Disney says Hong Kong protests could wipe out $275 million in theme park profit

Disney is advising its Hong Kong workers not to show up at any of its six theme parks in the Asian country because of ongoing pro-democracy demonstrations that have shut down the city for more than two weeks.

The company issued a statement Monday saying that Hong Kong authorities expect „a number of disruptions over the next several days“ at the Hong Kong Disneyland, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney World in Florida and the Magic Kingdom, and Disney’s Shanghai Disney Resort, Disney Parks, Times Square Disney Resort and Animal Kingdom Parks and Resorts.

„Due to continued local and international attention and disruptions to local park operations, we have placed employees in affected areas on a one-week vacation. It has been estimated that this will negatively impact our first quarter park attendance by approximately 2% to 3% across the six parks,“ Disney spokesman Tom Ford said.

The company does expect some visitation to certain Disney resorts in China, but „modest growth“ is expected at Disney parks and resorts in Hong Kong and Macau as a result of tourists „committed to returning to the United States later in the first quarter of 2014.“

Disney, which has a unique connection to China, opened its first ever American-themed resort in the city in 2006. It had been an island off China’s southern coast with a resort on the south of the island of Hainan. The only Hollywood-themed resort on the island remains the Star Wars section at The Land of Heroes resort, at Gantong, which opened in 2008.

Since late November, anti-government protesters have occupied Hong Kong’s main financial district, demanding that the city’s leader, Leung Chun-ying, step down in favor of a pro-democratic candidate.

While the protests have had an uneven impact on Disney’s Hong Kong theme parks, Ford said, the company has seen some traffic bounce back. Disney reports it handles about 60% of its European theme park business from the region, while 40% of its U.S. and Canadian park revenue comes from China.

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