Disney World (NYSE:DIS)
As of Tuesday morning, central Florida, a major tourist hub, is directly in Hurricane Ian’s path. The state is bracing for what is shaping up to be the worst hurricane to strike the state since 2018. As early as Wednesday night, forecast models show it making landfall in the state from the Gulf Coast. On Thursday, some tracks have it passing near Disney’s (NYSE:DIS) famous Florida resort. Despite that, Disney stock plunged in the market.
Disney World (NYSE:DIS) has already stated that Typhoon Lagoon and its miniature golf attractions will close on Wednesday and Thursday. The resort is also making plans to relocate its campers and bungalow residents. Decisions on its four most profitable theme parks are expected shortly. Competition comes from nearby competitors, SeaWorld Entertainment (NYSE:SEAS) and Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA). Given that SeaWorld has already stated that its Busch Gardens theme park in Tampa would be closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays, it’s probable that Universal will follow Disney’s stock example with its gated attractions.
Take You on a Ride in a Whirlwind of Sound.
There are obviously more important things at risk in Florida than the safety of a few gated attractions in the center of the state during a windstorm. Florida and its neighboring states will suffer many fatalities and extensive property damage. There are gas and water bottle shortages, as well as evacuations, to deal with. But I’m not a weather expert. A lot is going on in Florida right now with Hurricane Ian and the theme parks I cover.
Formerly, late September was the quiet time to plan vacation trips, sandwiched between the hectic summer travel months and the first few weeks of November. Orlando’s scenery has evolved. Epcot at Disney World was the first to host an annual festival to attract partygoers and foodies, the International Food and Wine Festival. Starting in mid-August, all three park companies begin hosting Halloween-themed events, for which guests must purchase a special admission ticket and enter the parks after dark.
Due to its inland location, Orlando has historically been less affected by hurricanes. Winds weaken when the storms cross land instead of water. The path the storm takes might possibly change. But the major theme park companies in Florida must be prepared. As a result, Disney stock is in the red this morning.
As expected, the storm will cause some trouble. As of Monday, Disney World (NYSE:DIS) said it will no longer charge customers who cancel or change their reservations at Disney hotels or restaurants. Some people may cancel their trips this week because of the storm’s unknown route and potential impact. Turnstiles should be unlocked later this week, rain or shine, even if the parks are closed. Epcot turns 40 on Saturday, and guests shouldn’t wait long to return with the celebration and new attractions. However, even the most well-laid travel arrangements may go awry if arrival and departure planes cancel. Causing the Disney World stock to decline.
Florida is more than just its gated communities of escape. However, the tourist industry is a vital economic engine for the state. Hurricane Ian is an additional challenge for Disney World and its competitors in light of the growing fears of how inflation, increasing interest rates, and a recession may dampen consumer demand in the foreseeable future.
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