To say that it has been quite a year for Disney theme parks would be an understatement. After having to shut down for several months — and for Disneyland Resort, over a year — the parks were finally able to reopen, but with major modifications.
Currently, Disney World is operating at a limited capacity that is steadily increasing, and Disneyland is limited to a max capacity of 25%. Guests on Disney property must also wear masks and maintain a safe social distance between themselves and other parties.
However, since the release of the COVID-19 vaccine, things have been moving quickly, both throughout the country and, in turn, at Walt Disney World. Disney World recently eliminated mandatory temperature checks for its Cast Members beginning on May 8. Temperature checks for Guests visiting the Walt Disney World Resort will be ending on May 16.
In addition to getting rid of temperature checks, Disney World has also recently changed its social distancing guidelines. While Universal Orlando has stated that its physical distancing has been reduced from six feet to three feet, Disney World has only stated that they are reducing social distancing measures, but Guests should still maintain a safe social distance from one another, and a six-foot social distancing requirement will still be in place in some locations. Read more here.
Additionally Guests at Walt Disney World are allowed to remove their masks for outdoor photos as long as they are separated from other parties. Disney CEO Bob Chapek also hinted that more changes to face mask protocol at Disney Parks are coming soon.
With all of these changes being made to Disney World, that may leave people wondering — what about Disneyland?
When it comes to reopening various sectors of the state and loosening pandemic-era protocol, California is moving at a much slower pace than its Florida counterpart. While Florida has enabled Disney World to operate at full capacity for months (although Disney still limited capacity and only gradually increased it), Disneyland is currently limited to 25% capacity under Governor Gavin Newsom’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy since the county in which Disneyland Resort is located is still in tier 3 of the reopening plan.
Unlike Disney World, Disneyland is not making changes to its health and safety procedures at this time. Disneyland is still requiring temperature checks for all Guests and Cast Members. Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, Downtown Disney, and other areas of the property are also still enforcing six feet of social distancing between parties. Additionally, at Disneyland, Guests are not allowed to remove their masks for photos.
Newsom has stated that he plans to have the California economy fully reopened by June 15. That would mean that companies in California would be able to operate at full capacity with common-sense health policies in place. If the economy opens on June 15, Disneyland — under California requirements — would still require face masks, but could potentially operate at full capacity and adapt all of its health and safety protocol based on CDC guidelines and Disney’s own operating strategies.
Additionally, Governor Newsom said that there would be changes to the face mask mandate next month, as well, so we will have to wait and see how the California Disney Parks adapt their rules when it comes to masks since theme parks are considered large venues and have both indoor and outdoor spaces.
Big changes for the State of California could also mean that Disneyland and Disney California Adventure are on track to begin welcoming out-of-state Guests. Although the parks have not announced changes to the in-state visitors policy, we expect more information to come when California “fully reopens.”
While June 15 is the target date for an economic reopening for the State of California, more could happen at Disneyland Park before then. Orange County, California — where Disneyland is located — recently met the requirements to enter California’s least restrictive COVID-19 tier, tier 4. If Orange County continues to meet the threshold for tier 4 — the yellow tier — for two weeks, the move to tier 4 can be made official.
That move could mean that Disneyland would be able to increase its capacity from 25% to 35% in less than two weeks. In a call discussing second-quarter earnings, Disney CEO Bob Chapek seemed to indicate that Disneyland would be increasing capacity as soon as it is able to. Chapek stated:
“And since we’ve opened up Disneyland Resort, intent to visit is actually growing as well. So we’re thrilled with the Guest response to that. So, as capacity limits increased we don’t think we’re going to have any problem at all sort of increasing our attendance to match that capacity.”
Please note that while Orange County, CA is currently meeting the threshold to enter tier 4, things could change and there is no guarantee that the tier 4 move will happen yet. We have to wait for more updates from the State of California. As soon as we know more information and as soon as Disneyland increases capacity, we will update our website.
What do you think about the changes that could happen at Disneyland, including higher capacity and out-of-state Guests? Let us know in the comments!
CLICK HERE to get started booking your magical Disney getaway today with Academy Travel!