As of March 16, 2020, every Disney theme park around the world is closed in response to the growing concerns surrounding the coronavirus known as COVID-19, and Disney Parks fans wait with bated breath for April 1, 2020: the earliest day we can see the Walt Disney World Resort and the Disneyland Resort reopen their gates.
But as America’s shutdown situation continues to develop, we have more and more reason to suspect that Disneyland and Disney World could be closing for much longer. And our hearts ache because of it.
Just a few days before the writing of this article, Inside the Magic already brought up this idea when we reported that the CDC recommended that all gathering lager than 50 people for eight weeks. That means, if Disney complied with the recommendations, we would not see Disneyland or Disney World open until May 10, 2020. However, nothing has been confirmed, and at the time of this article’s publication, Disney has not yet announced a later reopening date — right now, April 1 is what is scheduled.
Still, a lot more has happened that would suggest this closure will be far more than a simple two-week break, and that the Walt Disney Company is being far more cautious when it comes to the health and wellbeing of its guests and cast members.
Florida Governor Releases Executive Order
On March 17, 2020, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued an executive order in an effort to continue to flatten the curve.
“Under the direction of Governor DeSantis, all bars and nightclubs throughout Florida will close for the next 30 days. Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) will be enforcing and providing further guidance…The Governor is directing parties accessing public beaches in the state of Florida to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance by limited their gatherings to no more than 10 persons…Restaurants across the state of Florida will now be required to limit customer entry to 50 percent of capacity. Seating must be staggered and limited to ensure seated parties are separated by a distance of at least six feet, in accordance with CDC guidelines.”
There is no word yet if DeSantis will do what California Governor Newsom did with Disneyland Resort and exempt Walt Disney World from these and any more executive orders that attempt to control population density during this pandemic.
California Governor Steps Up Containment Efforts
After setting restrictive guidelines against all unnecessary gatherings larger than 250 people, California Governor Gavin Newsom doubled down once again “asking our restaurants to close down, for the moment, provide takeout if they wish, and operate in that frame. But that will focus an alignment throughout the state of California at this point, we believe it’s necessary.”
Similar efforts have been made on the local level in areas like Los Angeles, close to where the Disneyland Resort is located. And a “shelter in place” policy is being implemented all across the state, particularly in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Disney Does the Right Thing On Its Own
Now it should be mentioned that Disney did not have to close its parks. However, Disney has proven that it will still voluntarily put the health and safety of its guests and cast members first and above all else in this time of crisis. In doing so, they have voluntarily sided with governors as well as the CDC and other health officials. Despite being given the exemption, the Walt Disney Company still elected to close the Disneyland Resort in California. Hours later, Disney announced that it would be temporarily closing the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, despite there being no such suggestions or regulations at the time in the Sunshine State.
Most recently, Disney decided to cease all construction in its parks, including Walt Disney World, to comply with the CDC’s suggestion of no gatherings greater than 10 or more people.
Right now, both the Disneyland Resort and the Walt Disney World resort are still scheduled to open back up after March 31. But if the situation doesn’t change and Disney continues to let its conscious be its guide, then we, unfortunately, could be waiting a lot longer. All other Disney parks remain closed around the world. This includes Shanghai Disneyland, Hong Kong Disneyland, Tokyo Disney Resort, and Disneyland Paris.
We hope that the parks will open as soon as possible, but we also are glad that Disney is taking the necessary precautions and following government and health leader recommendations by closing the parks for the time being. At this time, we don’t know for sure when the parks will reopen, but we trust that Disney will reopen them once it is safe to do so and they get the green light from other officials.