Disneyland & Walt Disney World to remain closed because of coronavirus

ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 23: Walt Disney World remains closed to the public due to the Coronavirus threat on March 23, 2020 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images) (Alex Menendez, 2020 Alex Menendez)

Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World resort in Florida will remain closed until further notice as the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread in the United States, the company said.

Disney earlier this month announced the closure of Disneyland and Walt Disney World — the only two of Disney’s eleven parks around the world that still remained open amid the global pandemic. The company had originally planned to keep the US parks closed through the end of March.

The extended closure announced Friday highlights the impact to travel and tourism, as government and public health officials urge people to stay at home to stop the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.

It's not just Disney — the Santa Anita Park race track in Los Angeles also announced it will temporarily close for live horse racing in response to a mandate from county officials. The more than 1,700 horses who are stabled at the park are cared for by 750 backstretch team members, most of whom live on-site and are operating under new safety measures, the track's owners said in a statement.

For Disney, the continued closure of its theme parks is significant. The parks are a major revenue driver for the entertainment company: Disney generated more than $26 billion in sales at its Parks, Experiences and Products division in fiscal 2019, representing 37% of the company's overall revenue.

"The safety and well-being of our guests and employees remains The Walt Disney Company's top priority," the company said in its Friday statement.

Disney's shares fell 8.5% on Friday.

The closures comes at a moment of major transition for Disney. Last month, Bob Iger stepped down as the company’s CEO, naming Bob Chapek as his replacement, whose previous role was chairman of Disney Parks.

The company has urged its domestic employees at Walt Disney Studios, Walt Disney Television, ESPN and at its direct-to-consumer, parks and products divisions to work from home amid the coronavirus outbreak.