It’s been a little over three years since the world was first taken over by the pandemic. While the world is certainly irrevocably changed for it, and we’re slowly coming out of the pandemic, there are still parts of the world where the effects of COVID-19 are still felt. It appears that the House of Mouse is not past this yet, either. The Walt Disney Company recently shared its Notice of Annual Meeting of Shareholders and Proxy Statement, and it appears the Mouse House is still wading through murky waters. In this statement, Disney shared the struggles they anticipate and face due to having survived COVID-19 pandemic.
When it comes to the Walt Disney Company’s operations, the pandemic primarily affected Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products sector was most impacted. As mentioned in the statement, Disney Theme Parks and Disney Resorts—whether the domestic ones like Walt Disney World Resort in Central Florida and Disneyland Resort in Southern California or international ones like Disneyland Paris, Shanghai Disneyland, Hong Kong Disneyland, and more—had to shut down, and the Disney Cruise Line cruises were temporarily tabled. While these have now been reopened (although some go through occasional closures still), Disney took the time to mention that many of these businesses continue to experience the impacts and effects of the pandemic.
Disney also mentioned that the effects of the pandemic on their operations also made forward-looking statements more difficult. They stated plainly that COVID has already adversely impacted them by reducing their income and reducing their net cash flow. The company’s ability to bounce back from this and correctly predict its future trajectory would be dependent on how long the COVID-19 disruptions lasted and impacted the company.
While Disney has been bouncing back from the pandemic, and despite this report, the Disney Parks sector has been one of their most consistently profitable sectors over the last few years, the company is conservative in its approach. The Walt Disney Company made sure to clarify, after facing these struggles due to COVID-19, that any future projections were based on their view of the economy and world at present rather than a “promise,” and were subject to strategic changes and reorganization. It’s certainly an endeavor the company has already begun, with Disney CEO Bob Iger announcing this during their FY Q1 call.
The future is uncertain, but it seems that the Walt Disney Company is walking in the direction of progress and leaving behind ghosts that still haunt them from the past.