Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, recently announced a plan for opening its gates following over three months of closure due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. On Wednesday, June 10, the company shared Disneyland's proposed summer reopening dates. The theme park, which closed on Saturday, March 14, had initially announced plans to begin reopening as soon as Friday, July 17. However, on Wednesday, June 24, via press release, Disneyland further explained its plans for reopening and announced its delaying the July 17 reopening date. The "State of California has now indicated that it will not issue theme park reopening guidelines until sometime after July 4," the release read. "Given the time required for us to bring thousands of cast members back to work and restart our business, we have no choice but to delay the reopening of our theme parks and resort hotels until we receive approval from government officials." (This post was updated after guidance changed from Disneyland Resorts on June 24, and we will continue to update this post as new dates and information on attending parks are released.)
The initial June 10 post on the Disney Parks Blog proposed reopening would happen in three phases. The first phase would see the Downtown Disney District reopen on Thursday, July 9, in accordance with the state's reopening guidelines. As of June 24, Disneyland's press release confirmed the reopening dates for Downtown Disney District are still on track to reopen on July 9 "as previously announced with health and safety protocols in place for our cast members and guests," according to the press release. The approval is on par with the state of California's restaurant and retail openings. A week later, on Friday, July 17, Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park were supposed to reopen, and the Grand Californian Hotel and Spa and Paradise Pier Hotel were to reopen the following week, on Thursday, July 23. As of June 24, the proposed reopening dates for Disneyland Park, California Adventure Park, and the Disneyland hotels are delayed, and there are no set reopening dates.
The announcement of the delays comes as California experiences a rise in COVID-19 cases, with the state reporting 7,149 new positive cases of COVID-19, which is caused by the novel coronavirus, on June 24. Disney explained in the June 24 release that the new reopening dates are dependent on the guidance coming from the state, which isn't expected to come until after July 4: “Once we have a clearer understanding of when guidelines will be released, we expect to be able to communicate a reopening date.” In the release, Disney also points to the fact it needs time to negotiate contracts to include enhanced safety and health protocols with its employees. The company says it has “signed agreements from 20 union affiliates, including the Master Services Council, which represents more than 11,000 of our cast members,” per the June 24 release.
While most of the initial reopening dates have been delayed for the California theme park, the Downtown Disney reopening is on track for July 9, and Disney released information about health and safety protocols in an update on the Disneyland website on June 22. Guests will be required to wear face masks, abide by physical distancing markers, and have access to additional hand-washing and hand sanitizer facilities throughout the Downtown Disney District. In addition to limited parking and a reduced number of entrances, Disney also warns guests there is “an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 currently exists in any public place where people are present,” and guests assume that responsibility when entering the downtown area.
As for guidance when Disneyland Park and California Adventure Park reopen at a later date, the initial information from the June 10 release indicated visitors, including Annual Passholders, will need to reserve a spot via the new theme park reservation system to gain entrance to Disneyland or California Adventure. Because of a reduced capacity, these park reservations will be subject to availability, and Disneyland will not sell new tickets, annual passes, or new hotel bookings, in order to give priority to guests who had to cancel their trips due to the resort's coronavirus closure. New ticket sales will resume sometime after Annual Passholders and people with existing tickets have had a chance to visit the parks.
According to the June 10 announcement, when they reopen, Disneyland parks will also temporarily pause experiences that draw large crowds, including parades and nighttime shows, as well as character meet-and-greets, to ensure the health and safety of guests and Cast Members. Disneyland Resort will also increase sanitization efforts and promote physical distancing throughout the parks.
The resort hasn't offered other specifics on health and safety policies that will be implemented when the parks eventually reopen, but you can look to other parks as a guide. Disney World in Orlando, Florida, previously announced it would reopen as early as Saturday, July 11, with several precautionary measures in place. If they take a similar route in California, Disneyland's precautions could include requirements like face masks for all guests ages 3 and up in highly populated areas in the theme parks, and a temperature check before you are admitted to the park. The company says it will share updated precautionary measures on the Disneyland Resort website in the near future.
When a reopening proposal is approved, you'll want to keep the COVID-19 recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in mind. As of June 12, the CDC recommends you avoid gathering in large groups or going out in public if you're feeling sick. If you're well and do go out, the CDC still recommends social distancing, wearing face coverings, and regularly washing your hands after coming into contact with surfaces that may be contaminated.
You can stay up-to-date with all the reopening updates on the official Disney Parks News Twitter account.
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