This morning, Barrons published an interview with Disney’s Executive Chairman, Bob Iger about what the near future will hold for The Walt Disney Company regarding business operations, security measures, and even Disney+.

What’s happening:

  • Financial site, Barrons recently spoke with Bob Iger about the current climate at Disney and what might change at Parks and Resorts following the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Since mid March, every Disney Park around the world has been closed and vacation excursions via Disney Cruise Line and Adventures by Disney have been suspended.
  • By the latter half of the month, all of the company’s resorts had ceased welcoming guests; Disney Stores had closed their doors; and anticipated blockbuster films had been pulled altogether or assigned new release dates.
  • Following all of these changes, Disney announced their senior salaried employees would be seeing pay cuts—with Iger foregoing 100% of his salary—and non-essential and hourly workers would be furloughed.
  • In his conversation with Barrons, Iger addresses several of the issues the company is facing and what the near future may look like. And while Disney will most likely be able to return to normal post pandemic, operations will certainly change in some capacity.
  • Whenever Disney is able to reopen the gates to their magical destinations, they will no doubt have enhanced security measures in place including the possibility of temperature checks.
  • Just as the security landscape changed after 9/11, so too could health checks factor into visiting public places.
  • Notably, parts of the Shanghai Disney Resort have reopened with limited operations and guests are required to undergo temperature screenings upon arrival, present a Health QR Code when entering dining venues, wear a mask during their entire visit, and maintain respectful social distances at all times.

What he’s saying:

  • Bob Iger on Disney Parks changes: “One of the things that we’re discussing already is that in order to return to some semblance of normal, people will have to feel comfortable that they’re safe. Just as we now do bag checks for everybody that goes into our parks, it could be that at some point we add a component of that that takes people’s temperatures, as a for-instance.”
  • On learning from China: “We’re studying very carefully what China has been trying to do in terms of their return to normalcy. You can’t get on a bus or a subway or a train or enter a high-rise building there…without having your temperature taken.”
  • The overall attitude at Disney: “We’re optimists, although we’re also obviously realists, too. Optimists, because we have faith in the long-term prospects of our businesses, and our brands, which I think are important here….So I don’t mean to in any way suggest a this-too-shall-pass attitude. But we know when it ends that we will have things for the public to enjoy and to escape to.”
  • The effect on the Company: “You have to be realistic about the size of this and the impact of it all. More importantly, you have to have empathy for what everyone is experiencing, not just our customers, but certainly our people.”
  • Operational changes: “…I don’t think we’re ever going to see a return to business as usual… as things start to return, one, what must we address in terms of making people feel safe, but secondly, what must we address in terms of running the company more efficiently, given what we believe business conditions will dictate.”
  • On theatrical films debuting on Disney+: “In terms of movies going ahead after Artemis [Fowl], there may be a few more that we end up putting directly onto Disney+, but for the most part a lot of the big tentpole Disney films, we’ll simply wait for slots.”
  • Disney+’s popularity: “…I think Disney+ was going to be popular no matter what. In this time, it’s probably far more popular than we ever imagined it would be in part because it’s a welcome relief and a great alternative in terms of entertainment…”