When Disneyland Resort closed on March 14, 2020, the original estimate was that Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park would reopen in two weeks.
Although many thought this 14-day estimate was overly optimistic, very few — if any — Disneyland fans could have predicted that the beloved Anaheim theme park would still be closed over nine months later.
Now, as both Pfizer and Moderna’s coronavirus vaccines have begun distribution, it seems likely that California Governor Gavin Newsom may simply wait until there is widespread availability before reopening the theme parks. There has been no official announcement regarding reopening dates, but the existing large theme park reopening guidelines would not allow Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park to reopen until Orange County enters the state’s yellow COVID-19 tier — when case numbers have significantly dropped.
Some health officials have indicated that this may not happen until the 2021 summer season, at which point there may be a widely available COVID-19 vaccination.
What are the current reopening guidelines?
Per our prior coverage of California’s theme park reopening protocols, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly:
For all theme parks, face masks are required, a reservation system must be implemented. When speaking to face masks, Dr. Ghaly said “Face coverings must be made available to visitors who lose their face coverings during a ride or attraction.”
“No indoor queuing is allowed for any attraction or ride. For indoor attractions and rides, develop an outdoor queuing system prior to entry into the attraction’s indoor operation,” Dr. Ghaly also said.
Furthermore, even when theme parks’ counties enter the minimal yellow tier, they are only allowed to operate at 25% capacity under the state’s present guidelines.
How could this change?
Presumably, as the coronavirus vaccine becomes more widely available to the general public, restrictions not only in California but in states throughout the United States may begin to become more relaxed.
As a result of this, there is the chance, for example, that Disneyland Resort officials will not have to limit capacity to 25% upon reopening — instead, perhaps they may be able to operate at a higher percentage of maximum capacity.
It is important to note that The Walt Disney Company might still impose their own restrictions — such as mandatory face masks for Guests age two and over and social distancing measures — even if the state does eventually opt to reduce restrictions. This is the case in Florida, where Governor Ron DeSantis is not currently imposing any specific theme park limitations, but Walt Disney World Resort does have regulations Guests must adhere to. It’s clear that the Disney Parks continue to look to health officials and the CDC for guidance when it comes to pandemic protocol, as indicated on both the Disney World and Disneyland websites.
In addition to impacting the overall operations of Disneyland Resort’s two theme parks — Disneyland and Disney California Adventure — the possibility of reopening without major COVID-19 restrictions could give hope to Cast Members who have been laid-off or furloughed as a result of the pandemic. The more areas Disneyland officials are able to reopen, the more Cast Members will be required to staff the Disney Resort property.
Plus, if COVID-19 case numbers drop, vaccines become available, and the spread of the virus is significantly slowed overall, that would mean good news for Disneyland Guests and Cast Members, as they would be able to enjoy and work at the parks safer than they would if Disneyland and Disney California Adventure were currently operating.
What is currently operating at Disneyland Resort?
Right now, Guests who visit Disneyland Resort property can go to the Downtown Disney District and the partially reopened Buena Vista Street section of Disney California Adventure theme park.
Under Governor Gavin Newsom’s regional stay-at-home order, shopping is available — though retail establishments must limit capacity — and restaurants are able to offer carryout service. However, all food and beverage items, including coffee and water, must be consumed off-site.
What do you think? Could Disneyland Resort reopen with limited — or no — restrictions as COVID-19 vaccine availability expands to those outside of the healthcare community and in vulnerable demographics?