The State of California plans to reopen the economy on June 15, and with that will come lifted restrictions for businesses everywhere in the state. But there are separate recommendations for “mega-events” — and theme parks are included. So, what does this mean for the Disneyland Resort theme parks?
Based on the new “Beyond the Blueprint” guidelines, here are some new recommendations that will be in place for theme park operations from June 15 onward. Based on this, we can share how Disneyland may change operations beginning next month. Disney also continues to release official information regarding how they are responsibly adjusting Disneyland operations based on what they are allowed to do, so we have continued to update this article as more details are revealed.
Normalizing theme park operations is a priority for The Walt Disney Company. Disney CEO Bob Chapek indicated on May 24 that the “goal is to get to normalized operations as soon as possible, as soon as practical, and as soon as responsible,” for both Disney World and Disneyland theme parks. Also, note that Disneyland has already announced that temperature checks are being eliminated, already signaling the move “back to normal.” You can read more here.
One of the biggest questions that Disney fans have is, when will the Disney Parks no longer require face masks? This question is especially pertinent now since Disney World recently ended the requirement for Guests to wear masks outside while Disneyland still has all face mask rules in place.
Well, we have some clarity on that based on the new guidance from the State of California. The updated guidelines state that mega-events (including theme parks) should follow the current California Department of Public Health Guidance for Face Coverings. At this time, here is what that guidance states:
- For fully vaccinated persons, face coverings are not required outdoors except when attending crowded outdoor events, such as live performances, parades, fairs, festivals, sports events, or other similar settings.
- For unvaccinated persons, face coverings are required outdoors any time physical distancing cannot be maintained, including when attending crowded outdoor events, such as live performances, parades, fairs, festivals, sports events, or other similar settings.
- In indoor settings outside of one’s home, including public transportation, face coverings continue to be required regardless of vaccination status, except as outlined below.
- As defined in the CDPH Fully Vaccinated Persons Guidance, fully vaccinated people can*:
Visit, without wearing masks or physical distancing, with other fully vaccinated people in indoor or outdoor settings; and
Visit, without wearing masks or physical distancing, with unvaccinated people (including children) from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease in indoor and outdoor settings
So, according to the guidance, face masks are not required for fully vaccinated people while outdoors unless they are attending a crowded outdoor event. Face masks are also required for unvaccinated people while outdoors when physical distancing cannot be maintained, including at crowded outdoor events. Since theme parks are considered “mega-events,” it stands to reason that Disneyland could still require face masks outside after June 15, though the parks haven’t yet clarified this.
Additionally, face masks are required in indoor settings regardless of a person’s vaccination status. At Walt Disney World in Florida, face masks are required in all indoor locations like attractions and merchandise shops, so it is likely that Disneyland in California will still require face masks in indoor settings after June 15.
Since these are current face mask guidelines, it is likely that these guidelines will change come June 15 since California Governor Gavin Newsom said that the outdoor face mask mandate will be lifted at that time. However, since theme parks like Disneyland are considered “mega-events,” it is also possible that they could have to follow different rules. No matter what, theme parks are supposed to follow the most up-to-date face mask guidance by the CDPH.
Vaccine and Negative Test Verification
The new guidance that applies to theme parks in California states that COVID-19 vaccine verification and negative testing are required for indoor “mega-events” and recommended for outdoor “mega-events.”
Even though the guidelines share what counts as verification, they also state that self-attestation is acceptable. For example, even though Disneyland Resort encourages Guests to bring proof of California residency to the parks, they also require the ticket purchaser to acknowledge that they and everyone in their travel party is a California resident. Similarly, it was speculated that it would be possible that Disneyland could require Guests to attest that they are vaccinated or tested negative for COVID-19 without exactly requiring proof.
At this time, Disneyland Resort does not require proof of vaccination or negative testing for any Guests entering the theme parks. Since this article was initially published, Disney has officially announced that vaccinations and negative COVID-19 tests are recommended but not required.
The State of California strongly recommends that all guests be fully vaccinated or obtain a negative COVID-19 test prior to entering the theme parks. In addition, all guests will be required to wear an approved face covering throughout their visit at the Disneyland Resort.
As always, our procedures may change as we continue to update our health and safety processes based on guidance from the state of California and local health officials. The latest details to know before you go can be found on Disneyland.com/Updates. We recommend that you check back on the website often, as information continues to be updated.
On April 30, Disneyland and Disney California Adventure reopened to the public and were operating at 25% capacity. In May, Disneyland and Disney California Adventure were allowed to increase capacity to 35%. Disney officials have continued to share that they are prepared to (and plan to) increase theme park capacity at the Disneyland Resort as soon as they are allowed to do so.
So, it is expected that capacity will increase even more after June 15 since theme parks are allowed to operate without capacity restrictions. Very soon, we should be Disneyland getting “back to normal” when it comes to the number of Guests that are allowed in the park. Just like at Disney World, Disneyland will likely be slowly ramping up back to a “normal” capacity level.
There are not any restrictions in place when it comes to physical distancing. So, as theme park capacity increases, presumably social distancing restrictions will be eliminated. This means that we could see Disney reduce the social distancing measures from the current six-feet guidelines and instead simply recommend for Guests to separate themselves from other parties.
This also means that, if social distancing measures do not have to be in place, we could see some Disneyland and Disney California Adventure amenities return. Perhaps this summer Disneyland Resort will be able to bring back FASTPASS, MaxPass, and Single Rider (which are currently suspended) and nighttime entertainment. Disney hasn’t announced when these amenities will be coming back, but if the theme parks won’t be held to any sort of physical distancing requirement for Guests and Cast Members, then maybe soon we can see things like Single Rider lines, parades, and fireworks shows return.
Additionally, we could see the removal of plexiglass/plastic barriers from attractions. We will share more information if this is a change that occurs soon.
Also, when it comes to social distancing and queues, currently, Disneyland and Disney California Adventure attractions have to operate at a limited capacity, and all queuing has to take place outdoors. But once restrictions are lifted, this will change. This is a huge deal for Disneyland Resort rides because it means they will be able to board more Guests, and the queues won’t stretch nearly as long with social distancing reduced and with indoor queing allowed.
Ever since Disneyland and Disney California Adventure reopened, the theme parks have only allowed California residents to enter. Disney says this on the official Disneyland Resort website and also shares that proof of residency may be required.
However, how will this change when California reopens on June 15?
The new guidelines say that “mega-events” should follow all CDC and CDPH recommendations when it comes to travelers. The most recent update to the CDPH website says, “Non-essential travelers from other states or countries, are strongly discouraged from entering California.” But in just a few weeks, when the state “fully reopens” the economy, it is likely that we will see that travel advisory change.
And now, we know that come June 15, it is true that out-of-state Guests will be allowed to visit Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. Disney has now officially shared the following:
Today, we’re pleased to announce that beginning June 15, 2021, we will once again be able to welcome travelers from outside the state of California back to our theme parks! Out-of-state visitors may now begin booking their return to the parks on Disneyland.com. Until June 15, all guests visiting the Disneyland Resort must be California residents visiting in groups no larger than 3 households.*
So, what do you think about Disneyland getting “back to normal”? Are there any restrictions that you don’t want to see go away? What do you want to see change? Let us know in the comments!
This article has been updated since it was originally published.