“The Happiest Place On Earth” closes: Disneyland shuts doors until end of March

All Disney theme parks worldwide will be shuttered this weekend, including Disney World in Florida and the Disneyland Resort in California, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the company said on Thursday, March 12.

After Thursday’s market close, Disney’s stock which was priced at $91.81 per share, dropped near 28 per cent. But the stock rallied on Friday morning March 13 to $99.40

Recently company head, CEO, Bob Iger, handed over the reins to Bob Chapek. Chapek’s first major challenge as CEO will be dealing with the fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.

Disney’s recently appointed CEO, Bob Chapek

Disney indicated that its four-ship cruise line will also cease new tours starting Saturday until the end of the month. The suspension will last until the end of the month for all operations affected.

Thirty hotels which are also operated by Disney near Orlando will remain open “until further notice,” the company said. Shopping and dining areas will also remain open.

Disney indicated that it will continue to pay employees while the parks are closed. Its parks receive almost 19 million visitors from around the world each year.

The action by Disney followed new state guidelines in Florida which barred events attracting more than 250 people.

The company said it had acted, “in an abundance of caution and in the best interest of our guests and employees.”

Disney World employs 75,000 people.