Walt Disney World to close its hotels, plus more stores

March 16, 2020, 12:56 AM · Now that all of the The Walt Disney Company's theme parks are closed, the company is announcing that it will close more of its hotels and retail locations.

When Disney announced last week that it would close its Disneyland and Walt Disney World theme parks in response to the global Covid-19 crisis, it also said that its Downtown Disney and Disney Springs shopping districts would remain open until further notice. Well, that notice came tonight, as Disney announced that it would close all of its owned and operated retail locations on both coasts on Tuesday.

Disney said that independent tenants in each district would be left to make their own decisions whether to remain open or not. In California, the state is pushing restaurants to move to take out or delivery only, which might affect decisions at Downtown Disney. *Monday update: All of Downtown Disney is closed.

In Florida, Disney Springs was remaining open in part to serve guests remaining at Walt Disney World's hotels, which the resort had chosen to keep open. But now that will change, too. Walt Disney World has announced that it will close all of its hotels by Friday. The closure also applies to Disney's DVC Vero Beach Resort.

Disney is keeping the hotels open during the week as not to overwhelm the Orlando airport as guests make travel arrangements to leave town. With airlines cutting service and travel bans in place around the globe, travelers might need a few days in order to arrange flights.

As we reported earlier, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now recommending that all public gatherings and events involving more than 50 people be canceled for the next eight weeks, which could result in the Disney parks remaining closed for longer than just until the end of March as Disney originally announced.

The increasing restrictions on public gatherings, commerce and travel around the world no doubt influenced Disney's decisions to go ahead and shut down its Downtown Disney and Disney Springs stores as well as the Disney World hotels. If Disney's parks were reopening in a couple of weeks, then it might make sense to allow those locations to remain open. But if these shutdowns are going to last several weeks longer, then everything needs to shut down for that period, too.

We explained some of the reasoning for the growing number of shutdowns around the world in our post, This wasn't the 'going viral' that anyone wanted. You might feel healthy and think that you're not at risk for Covid-19, but anyone could be a carrier of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, as it appears to have a long incubation period, meaning that many people who are contagious do not present any symptoms of the disease. That's why it is so important that everyone stop close physical contact with others outside their families right now, so that we can slow the spread of the disease.

Because if we don't, and hospitals get overwhelmed with more cases than they can treat, death rates will accelerate, and we will lose what control we might have over the disease.

It's the paradox of prevention. If you do it right, it seems like unnecessary overreaction. But if you don't take those seemingly extreme steps, it quickly becomes too late - and no one wants to imagine the potential consequences of that.

So as to not leave you on that downer of a note as you prepare to spend the next few weeks at home, stay tuned as we are planning a steady stream of theme park-related online entertainment for you here on Theme Park Insider, starting later Monday. We're all in this together, and I'm going to try to make this as much fun for all of us as I possibly can.

Replies (1)

March 16, 2020 at 2:17 AM

This is a good opportunity for Disney to do some maintenance projects, especially in the normally busy areas of the parks and resorts.

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