Walt Disney Company loses more than $7 billion this year due to COVID-19 pandemic

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — The Walt Disney Company said it lost more than $7 billion this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The loss, while not a huge surprise, means recovery is still a long way off.

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Disney Parks, Experiences and Products saw about a $2.4 billion impact due to COVID-19 during its fourth quarter, the company announced during its earnings report Thursday.

Park revenue for the fourth quarter decreased 61%, to about $2.6 billion compared to the last fiscal year, Disney said. Segment operating results also decreased $2.5 billion, to a loss of $1.1 billion.

The total net adverse impact of COVID-19 on segment operating income for the fourth quarter was expected to be about $2.4 billion, Disney said.

READ: ‘The only feasible option’: Disney Parks to lay off 28K workers in Florida, California

The lower operating results for the fourth quarter were due to decreases at both the domestic and international parks, Disney said. However, capacity has increased from 25% when the parks first reopened to about 35% now at Walt Disney World.

The company held a webcast Thursday, which was the anniversary of the company’s new streaming service Disney Plus, which now has 73 million paid subscribers.

“Even with the disruption caused by COVID-19, we’ve been able to effectively manage our businesses while also taking bold, deliberate steps to position our company for greater long-term growth,” Disney CEO Bob Chapek said in a news release. “The real bright spot has been our direct-to-consumer business, which is key to the future of our company, and on this anniversary of the launch of Disney+ we’re pleased to report that, as of the end of the fourth quarter, the service had more than 73 million paid subscribers – far surpassing our expectations in just its first year.”

READ: SeaWorld says it will permanently lay off some of its furloughed workers

During the earnings call Thursday, the company announced Walt Disney World generated enough revenue to cover costs this quarter.

In Disney’s last earnings call in August, the company said its theme parks took a $5 billion hit after shutting down for several months because of the pandemic.

Disneyland in California remains closed.

The company recently laid off 28,000 cast members at its theme parks in Orlando and Anaheim.

Disney did not say when it expects to ease social distancing and mask restrictions, but did say it’s expecting to spend $1 billion next year to stay open during the pandemic.

One thing not discussed was if anymore employees would be laid off. In September and October, Walt Disney World told the state it would lay off more than 17,000 people by the end of the year.

Cierra Putman

Cierra Putman, WFTV.com

Cierra Putman flew south to join Eyewitness News in July 2016.

Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.

Katlyn Brieskorn, WFTV.com

Katlyn Brieskorn is a Digital Assignment Editor at WFTV. She joined Channel 9 in July 2019.