ORLANDO, Fla. – Disney CEO Bob Chapek said the Delta variant of COVID-19 caused a brief dip in attendance at its U.S. parks but the company continues to see encouraging signs of recovery.

What You Need To Know

  •  Bob Chapek, CEO of The Walt Disney Company, discussed the impact COVID-19 has had on the parks

  •  The comments came during the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference

  • Chapek said the company used the time the parks were closed to "reconceive" the guest experience, implementing changes

“We saw a bit of an impact in terms of a slowdown of our guests coming to our parks, but then Labor Day happened and then all of a sudden things started to recover quite nicely,” Chapek said Tuesday at an investor conference.

Chapek appeared virtually as part of the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference.

He also talked about how the company used the park closures last year to “reconceive the guest experience” and implement a number of changes to park operations. One of those changes is the park pass reservation system, which Chapek called the “backbone” of the strategy.

“It gives us the ability not to really on a real-time basis to direct people, to make sure we have the right nix of guests in the park and control demand in ways that frankly we’ve never been able to do,” he said.

Disney is also getting ready to launch its new Disney Genie service this year. The free service include planning tools that helps visitors navigate their day at the parks. There will also be a new paid service, Disney Genie+, that allows visitors to use Lightning Lanes to bypass the regular standby queues.

Chapek said the Genie service will enhance the guest experience.

“Things like Genie, either the free part of Genie, the complimentary part of Genie, that’s going to improve everyone’s visit to our parks and ensure that they minimize wait times and maximize the fun,” he said.

The company also implemented a number of health and safety measures at its parks when they reopened. Although many of those measures have been lifted, Disney reinstated the indoor mask mandate at its parks.

Chapek previously served as chairman of Disney Parks & Resorts before becoming CEO of the company in early 2020, just before the pandemic hit.


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