California Tourism and What Travelers Need to Know

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Pixar Pier and balloons at Disney California Adventure Park at Disneyland Resort

Credit: Disney

California reopened on June 15, but how is the tourism industry recovering in the Golden State? Here is the latest information on California tourism, traveling to California, and what to know if you are planning to visit the major theme parks like Disneyland Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood.

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California Competes With Florida For Top Tourism Spot

Disneyland vs. Disney World? It’s an age old question — but right now, we’re not trying to spark debate over which theme park destination is better. Rather, we’re sharing the fact that California (home to Disneyland Resort) and Florida (home to Walt Disney World Resort) are currently competing for the top tourism spot in the nation, something that has been going on for years.

Related: California Governor Stresses Importance of Disneyland For State’s Recovery

Only now, it’s clear that while Florida tourism is continuing to recover, California’s tourism industry is still trying to catch up, when the Golden State was previously in the lead before the pandemic era began.

mickey and minnie disney world 50th outfits
Credit: Disney

A July article in The Los Angeles Times described how California — which did not fully reopen until June 15 — is trying to catch up with Florida, which reopened tourism far earlier. California and Florida are traditionally “fierce competitors” when it comes to tourism.

But because Florida had not shut down its tourist destinations, hotels, theme parks, and travel for nearly as long as California had, the Sunshine State is ahead of the Golden State in three major areas: “total travel spending, hotel occupancy rates and the number of airline seats on planes bringing in visitors.”

Per The LA Times: 

But with the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, California is now welcoming visitors back, and the state’s tourism leaders hope to return California to its place as the nation’s most popular destination. To do that, they are spending $95 million to promote the state this fiscal year, compared with about $36 million in pre-pandemic years.

Although the spread of the Delta variant is increasing coronavirus cases across the country and in California, tourism officials hope the state’s high vaccination rates and low coronavirus cases will appeal to health-minded travelers.

Credit: MCO Airport

We’ll have to see what happens as California comes “roaring back” and Florida continues to draw in tourists.

Current California Travel Guidelines

As mentioned, California Governor Gavin Newsom fully reopened the economy on June 15, and with that the state lifted travel restrictions. However, there are some recommendations that are still in place in alignment with the latest updates from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Disney Family
Credit: Disney

Below is the latest information about California travel, per the state’s COVID-19 website:

California’s economy is now fully open. Help keep California open and our communities healthy by following CDC travel guidelines.

Current travel recommendations

Whether your travel is domestic or international, follow CDC travel guidelines for testing, masking, and quarantine:

  • Delay travel until you’re fully vaccinated
  • If you’re not fully vaccinated, but choose to travel, get tested before and after
  • No matter your vaccination status, wear a mask indoors while on public transportation or in a transportation hub
  • Wearing a mask outdoors while traveling is no longer required, but still recommended for unvaccinated individuals
  • Read more at CDPH’s travel flyer.

Planning a Theme Park Trip? What to Know

With the reopening of California came the ability for out-of-state visitors to head to the theme parks. At this time, anyone and everyone in the U.S. can visit Disneyland Resort in Anaheim and Universal Studios Hollywood in Los Angeles.

Family at Pym test kitchen at avengers campus at disney California adventure at disneyland resort
Credit: Disney

Note that there are some guidelines that have recently changed at the Parks. Both Universal Studios Hollywood and Disneyland Resort (including Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park) are requiring all Guests ages 2 and up to wear face masks at all indoor locations, regardless of vaccination status.

Neither Disneyland nor Universal Studios have stated when the indoor face mask mandate will change.

Face masks are not required outdoors at Disneyland and Universal, and social distancing is not currently being enforced. Additionally, neither Disney nor Universal are checking Guest vaccination status or requiring negative COVID-19 tests at their theme parks.

Guests wearing face masks at disneyland resort
Credit: Disney

Stay tuned to Inside the Magic for the latest information on traveling to your favorite theme parks and Resorts. 

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