It’s not uncommon to hear Disney fans (myself included) criticize Disney for over-charging, nickel-and-diming, and money-grabs. Those are fair criticisms. However, we must equally be willing to point out, and praise, decisions that fly in the face of corporate self-interest. This is one of those times.
Disney’s decision to close Disneyland, Disney World, and Disneyland Paris, as well as the decision to cancel all Disney cruise departures through April 12th, is evidence of placing public safety over profits. We don’t see that a lot these days, so when we do, it’s important to point it out.
Some may say that Disney is avoiding the bad PR that would come along with remaining open in spite of the warnings, but I’ll point out a few facts. First, in California, the governor instituted a ban on gatherings over 250 people, but specifically excluded the theme parks from that order. Nonetheless, Disney decided out of an abundance of caution to close the parks all the same. Disney World and Disney Cruise Line were under no such order by the governor of Florida, yet they followed suit.
I can tell you personally from my discussions with people inside Disney that their main focus was to react in a measured fashion – not to incite panic with overreaction – but to also weigh the FACTS as outlined by qualified doctors and scientists and make a decision that would be in the best interest of their guests, and public safety as a whole. The Centers for Disease Control, as well as numerous other reputable organizations, have clearly explained the importance of this. The spread of this virus is not going to be stopped because a theme park closes. What will happen is that the number of people getting sick will lessen enough so that our hospitals, doctors, nurses and first responders can better handle the increase in demand for medical intervention.
Disney is being a responsible citizen, and we need to follow that example. Our lives are going to change for the foreseeable future. We may not be able to do some of the things that define our normal routine. Our vacations may be upended, our daily routine will almost certainly change (unless you’re a pasty white hermit like me, then you’re fine). So, for the time being, we are going to have to embrace a new normal.
As the owner of the DIS, I’ve struggled with what kind of content we should be publishing right now. We need to address coronavirus honestly and openly, but at the same time, I don't want us to come across as though we're oblivious to what's going on with this situation. However, I feel like it’s also important that we focus on our ‘happy place’ without sticking our head in the sand. We’re going to continue to post content as we always have while maintaining information on changes and updates around the current situation as needed. This too shall pass, and when it does, I plan on going on a nice, long vacation.