Walt Disney World, which has been shuttered for several weeks now due to the coronavirus pandemic, may reopen by June, a financial analyst predicts. However, other analysts predict that the Florida mega-resort may not reopen until 2021.
Writing in The Motley Fool, consumer and tech stocks specialist Rick Munarriz posits that predictions of earlier reopening dates for the theme parks are more realistic than predictions of later ones.
"The pieces are starting to fall into place for the world's most visited theme park resort to open sooner rather than later," he writes.
Those pieces to which Munarriz refers include Florida's phased reopening of its economy, apart from its theme park revenue, and how that reopening will pan out with regard to new coronavirus cases.
On Monday, the Sunshine State began the first phase of the gradual reopening of its economy, allowing restaurants and retailers to reopen after weeks of declining new COVID-19 cases. The reopening is still extremely limited in scope, however. For example, patrons will still be expected to maintain a social distance of 6 feet from one another, which will limit the number of people who can be inside the doors of retail shops. Restaurants, too, will have to maintain social distancing, and diners are encouraged, if not effectively forced, to eat outside, as the rules limit indoor seating to 25 percent of businesses' indoor seating capacity.
The state's theme parks, meanwhile, won't be allowed to reopen until later in the phased rollout.
What's more, when and if that phase of the reopening procedure comes will depend largely on meeting certain benchmarks — benchmarks that could possibly be met by early next month.
Munarriz's prediction of an early Walt Disney World reopening stands in contrast to that of other analysts, who say that the resort may very well be shuttered until next year. As written in a companion Motley Fool report, analyst John Hodulik predicts that the Central Florida theme parks may not reopen until 2021.
When the parks do reopen, things will look different past the turnstiles. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the reopening process will be implemented in phases. In the first phase, parks would only be allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity. This would be followed by a second phase that allows them to operate at 75 percent capacity before eventually being allowed to operate at full capacity.
Once inside, guests will find cast members wearing masks at all times, and the guests themselves will be required to stay 6 feet apart.
Munarriz predicts that the new, post-coronavirus guidelines may make for a different experience than guests are used to inside the parks.
"The restrictions will be challenging, and the guest experience will inevitably suffer," he writes.