California Governor Gavin Newsom has set his sights on the Walt Disney World Resort.
Yesterday, Newsom announced that he would be sending a team to the mega-resort to get a first-hand impression of what Disney has implemented in terms of health and safety protocols.
When asked what Newsom and his team in California have learned from theme parks in Florida, the governor shared the following:
“I have a whole team that spends their time not only getting the answer to that question, but asking those same questions. And so this week as a proof point of that, we have supported an effort to actually find out directly by sending our own team to these sites, as it relates to theme parks, to get a better sense of what’s going on. While we absolutely take people’s word for information that they provide us, we want to see things for ourselves.”
But it has now also come out that last week, he also sent a team into the Florida theme parks to observe things for themselves:
“We sent health officials to open and operating theme parks out of state last week, independently of operators, to assess the health safeguards in practice,” according to California Health and Human Services Agency spokesperson Kate Folmar. “These visits will help inform our pending theme park guidance.”
This news comes after several Disney officials spoke out against Newsom’s decision to further delay the reopening of the Disneyland Resort based on a “health-first” approach. Most notably, Disney’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Pamela Hymel said the following:
“We absolutely reject the suggestion that reopening the Disneyland Resort is incompatible with a “health-first” approach. The fact is, that since March we have taken a robust science-based approach to responsibly reopening our parks and resorts across the globe. Our health and safety protocols were developed in consultation with epidemiologists and data scientists, and after considering guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and experts in local government and health agencies. All of our other theme parks both in the United States and around the world have been allowed to open on the strength of our proven ability to operate with responsible health and safety protocols.”
Both the official and unofficial visits by Newsom’s team will presumably be looking to learn how Disney implements and enforces their health and safety protocols on a day-to-day basis. This includes ensuring the proper use of face coverings, maintaining social distancing, limiting capacity, and increasing sanitation methods, among other protocol that has been implemented since the Florida Disney Parks reopened in July.
But Newsom’s move to send a team to the parks ahead of the official visit may instill a lack of overall trust in the Walt Disney Company.
Speaking of his team, Newsom said he will be relying on “their own experience [and] insight”:
“We’re trying to get a better handle on what we’re being told, what we’re reading about, and our own concerns and our own environment as it relates to what makes our theme parks discinctive and unique. And one of the thing’s that’s self-evident that makes them distinct and unique is location, in and around areas where there’s background transmission rates that are remaining reltively stable in some cases, stubborn in other cases.”
After essentially calling Disney’s bluff and hopefully finding some comfort in how they truly handle their safety measures, Newsom’s team might finally see the applications Disney’s decisions have for Disneyland. But it is also likely that California will still want to enforce much stricter health and safety protocols after the team returns from their visit, especially given the back-and-forth that has occurred when it comes to the reopening guidelines:
Newsom reiterated the following yesterday:
“We are California, and we have values, and we have an approach, and we have a new frame of discipline. And we’re going to be stubborn in terms of keeping people’s health front and center and balancing all of these commensurate challenges as it relates to getting people back to work and addressing people’s isolation and stress and anxiety, and getting our kids back to in-person learning, and the incredible importance that we place on all of that at the same time.”
Only time will tell what Newsom’s team thinks of their visit to Disney World and if the visit will help get Disneyland Park, Disney California Adventure Park, and the Hotels of the Disneyland Resort open again. We at Inside the Magic will continue to wish upon a star that it does, and we will update our readers if any developments come to light.
Do you think a visit to Walt Disney World will change Gov. Newsom’s mind? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments!