When Disneyland and Disney California Adventure open up to Guests on April 30, there will be a big change to the people who are in attendance. All of them will come from the state of California. The same can be said for Guests at Universal Studios Hollywood, which opens April 16, and every other California theme park.
That is because current Californian guidelines state that theme parks can only be open to residents of the state. That is to try to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and keep Guests and employees as safe as possible. Each state has different guidelines, with California trying to minimize COVID-19 cases by discouraging out-of-state visitors.
These guidelines leave many out-of-state Guests wondering: when will they be able to visit Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood?
The simple answer is we don’t know. The California Department of Public Health still has travel advisories for all travelers entering the state of California. It also has no indication of an end date mentioned in its theme park guidelines.
Guidelines currently state that the in-state residents-only guidelines are in effect for all tiers in the reopening plan — the rule that only in-state visitors can visit California theme parks is separate from the tier system.
Orange County, where Disneyland is located, and Los Angeles County, where Universal Studios Hollywood is located, both recently entered tier 3, the orange tier, meaning they are allowed to operate at 25% capacity.
The out-of-state guidelines do not currently have an end date but, based on the current guidelines, it seems that out-of-state visitors will likely only be allowed to visit Disneyland Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood once the State of California is no longer discouraging out-of-state visitors from coming to CA. Visiting a theme park is considered nonessential travel, and the California Department of Public Health currently states the following:
- Except in connection with essential travel[ii], Californians should avoid non-essential travel outside of California, to other states or countries. Avoiding travel reduces the risk of virus transmission, including by reducing the risk that new sources of infection and, potentially, new virus strains will be introduced to California.
- Non-essential travelers from other states or countries, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status, are strongly discouraged from entering California, and should adhere to the quarantine procedures set forth below.
- Non-essential travelers should get tested 3-5 days upon arrival into California and stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel, even if their test is negative.
- Non-essential travelers who don’t get tested should stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel.
The state may also decide to keep the restrictions until the entire state is below the yellow tier requirements and COVID-19 cases are lower than ever, but currently it is unclear when that will occur.
Keep in mind, however, that the vaccination rate in California is increasing on a daily basis. As more people receive vaccinations, the transmission rate of COVID-19 will hopefully continue to drop. The increase in vaccinations and decrease in virus cases across the state will mean California counties will continue to move into less restrictive tiers. The quicker that happens, the faster California can move away from the more restrictive guidelines.
Note that it is also possible that the State of California and the California Department of Public Health can revise their guidance at any time.
Even with the current restrictions in place, Disney CEO Bob Chapek is keeping a positive outlook on the opening of the theme parks, stating:
“While we’re figuring all this out, we’re also importantly making sure that when we reenter into the marketplace in a bigger way that we’re gonna have a better Guest experience. You know, this gives us the opportunity to make some step function changes on things we’ve always wanted to do in the park, in terms of the Guest experience and then yielding those changes for the advantage of our shareholders. So, this is the perfect time to make operational changes.”
While we have no concrete dates for when out-of-state residents will be able to visit Disneyland and Universal Studios, we will make sure to keep you posted on any updates when we hear about them!
Are you an out-of-state theme park lover? What do you think about California’s in-state-only rule? Let us know!