Disney working to increase capacity at Disneyland, Disney World theme parks: Reports

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Disney is working on expanding capacity at its Disneyland and Disney World theme parks and is hoping to have them fully staffed by the end of the year, according to reports.

In an earnings call Thursday, Disney officials said their approach to increasing the number of daily visitors was aggressive “but measured,” the Orange County Register and Forbes reported.

“At Walt Disney World, third quarter capacity levels were generally at or near our daily capacity levels,” Disney CFO Christine McCarthy said on the call, according to the Register. “Disneyland Resort also steadily increased attendance and capacity following its reopening at the end of April and particularly after the lifting of California state restrictions on June 15.”

The reopened parks provided a revenue bounce for the Walt Disney Co., which swung to a profit in its most recent quarter.

Revenue in the parks and products division surged to $4.3 billion from $1.1 billion a year ago, as theme parks closed last year were open for part or all of this year’s quarter.

The effect of the pandemic lingers at the California and Florida parks. Disney is among the country’s largest employers to require worker vaccinations. It also announced in July that visitors to its U.S. theme parks must again wear masks indoors.

Asked about concerns about the infectious delta variant affecting the park business, Disney CEO Bob Chapek said on a call with analysts that the company sees “strong demand” at the parks continuing, although there have been group and convention cancellations.

Disney’s ability to keep its parks and resorts open “is clearly of the utmost importance to their bottom line,” said Third Bridge analyst Joe McCormack.

About 19,000 workers — or cast members, as Disney calls its employees — have returned to the Disneyland Resort after the company was forced to furlough and lay off cast members amid a year-long closure of California theme parks caused by the pandemic, the Register reported.

At its peak, the resort employed about 31,000 people, making it the city’s largest employer, Anaheim spokesman Mike Lyster told KTLA back in March.

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