Following Disney’s first month of closure, what else has changed?


Following Disney’s one-month closure announcement, Disney executives have taken action to help the company save and make money, despite the continuing closure. The company is also doing its best to accommodate the many people who rely on Disney for entertainment and fun.

After the announcement that Disney would continue to pay their employees through April 18 before furloughing, many of the top executives at Disney have announced their pay cuts. Bob Iger has announced that he will not be taking his pay until the company is up and running again and many have followed his lead, taking reduced paychecks of 30 or 50 percent of what they would usually make.

With this much turmoil within the company, Bob Iger has also taken back temporary control from Bob Chapek, who had only recently become chief executive officer, right before the novel coronavirus hit. Iger had been talking about retirement for quite some time but had always been asked to stay as CEO.

In February, Iger announced his official retirement and passed the torch on, becoming a chairman of the company instead. While Igers’ retirement has been suspended for now, it is suspected that he will still be handing off the company once the economic situation is resolved.

Disney+ has also seen its media library expanded in recent weeks. Many films that were only recently released in the box office are making their way to Disney+ months in advance. Films such as “Frozen 2,” which would have been available in the summer months, were added at the beginning of March. “Onward,” the most recent film from Pixar, was added at the beginning of April, almost immediately following its release at the box office. “Artemis Fowl,” the film adaptation, which was originally scheduled to release in 2019 but had to be refilmed, has now been pushed out to May 2020 and will be put immediately onto Disney+, with no time in the box office.

What does this mean for Marvel Phase Four and all the other heavy-hitting films scheduled to be released?  For the new “Mulan” adaptation, the release date has been postponed from March to a summertime release. All of Marvel Phase Four has been pushed back, starting with the “Black Widow” new release on Nov. 6, 2020, from the original May release date.

2020 promises to be a sparse year for Disney, with the release of only three Disney+ shows: The Falcon,” “Winter Soldier” and “WandaVision.”  2021 is now the heavy-hitting year for Marvel, with “Loki” and “What if…?” premiering as Disney+ shows, and the release of “Eternals,” “Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” the next “Spider-Man” film, and “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.”

What is going down in the park itself? With the demand that all non-essential employees not work, construction on the new Avengers Campus has been halted and will not be finished for the original summer release. Work has also stopped on the classic ride, Haunted Mansion, which was being revamped after the holiday season in preparation for the busy summer tourism. Additionally, all the work being done in Fantasy Land on King Arthur’s Carousel and Snow Whites Scary Adventures have also been stopped for the time being.

The parks have also declared that they will remain closed until June at the very least. Dining reservations are available following June 1 and hotel bookings are once again available.

Disney Annual Passholders are anxiously waiting for the parks to open again. All of the passholders have received multiple options for what to do with their passes during this time.

The first option, if a passholder is on the monthly payment plan, is that the payments and passes will be suspended for the duration of the closure, and will pick up again once the park is open.  

The second option, applying to both monthly payers and those who bought the passes in its entirety, is to be refunded for the unused time on the passes. For the passholders who did buy the passes all out, the passes are being extended for the duration of the closure.

With so much uncertainty in the world, Disney has tried to provide certainty and has been a source of comfort for many people, regardless if the parks are open or not. Fans eagerly await June in the hopes that they will once again have access to the parks, as well as the upcoming movie releases.

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