Disney Theme Parks Will Remain Closed Indefinitely Because of Coronavirus

Disney's temporary shutdown of its theme parks just got a lot longer. The giant entertainment conglomerate said Friday that its parks will remain closed "until further notice."

Disney first announced on March 12—as did Universal Studios—that its theme parks would be shuttered through the end of the month. Now, for Disney, at least, it could conceivably stretch into the summer, though hourly employees will be paid only through April 18. Universal has extended its closure dates for parks in California and Florida to April 19.

"While there is still much uncertainty with respect to the impacts of COVID-19, the safety and well-being of our guests and employees remains the Walt Disney Company's top priority," a spokesperson said Friday.

The closure of Disneyland in California marks just the third time in its history, the first being after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 and the second being after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, which also affected the parks in Florida.

For the coronavirus pandemic, Disney has shut down its iconic parks in California and Florida, as well as those in Paris and China.

disney world parks coronavirus
Disney's theme parks will remain closed indefinitely during the coronavirus outbreak. Alex Menendez/Getty

"As a result of this unprecedented pandemic and in line with direction provided by health experts and government officials, Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort will remain closed until further notice," the spokesperson said.

"The Walt Disney Company has been paying its cast members since the closure of the parks, and in light of this ongoing and increasingly complex crisis, we have made the decision to extend paying hourly parks and resorts cast members through April 18."

In fiscal 2019, Disney's "Parks, Experiences and Products" segment was its largest source of revenue, generating $26.2 billion, 6 percent higher than a year earlier, though the unit is expected to take a massive hit in 2020.