By now, you have likely heard that California’s Governor Gavin Newsom and his staff have finally released a plan to reopen the state, albeit ever so slowly. And while this excited a great many people within the state, it sent far more into quite the frenzy, and for good reason.
California and more specifically, its Los Angeles, San Diego, and Orange counties are home to some of the nation’s largest and most visited theme parks, with Disneyland being the most prominent.
But while restaurants, gyms, and a great many other industries have been given the go-ahead to begin opening their doors to the public on a more permanent basis in the Golden State, theme parks and entertainment have been put on what we can call an extremely long waiting list. According to Newsom’s “The Science,” it seems the earliest Disneyland and other parks in the state could open would be March of 2021.
However, this isn’t exactly an option for most of the parks. After doing nothing but pretty much sitting on their hands for nearly nine months now, park executives and staff are already concerned about making ends meet. Waiting until some unknown time next year will only put them in a deeper hole, and one they won’t likely be able to climb out of easily.
Naturally, heads of the parks are not happy about Newsom’s decision and made sure to let him know, claiming that they have been successful in reopening properties in other states with little to no negative impact on the general population, as well as citing that Newsom’s guidelines will only further hurt the communities that rely so heavily upon the parks’ existence.
But what are they to do? It’s not like they are in a position to sway the governor to see things their way.
Or are they?
According to Forbes, the very next day after Newsom’s not so exciting news was announced, the Executive Director of the California Attractions and Parks Association, of which Disney is naturally a part of, said: “that a lawsuit was under consideration and ‘all options are open at this point.”
Among those other options are ideas of moving Disney or at least a majority of its staff out of California. Clearly, they can’t just pick up the entire theme park, resorts, and all that goes with it and put in another state. However, it could move parts of their enterprises such as their “studios to states such as Colorado, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, and other locales,” according to WDW Pro’s website.
Additionally, they could choose to use ABC News, which they own, to begin spewing “negative coverage of California and the governor in order to move public opinion.” As they said, all options are on the table. And if Gavin Newsom is going to keep parks closed in California to maintain his current political status and power, regardless of what it is doing to communities that he is responsible for, WDW can certainly play that game too.
And Disney is prepared to not play very nicely. It was also cited that beyond trying to hurt the governor’s current public reputation, they could choose to start backing his opponents, using any means necessary to put those people in a more positive light and Newsom in the opposite.
Moreover, according to ABC News, that has already begun. On Friday, a local ABC News affiliate in California published a story citing all the damages that had been done to the state’s economy due to Newsom’s ongoing lockdown measures.
“Cal State Fullerton economists say the loss could total $5 billion dollars. According to the Orange County Register, the Southland’s economy has already lost $3 billion dollars. Another $2 billion dollars could be lost if Disneyland remains shut down through next March. The economists based their estimates on numbers from last year. The economists also believe there will be a total loss of 46,000 jobs. Orange County could potentially take the biggest hit, with 33,000 of those jobs lost.”
Not exactly what you would call good PR, huh?
However, for now, at least, Newsom isn’t changing his mind. On Tuesday, he doubled down on his rules, insisting that they should be followed to keep people safe and alive.
We’ll see how long his story lasts with companies like Disney, Legoland, and Universal Studios all breathing down his neck…