of repeat business from its most loyal customers by offering new drinks and food items, arguably one of the best reward programs out there, an easy-to-use app that makes it easier to customize orders and skip lines, and a shift away from large stores to leaner footprints with drive-thrus.

During the pandemic, the Starbucks drive-thru or an in-store mobile pickup provides a contactless way to order, pay for, and grab a drink. The drive-thru, in particular, is incredibly safe because there's no contact throughout the transaction, so the Starbucks worker and the customer aren't put in any danger.

Starbucks remains at the top of its game even as the extremely contagious omicron coronavirus variant rips through the U.S. 

The power of brands

Disney and Starbucks both embody the power of a strong brand. Disney World's generosity toward my girlfriend's family and myself even as we canceled at the last minute won't go unnoticed. In fact, it adds yet another feather in its cap on top of the enjoyment we get from Disney+.

Starbucks has made it easier than ever to order and earn rewards. As someone who works from home, walking or driving to Starbucks is a great way to take a break during the workday without wasting time waiting in line.

Disney stock is down around a 52-week low, while Starbucks is around a 52-week high because Disney's studio entertainment and park's businesses are struggling while Starbucks is showing it can perform well during tough times. Yet Disney remains my top stock to buy for 2022 because Disney's brand power and success with Disney+ should make it emerge from the pandemic a much stronger company than its record pre-pandemic year in 2019. Both Disney and Starbucks remain excellent industry-leading companies to buy for the long term.

Daniel Foelber has the following options: long January 2024 $145 calls on Walt Disney, long June 2022 $170 calls on Walt Disney, short January 2024 $150 calls on Walt Disney, and short June 2022 $175 calls on Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns and recommends Starbucks and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool recommends CVS Health and recommends the following options: short January 2022 $115 calls on Starbucks. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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