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Brought to fans, investors, entrepreneurs, executives, teachers, professors, and students by columnist, economist, novelist, reviewer, podcaster, business reporter and speaker Ray Keating

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Iger Talks Disney and Coronavirus: Not Returning to Business as Usual

by Ray Keating
April 7, 2020

Barron’s published an interview with Disney Chairman Bob Iger today, with Iger answering questions about the company given the coronavirus outbreak and related economic downturn.

The full piece warrants reading, but here are a few points that caught my attention:

First, in terms of The Walt Disney Company’s position, Iger pointed out, “So I don’t mean to in any way suggest a this-too-shall-pass attitude, because this is obviously the biggest business interruption we’ve faced. But we know when it ends that we will have things for the public to enjoy and to escape to, maybe in ways they will appreciate more than they ever have.”

He later spoke about the firm’s financial position, noting that the company had the access to capital to keep it “more than solvent through a prolonged period.”

But most notable perhaps in the entire interview was Iger’s outlook on the future of the business and the business climate. He observed: “I don’t think we’re ever going to see a return to business as usual... Disney will take this opportunity to look for ways to run our businesses more efficiently when we come back. So what we’re doing is thinking, OK, as things start to return, one, what must we address in terms of making people feel safe, but secondly, what must we address in terms of running the company more efficiently, given what we believe business conditions will dictate.”

Second, as for re-opening after the coronavirus, Iger emphasized making people feel comfortable coming to the Disney parks, including the possibility of taking guests’ temperatures as part of the screening to enter the parks.

Third, regarding Disney movies, Iger highlighted that some films will wind up on Disney+ as opposed to theaters, as announced with Artemis Fowl. However, Iger made clear, “In terms of movies going ahead after Artemis, there may be a few more that we end up putting directly onto Disney+, but for the most part a lot of the big tentpole Disney films, we’ll simply wait for slots. In some cases we’ve announced new ones already, but later on in the calendar.”

Finally, regarding Disney+, Iger noted that he had expected success, but added that “it’s probably far more popular than we ever imagined it would be, in part because it’s a welcome relief and a great alternative in terms of entertainment, for people who don’t have access given all the restrictions.”

Again, read the entire article here.

Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of The Disney Planner 2020: The TO DO List Solution (now available at a deep discount) and the Pastor Stephen Grant novels. He can be contacted at  raykeating@keatingreports.com.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Hawaii and Alaska Disney Cruise Line Sailings Cancelled Through June

by Ray Keating
April 6, 2020

Disney has decided to cancel its Disney Cruise Line Alaska and Hawaii sailings until at least July 1.

Source: DisneyParksBlog.com

As noted in a letter to travel agents, the company was reacting to the Canadian government’s decision to not allow any ships with more than 500 passengers to dock in their ports through the end of June.

The company letter also said: “In light of this cancellation, we are offering your clients the choice of a 125% future cruise credit to be used for a future sailing within 15 months of their original sail date, or a full refund.”

No one should be surprised to see the entire Disney Cruise Line officially shut things down through July 1 and beyond. In this time of uncertainty for all of us, the cruise line tops the list of industries facing the highest degrees of uncertainty.

Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of The Disney Planner 2020: The TO DO List Solution (now available at a deep discount) and the Pastor Stephen Grant novels. He can be contacted at  raykeating@keatingreports.com.

Talking DisneyBizJournal.com and Cutting the Price on "The Disney Planner 2020"

Ray Keating talks about DisneyBizJournal.com, as well as his book The Disney Planner 2020: The TO DO List Solution

Check out www.DisneyBizJournal.com, and The Disney Planner 2020 at Amazon.com via https://www.amazon.com/dp/1698855494 or signed books at https://raykeatingonline.com/t/todolistsolutionplanners. The price has been cut from $27.99 to $17.99.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Disney Parks Donates Supplies to Area Hospitals

by Beth Keating
April 5, 2020

It’s been said that “Necessity is the mother of invention,” and with hospitals and nursing homes all over the country running out of personal protection equipment (PPE) like face masks and scrub gowns, medical professionals began turning to items such as rain ponchos in desperation.  

As any Disney addict knows, you can’t show up at the theme parks without at least one disposable rain poncho in your day pack, so Disney fans across the country began donating their unused rain ware to Montefiore Medical Center in New York at the request of a Disney fan in the community (see the original post at Disney Food Blog here).

Of course, if you’ve been watching the news, you know that New York is the current epicenter of the pandemic in the United States, but hospitals countrywide are rapidly running out of critical supplies to keep first responders and medical professionals protected as they go about the business of protecting us.

Source: DisneyParksBlog.com

Disney Parks has stepped in to help as well. They have donated 150,000 rain ponchos to MedShare, which will in turn distribute the gear to hospitals on the front lines.  (The ponchos become stand-ins for unavailable scrubs.)  Medshare is a humanitarian aid organization that directly delivers vital medical supplies and equipment to communities in need, matching donors with surplus supplies with facilities in jeopardy. Disney Parks also recently donated more than 100,000 N95 masks to the states of New York, California and Florida. According to the Disney Parks Blog, Disneyland Paris has also donated more than 100,000 medical supplies, including masks, hygiene caps and protective shoes to the French government for distribution to hospitals in France.

Source: DisneyParksBlog.com

Disney has been in motion, assisting the community, since the early days of this pandemic, donating more than 270 tons of unserved food to local food banks as the Disney Parks themselves began shutting down. (See our original story on the donations to Second Harvest here.) Since that time, Disney’s Aulani Resort in Hawaii has also begun donating thousands of pounds of fresh fruits and veggies as well as shelf stable foods to Aloha Harvest.

Beth Keating is a regular contributor to DisneyBizJournal.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Updated Disney Movie Schedule

by Ray Keating
April 4, 2020

With movie theaters closed due to the coronavirus outbreak, The Walt Disney Studios has announced an updated movie release schedule. 

Some films have been delayed for a few months, others being pushed back by a year, such as Jungle Cruise and the untitled Indiana Jones movie. 

Also, one film – Artemis Fowl – will premiere on Disney+ rather than in theaters. Artemis Fowl is directed by Kenneth Branagh, and the cast features newcomer Ferdia Shaw in the title role, along with Lara McDonnell, Josh Gad, Tamara Smart, Nonso Anozie, Josh McGuire, Nikesh Patel, Adrian Scarborough, Colin Farrell and Judi Dench. A date has not yet been announced as to when the movie will arrive on Disney+.

Disney’s statement highlighted the following: “Disney’s Mulan is now slated to open on July 24, 2020, with Disney’s Jungle Cruise moving to July 30, 2021; while Marvel Studios’ Black Widow will arrive in theaters on November 6, 2020, with The Eternals moving to February 12, 2021.”

Here’s the updated slate of Disney films for the rest of 2020 through 2022:


Soul (Disney and Pixar)—June 19, 2020
Mulan (Disney)—July 24, 2020
Empty Man (20th Century Studios)—August 7, 2020
The One and Only Ivan (Disney)—August 14, 2020
The Beatles: Get Back (Disney)—September 4, 2020
The King’s Man (20th Century Studios)—September 18, 2020
Death on the Nile (20th Century Studios)—October 9, 2020
The French Dispatch (Searchlight Pictures)—October 16, 2020
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (20th Century Studios)—October 23, 2020
Black Widow (Marvel Studios)—November 6, 2020
Deep Water (20th Century Studios)—November 13, 2020
Raya and the Last Dragon (Walt Disney Animation Studios)—November 25, 2020
Free Guy (20th Century Studios)—December 11, 2020
West Side Story (20th Century Studios)—December 18, 2020
The Last Duel (20th Century Studios)—December 25, 2020 (limited)


The Last Duel (20th Century Studios)—January 8, 2021 (Wide)
The Eternals (Marvel Studios)—February 12, 2021
Ron’s Gone Wrong (20th Century Studios)—February 26, 2021
Untitled Disney Live Action—March 12, 2021
Bob’s Burgers (20th Century Studios)—April 9, 2021
Untitled 20th Century—April 23, 2021
Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (Marvel Studios)—May 7, 2021
Cruella (Disney)—May 28, 2021
Untitled Pixar Animation—June 18, 2021
Jungle Cruise (Disney)—July 30, 2021
Untitled 20th Century—August 13, 2021
Untitled 20th Century—September 10, 2021
Untitled 20th Century—October 1, 2021
Hamilton (Disney)—October 15, 2021
Untitled 20th Century—October 22, 2021
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (Marvel Studios)—November 5, 2021
Untitled Disney Live Action—November 19, 2021
Untitled Disney Animation—November 24, 2021
Untitled 20th Century—December 3, 2021
AVATAR 2 (20th Century Studios)—December 17, 2021

Untitled 20th Century—January 7, 2022
Nimona (20th Century Studios)—January 14, 2022
Thor: Love and Thunder (Marvel Studios)—February 18, 2022
Untitled Pixar Animation—March 11, 2022
Untitled Disney Live Action—March 25, 2022
Untitled 20th Century—April 8, 2022
Black Panther 2 (Marvel Studios)—May 6, 2022
Untitled Disney Live Action—May 27, 2022
Untitled 20th Century—June 10, 2022
Untitled Pixar Animation—June 17, 2022
Captain Marvel 2 (Marvel Studios)—July 8, 2022
Untitled Indiana Jones (Disney)—July 29, 2022
Untitled Disney Live Action—August 12, 2022
Untitled 20th Century—September 16, 2022
Untitled Marvel—October 7, 2022
Untitled 20th Century—October 21, 2022
Untitled Disney Live Action—November 4, 2022
Untitled 20th Century—November 11, 2022
Untitled Disney Animation—November 23, 2022
Untitled Star Wars (Lucasfilm)—December 16, 2022
Untitled 20th Century—December 23, 2022

Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of The Disney Planner 2020: The TO DO List Solution and the Pastor Stephen Grant novels. He can be contacted at  raykeating@keatingreports.com.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Anyone Remember the Neon Armadillo?

by Beth Keating
Feature Story
April 3, 2020

My husband and I are fans of country music, so perhaps it is no surprise that we have an odd assortment of boot shaped glasses in our cabinet. Last week, as I was weeding out the overflowing drinkware cabinet (coronavirus quarantine will force you to do things like that), I came across a glass tucked away in the back that I had forgotten about.  The logo was for the Neon Armadillo. Anybody remember that particular hot spot? I’m dating myself again, aren’t I?

Back when Disney Springs was still the rocking place known as Pleasure Island, with its nightly New Year’s Eve fireworks celebration and countdown to midnight, the terrain was lined with clubs and unique shopping venues of differing genres. According to the Imagineers’ elaborate lore, Pleasure Island was once the home to explorer Merriweather Pleasure. Historical markers throughout the complex attributed the various buildings to uses for Merriweather’s former canvas manufacturing and sail making industry. Merriweather disappeared, presumed dead, during a sea adventure, and the property passed to his inept sons, who led the business into bankruptcy. After years in ruin, the site was rescued as “Pleasure Island,” a “living monument” to Merriweather, who was known for his love of fun times. 

A Comedy Warehouse; the multi-level Mannequins with its revolving, light up dance floor; the Rock n Roll Beach Club (formerly a roller rink dance club – who knew such a thing was possible, right?); and restaurants like the Empress Lilly, housed on a “steamboat,” brought the reclaimed island to life. By far our favorite Pleasure Island hangout, though, was The Adventurers Club, with its cast of quirky actors who embodied the Society of Explorers and Adventurers (S.E.A).  The Neon Armadillo Music Saloon was the neighbor to The Adventurers Club, and it opened on May 1, 1989, and closed in 1998. It then became the BET Soundstage Club, which itself eventually closed in 2008. You wouldn’t recognize the spot now with its transformation to The Landing section of Disney Springs.

The Neon Armadillo’s backstory was that it had originally been built in 1927 to serve as the greenhouse for Merriweather Pleasure’s exotic plants collection, and in the down years after Merriweather’s death and the destruction of the island by Hurricane Connie, the place had been overrun by a family of armadillos. Now brought back to use as a country-western music venue, it was decorated in southwestern style and populated by denizens in scuffed boots, spangled fringe jackets, and black cowboy hats. Line dancing was the activity du jour, featuring live bands. On the nights we were there, it was often standing room only, as the music was good and the dancers fun to watch. (Hubby wouldn’t be caught dead on the dance floor, however.)  Mullet hair was prevalent (“Business in the front and party in the back”), and I’m pretty sure we heard more than a few renditions of “Achy Breaky Heart,” “Boot Scootin’ Boogie,” and “God Blessed Texas.” 

The club also hosted a variety of dance contests, and even taped a Countdown at the Neon Armadillo TV show featuring big name and up-and-coming country music stars performing live as they showcased Billboard’s Top 10 hits each week.

I’m glad I dropped the $8.95 on this kitschy mug back in the day (the price tag was still on the bottom of the glass). It was a fun reminder of the high energy vibe at Pleasure Island.  Kind of miss that ole place.

Beth Keating is a regular contributor to DisneyBizJournal.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Kindle Sale on Ray Keating's Pastor Stephen Grant Thrillers and Mysteries Extended - Only $2.99 Each!

You need something to read, and the sale on the Kindle edition of each Pastor Stephen Grant thriller and mystery by DisneyBizJournal's own Ray Keating has been extended. Get each one for only $2.99. Go to Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07N6DN3RF

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Celebrate National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day on April 2

by Beth Keating
April 1, 2020

Among the stash of non-perishable foods I brought home when we first went on coronavirus lockdown were jars of peanut butter. Ironically, since my school is a peanut-free facility, peanut butter has become somewhat of a treat at home. Scrolling around the internet the other day, I discovered that April 2nd is National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day! In honor of that event, let’s take a look at some of the great places you’ll be able to get your peanut butter fix when the parks re-open.

Let’s be honest. Disney World is a foodie’s paradise, but sometimes you find yourself travelling with one of those pint-sized picky eaters who just can’t seem to find acceptable nourishment anywhere. Sometimes, only a peanut butter and jelly sandwich will do.  While the ubiquitous peanut butter and jelly sandwich is available all over Disney property at food courts and quick serve locations, Disney has also raised peanut butter and jelly to an art form.  

Without a doubt, the king of the PB&J at Disney can be found at the “50’s Prime Time Café” at Hollywood Studios. A delicious concoction whipped up by one of your “cousins,” the “Peanut Butter & Jelly Milk Shake” ($9.00) is especially delightful in Florida’s summer heat. If you want your peanut butter without jelly while you are at Prime Time, you can also try “Dad's Favorite Chocolate-Peanut Butter Layered Cake” for $8.00, or, if you are feeling decadent, upgrade it to àla mode ($10.00).  Whether you choose to sit in the restaurant and enjoy a PB&J shake as part of a “home-cooked” meal, or pop in to the “Tune-In Lounge” next door just to seek out the PB&J shake’s chilly goodness, you won’t be sorry you tried this frosty beverage. It sounds odd, and doesn’t look any different than a typical chocolate shake, but trust me, it will be one of the best treats you’ll enjoy on your trip.   

A kicked-up version of a PB&J sandwich is available over at the Magic Kingdom…sometimes. If you find yourself on Tom Sawyer Island during one of the short windows during which the island’s quick serve is seasonally open, stop in to Aunt Polly’s little clapboard house.  There, you can nibble on a tasty “Peanut Butter and Raspberry Preserve Sandwich,” served on brioche bread with house made Cajun chips for $9.49. A hazelnut version is also available. (For chocolate spread aficionados, that’s codeword for Nutella.) “Aunt Polly’s Dockside Inn” is a quaint little spot to sit in a shaded area away from the craziness of the theme park crowds. Unfortunately, it is not open all that often, and the menu does change unexpectedly.

Feeling fancy, or looking for a special afternoon out with mom and the girls?  “Afternoon Tea at the Garden View Tea Room” at the Grand Floridian may be the ticket.  The afternoon can be a pricey one, depending on your choices (adults $35 -$105), but the setting is lovely, and it’s a peaceful and upscale break from the theme park rides.  While you sip on teas from around the world and nibble scones and other sweets, kids ages 3-9 can enjoy “Mrs. Potts’ Tea” ($23.00) with assorted finger sandwiches, including peanut butter and jelly.   

If nothing but a straight-up peanut butter and jelly sandwich will do for your younglings, there are a plethora of options throughout the parks. Search out the “Mickey Check Meals” which, without substitutions, will meet nutrition guidelines. For example, over at the All Star Resorts, host to legions of kids headed for the Disney Parks, the “End Zone Food Court” at All Star Sports Resort offers a Mickey Check kid’s meal of a Smucker’s Uncrustables with a choice of a small milk or water with grapes and carrot sticks for $5.49.  Once you get to the parks,“Harambe Market” at Animal Kingdom offers up an Uncrustables meal with drink choice and apple slices for $6.19, while Magic Kingdom’s “Columbia Harbor House”and “Pinocchio Village Haus” both offer a slight variation on the kid’s meal with an Uncrustablesserved with a Dannon Danimals Smoothie, GoGo squeeZ applesauce, and a choice of milk or water for $6.49. Over at “Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café,” enjoy your PB&J while listening to the dulcet tones of Sonny Eclipse. There, yourUncrustables is served with a Cuties mandarin orange, GoGo squeeZ applesauce, and choice of milk or water, also for $6.49.  Swap that mandarin orange for grapes, and you have the $6.49 Uncrustables meal at the “ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill.”  Those are just a few of the locations providing Uncrustables for your young ‘uns.  Or you, if the need arises. No judgement here.

If you want your peanut butter solo, there’s also the highly coveted “Nyala Brownie” at “The Mara” at Animal Kingdom Lodge.This thick, rich brownie is covered with peanut butter buttercream and a vanilla buttercream stripe - a remarkably yummy steal at $4.79. Or, if you are over near Magic Kingdom, pop into Contempo Café at The Contemporary for their creamy and delicious Peanut Butter Pie ($4.79) in the grab and go bakery case.

Another delightful choice that serves up peanut butter sans jelly is the $11.00 “No Way José” at the “Beaches and Cream Soda Shop,” near the Beach Club.A peanut butter and hot fudge sundae dish, it features both chocolate and vanilla ice cream, peanut butter and chocolate morsels, whipped cream, and a cherry.

A newcomer to the mix is the “Peanut Butter Snickers Pie” ($10.00) at the recently opened “City Works Eatery and Pour House” at Disney Springs.  Its Oreo cookie crust goodness is missing the jelly, but has plenty of peanut butter mousse, whipped cream, Snickers, and chocolate and caramel sauce.

If you find yourself on the opposite coast, make your way to “The Sand Bar” at Paradise Pier Hotel at Disneyland.  There, for $17.00, you can delight in the “PBJ Burger Sliders,” an entrée that includes plant-based meat, peanut butter, and blackberry jam on a toasted potato bun. Toting the kiddos along? “The Sand Bar” also serves up an Uncrustable sandwichwith a choice of milk, water or juice for $6.00.

A recent addition to the west coast park is the “Peanut Butter and Jelly Slush” ($7.49) at “Maurice’s Treats” in Fantasy Faire.  This spectacular goody is a grape flavored icy slush with peanut butter stripes down the inside of the glass, served up with a donut topper straddling your straw. Yikes!  That’ll keep you going for hours.

If you’d rather have your peanut butter and jelly early in the morning (and really, who doesn’t need that to jump start a park day?), you can head to “Goofy's Kitchen” for “Goofy’s Famous Peanut Butter and Jelly Pizza,” displayed prominently as part of the character breakfast buffet at the Disneyland Hotel. (Prices range from $35-$59.99 for adults, and $23 for kids.)

Lastly, while the jelly may be missing from this one, you don’t want to miss out on the peanut buttery heaven that resides at “Black Tap Craft Burgers & Shakes.”  This Disneyland locale, known for its outrageous and totally Instagrammable libations, offers the “Sweet 'N Salty” for $15.00.  Located in Disneyland’s Downtown Disney zone, Black Tap’s “Sweet ‘N Salty” is an over-the-top peanut butter shake with a chocolate and peanut butter frosted rim, decorated with little chocolate gems and peanut butter cups topped with a Sugar Daddy, pretzel rods, chocolate covered pretzel, whipped cream, caramel and chocolate drizzle. You probably don’t need the extra sugar from jelly after all of that, anyway.

Why settle for an ordinary PB&J when you can go Disney-style and make it memorable? Or at least Instagrammable.

Beth Keating is a regular contributor to DisneyBizJournal.

Disney+ Playing a Role in Streaming Shift

by Ray Keating
March 31, 2020

Yes, America is binge watching ... big time. The latest Nielsen data show that the number of streaming minutes during the first three weeks of March jumped by 85 percent versus the same time last year, according to Nielsen data as reported by Variety.

The week of March 16 saw a jump in streaming minutes by 22 percent compared to the previous week, and up by 2.2 times the same week last year.

However, Variety also pointed out: “Note that Nielsen is reporting just streaming to TVs: The analysis doesn’t measure mobile or PC video streaming, so the total amount of online video U.S. consumers are watching is even higher.” Indeed, it’s safe to assume much, much higher.

The Nielsen data shows that Netflix during the week of March 16 led the way with 29 percent of TV-based streaming, followed by YouTube at 20 percent, Hulu at 10 percent and Amazon at 9 percent. Disney+ is not broken out, being included in the “other” category, which gathered 31 percent of TV-based streaming. 

Regarding Disney+ and others, Variety noted: “But Nielsen pointed out the ‘other’ category has seen an ever bigger rise for the most recent week measured. That bucket includes Disney Plus (which is not reported out by Nielsen currently) and the research firm speculated that the Mouse House’s streaming service is seeing a significant lift from kids staying home from school — along with ‘Frozen 2’ dropping three months early on Disney Plus.”

In addition, again based on the Nielsen data, USA Today broke down streaming shares compared to a year earlier:

But while Netflix, YouTube, Amazon and Hulu make up the vast majority of streaming activity on TV sets, Netflix and Hulu claimed a smaller share of that viewing than they did last year, the Nielsen data show.  Netflix claimed 29% of total streaming minutes for the week ended March 22, down from 36% from the equivalent week last year; Hulu accounted for 10%, down from 15%.  YouTube represented 20%, up from 19%.  And Amazon inched up to 9%, from 7%. And reflecting big growth in the number of new services, led by Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus, the “other” category jumped to 31% from 23%.

We look forward to seeing total streaming numbers covering all devices, expecting that Disney+ will have an even more significant role in further shifting the streaming audience. 

The Walt Disney Company reported that as of early February, Disney+ had 28.6 million subscribers.

Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of The Disney Planner 2020: The TO DO List Solution and the Pastor Stephen Grant novels. He can be contacted at  raykeating@keatingreports.com.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Disney Top Execs Taking Pay Cuts During Coronavirus Crisis, Including No Salary for Iger

by Ray Keating
March 30, 2020

Walt Disney Company Chairman Bob Iger will forgo his salary, and CEO Bob Chapek will take a 50 percent pay cut during the coronavirus crisis, according to The Hollywood Reporter, which received a company email sent by Chapek.

The Reporter noted:

Iger has been among the top paid executives in the entertainment and media sector. In the latest fiscal year, Iger earned $47.5 million as chairman and CEO, down from $65.6 million in fiscal 2018.

Bob Chapek's base salary as CEO is $2.5 million, with an annual target bonus of $7.5 million, and an annual long-term incentive grant of $15 million. It isn't clear whether the 50 percent pay cut will apply to his base salary or to his entire compensation package.

Additionally, Chapek's email on Monday states, "effective April 5, all VPs will have their salaries reduced by 20 percent, SVPs by 25 percent and EVPs and above by 30 percent."

Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of The Disney Planner 2020: The TO DO List Solution and the Pastor Stephen Grant novels. He can be contacted at  raykeating@keatingreports.com.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Key Updates from Disney

by Ray Keating
March 29, 2020

Since Disney announced that Walt Disney World and Disneyland would be closed until further notice, the company has offered additional information that’s worth highlighting, in particular, for those who were traveling to or planning to travel to Disney World and Disneyland.

First, for people looking to modify travel dates or to make new reservations, reservation dates for Walt Disney World and Disneyland are not available before June 1. That doesn’t necessarily mean that Disney World will not be re-opening prior to June 1, but it lines up with what I noted on March 18: “I’d be shocked if Walt Disney World or Disneyland re-opened before mid-May or even June.” And it obviously speaks to the seriousness of how long the current situation could affect the country, the travel business and Disney.

Second, Disney World had previously noted that unexpired multi-day theme park tickets with unused days, or date-specific park tickets during the closure period will be extended for use through December 15, 2020. If unable to use the tickets during that period, the value of wholly unused tickets can be applied to tickets for a future date.

Third, it’s been widely reported in recent hours that Walt Disney World will be extending free dining plans to guests affected by the coronavirus closure. TourPlans.com, for example, noted: “Eligible Guests can take advantage of a vacation package offer that includes accommodations at a select Disney Resort hotel, park admission and a Disney dining plan – valid for arrivals most nights June 1 through September 30, 2020 when you book through May 31, 2020. This offer is valid only for Guests who booked a vacation package or room reservation to stay at a Disney Resort hotel from March 16 through May 31, 2020 (even if the park opens before then). Offer not valid for reservations cancelled before March 1, 2020.”

Stay tuned as more information, no doubt, will be coming – and stay safe.

Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of The Disney Planner 2020: The TO DO List Solution and the Pastor Stephen Grant novels. He can be contacted at  raykeating@keatingreports.com.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Walt Disney World and Disneyland Closed Until Further Notice

by Ray Keating
March 27, 2020

Given how long Disney parks have been closed in Shanghai and Hong Kong, for example, and the spread of the coronavirus in the United States, it was not surprising that the Walt Disney Company announced this afternoon that Walt Disney World and Disneyland “will remain closed until further notice.”

It also was said in the company’s statement: “The Walt Disney Company has been paying its cast members since the closure of the parks, and in light of this ongoing and increasingly complex crisis, we have made the decision to extend paying hourly parks and resorts cast members through April 18.” 

Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of The Disney Planner 2020: The TO DO List Solution and the Pastor Stephen Grant novels. He can be contacted at  raykeating@keatingreports.com.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Walt Disney World Closed Until at Least April 9

by Ray Keating
March 24, 2020

Due to an executive order ordering all non-essential businesses to close in Orange County, Florida, it’s clear that Walt Disney World will remain closed until at least April 9.

Today, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demmings not only ordered that all non-essential retail and commercial businesses close from 11:00 PM on Thursday, March 26, to 11:00 PM, April 9, but also ordered residents to limit travel to essential trips and to stay at home otherwise. This is all being done, of course, to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Most of Walt Disney World is located within Orange County.

The order could be extended if deemed necessary.

The executive order defines non-essential businesses as follows: “All non-essential retail and commercial businesses are hereby ordered temporarily closed, including but not limited to, whether indoors or outdoors, locations with amusement rides, carnivals, water parks, pools, zoos, museums, arcades, fairs, children's play centers, playgrounds, theme parks, bowling alleys, pool halls, movie and other theaters, concert and music halls, country clubs, social clubs and fraternal organizations.”

In addition, Universal announced that it would be extending the closure of both Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood from the end of this month, as first announced, to April 19. It’s reasonable to expect that Disney would follow suit, although the Walt Disney Company has made no announcement updating its original statement that its U.S. parks would be closed until April 1.

Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of The Disney Planner 2020: The TO DO List Solution and the Pastor Stephen Grant novels. He can be contacted at  raykeating@keatingreports.com.