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Hong Kong Disneyland Closes for Third Time

November 30, 2020, 1:35 PM · Hong Kong Disneyland has closed again due to Covid-19. Disney announced the park's closure today, effective immediately. This is the third time that the park has closed due to the pandemic, having originally closed on January 26 and then again on July 15, following a June 18 reopening. The park reopened for the second time on September 25.

Here is the statement from the park: "As required by the government and in line with preventive efforts taking place across Hong Kong, Hong Kong Disneyland park will temporarily close beginning December 2. We are in close contact with health authorities and the government about the situation and will announce a reopening date once they determine it is advisable. The park is also scheduled to close today (December 1)."

The park had just celebrated the opening of its expanded Castle of Magical Dreams, which kicked off its 15th anniversary celebration. Even before the pandemic, Hong Kong Disneyland was struggling with attendance, posting a 15 percent decline in 2019, according to the TEA/AECOM Theme Index report. Unrest in the district due to protests against the Chinese government has driven many visitors away from Hong Kong.

However, Disney has ambitious expansion plans for the resort, including new Frozen and Marvel-themed attractions. The new castle was the focal point, providing a visual symbol of a refreshed and enlarged park, which already was home to Mystic Manor — a bucket list attraction for many Disney theme park fans around the world.

With Hong Kong Disneyland's closure, the parks at half of Disney's resorts around the world are now closed to guests, including Hong Kong, Disneyland Paris, and the Disneyland Resort in California. Parks at the Tokyo Disney Resort, Shanghai Disneyland, and the Walt Disney World Resort remain open at this point.

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Replies (11)

November 30, 2020 at 2:08 PM

This really is bothersome and concerning for multiple closures which can be more damaging than the long-term one for California.

November 30, 2020 at 2:26 PM

I disagree MikeW. Opening and then reclosing (even doing so multiple times) at least generates revenue and gives employees an opportunity to earn wages. Long-term closures force companies to layoff employees, removing them from health insurance and starting their unemployment clock.

The overhead costs to open and close a theme park during a temporary closure (4-6 weeks) are not nearly as much as you would think. Additionally, a theme park that is closed is still being cared for and maintained, albeit at a minimal level, so a long term closure still necessitates routine maintenance and upkeep. There's also a much larger lift in terms of employees (backfilling positions and training) after a long-term closure versus reopening after a 4-6 week closure where the same employees are coming back to work.

I would say that if all things were equal, a business would much rather open and close (even unpredictably) a few times over the course over a year than be forced to stay shuttered for 12+ months, which looks likely for the California theme parks.

FWIW, it doesn't sound like this Hong Kong closure will last very long as the outbreak appears to be very isolated and well-traced to a single dance hall. As with the one earlier this summer, this closure probably won't be more than a few of weeks.

November 30, 2020 at 2:31 PM

Hopefully it doesn't last long, tricky to figure out (and HK has been stricter about these). Again, the news of a vaccine coming is good even if it'll be a long time to get us back to semi-normal but Europe's lockdowns show the danger still out there.

November 30, 2020 at 2:51 PM

Re: Russell Meyer

Official line is a dance hall but the unofficial line which is spreading on Chinese social media like wildfire is a bunch of desperate cougars disregarding Covid restrictions canoodling with male exotic dancers. Some of these women have reportedly been disavowed by their families because of all the negative publicity generated

November 30, 2020 at 3:26 PM

I'm starting to think this place and Disneyland Paris are cursed. For their entire histories it seems just seems like nothing goes right.

November 30, 2020 at 5:04 PM

Cougars, dance halls... man that is some wild stuff. No need to dive into the situations this year has brought but I will take this opportunity to remind people to think twice of planning a trip during these times. I didn't get to visit Orlando in March, although I was able to get the trip in during July, but the fact of not going in March was certainly disheartening. Even for the big parks in Central Florida that are open, I don't think they will go on as operated without interruptions. In terms of leisure and entertainment, Covid is doing its damage to sports and it seems the holidays will further fuel it.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel sometime in the future but right now the situation seems extra rocky. I know they are running their ads and doing their best to get people to visit Florida and I don't blame them. They are running a business and most importantly providing jobs but booking a trip within the next four months seems risky. If you do so make sure you have a plan B,C, and D.

Back to Hong Kong Disneyland, it's a wonderful park and I hope that this helps the situation calm down a bit. I do agree with the above poster that opening and closing is a lot better than just being indefinitely shut down.

December 1, 2020 at 4:22 AM

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December 1, 2020 at 3:12 PM

@Russell Meyer

Isn't the ramp-up to re-opening extremely costly because they have to spend 2-3 weeks re-training everyone (BTW with the park closed)? That seems like a significant amount of overhead and spent capital for something that is so fluid. To me, that's burning operating income they don't have. Also, you may be hiring new people, they are not guaranteed to have the same cast returning to the same positions. If I recall, all the GE employees lost their union status and for-fitted. So, do those cast members have to go through Disney U and then for 2-3 CM specific training....?

Any incites you have on that are appreciated...as always

December 1, 2020 at 3:40 PM

@leastinteresting - You're right that reopening does cost money, but reopening after being closed for a few weeks, when many of the same employees are returning to their jobs, is a lot easier and cheaper than reopening after being closed for months. In the case of Disneyland, it's going to take a pretty sizeable effort for Disney to get their CMs and facilities up to speed after being closed for 9+ months. However, if they had been allowed to reopen in August, even if they had only operated for 6-8 weeks, Disney would have generated some revenue and been able to avoid the mass layoffs currently slated to hit at the end of the year. While many CMs let go may come back when the park reopens next year, Disney will have to hire and retrain large swaths of new employees.

If you look at HKDL, they were able to operate for some time over the summer and early fall, so the level of retraining and hiring to backfill empty roles is much less, plus they have earned revenue during those weeks of operation.

Now, if Disney knew for certain when they would be forced to close and reopen their parks, they would be able to make decisions to optimize costs. However, without that precience, a company would much rather operate for a few weeks to generate some revenue before closing for a few weeks (with some assurance/foresight that the closure won't last months on end), than close indefinitely.

December 1, 2020 at 3:45 PM

Well, this is how you do it. If everyone can agree to act right and shut down for a few weeks, then, gosh, you can open again when things get under control.

Or, you know, you can try the American solution, where most people do nothing and then we have to shut down things indefinitely.

Call me crazy, but it's almost as if you listen to science it actually helps?

December 3, 2020 at 5:11 PM

@theColonel just stop. Just leave American at this point, since clearly you don’t like it here. Go somewhere that doesn’t care about capitalism just like you

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