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Disney World Scales Back Hours Amid Disappointing Attendance

Company admitted July reopening fell short of expectations

Amid lower than expected attendance since reopening last month, Disney is scaling back its hours at four of its Florida theme parks, including the Magic Kingdom.

Beginning in September, Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom will each close an hour earlier, while Epcot will cut back by two hours each day. The changes take place Sept. 8 and through October.

Disney reopened the Orlando, Florida, theme park-resort on July 11 in hopes of easing the fiscal hit caused by the shutdown of movie theaters and other revenue streams as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately, as Disney Chief Financial Officer Christine McCarthy said during the company's quarterly conference call with Wall Street analysts on Tuesday, earnings from reopening Disney World fell well short of expectations.

The parks division lost out on $3.5 billion in operating income for the three months ending June 27, the company said. Overall, Disney's parks business pulled in just $983 million during its third quarter, which was an 85% slide compared with the $6.6 billion in revenue the parks earned during the same period last year.

"We've been able to achieve net contribution at current attendance levels," McCarthy said during the call, which was live streamed. "But the upside we are seeing from reopening is less than we previously expected due to the continued rise of COVID cases in Florida."