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Sunday, April 18, 2021

Disneyland Reopens With A French Quarter Makeover

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Disneyland reopened Friday night after two months of reconstruction work on its French Quarter area, and the union that represents about 800 Disneyland workers predicted the project will help boost revenues for its members — and eventually be good for the region.

The project began in August, when workers removed a roller coaster that broke apart on July 16 after being damaged during a power outage and forcing the evacuation of parts of the amusement park.

Bob Iger, Walt Disney Co.’s chief executive, said during an interview Thursday that the renovation work at Disneyland, which is adjacent to Disney California Adventure, was costing about $100 million.

He noted, however, that the company’s investment in the region had already put hundreds of new workers to work at Disneyland and the cost of the renovation would not immediately affect its earnings. He said that the project would benefit Disney over the long term, particularly when visitors begin spending money on things such as restaurants and souvenirs.

Even though park and resort revenues are dropping as a result of the downturn in consumer spending, the company has found “that even during a difficult economy, our parks and resorts turn out to be a little healthier than anticipated,” he said.

The theme park employee union, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, represents more than 2,100 workers at Disney’s California Adventure, including some at the Burbank park.

The Disney bills itself as “the happiest place on Earth,” and its parks are one of the central components of its business strategy.

For many Disney employees, the French Quarter revitalization project is closely tied to the success of the region as a tourist destination.

John Stankey, chief executive of Disney Parks and Resorts, said the company’s investment in the French Quarter would also be good for the economy.

For the French Quarter, construction work will return some of the once-bustling city streets to the traditional vibe of Central and South Louisiana, a stretch of the Mississippi River from Baton Rouge to the western border of New Orleans that had been little more than an industrial wasteland a few decades ago.

“We are committed to that neighborhood,” Mr. Stankey said. “It’s going to be a whole new area with the addition of the Disney park, so I think all of the businesses there are going to benefit.”

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