Disneyland fans and pass-holders eagerly await news of their favorite theme park’s reopening plans. As activity swirls in the park while construction crews prepare the park to adhere to social distancing guidelines and COVID-19 preventative measures, could an announcement on reopening be coming soon?
Timeline of Disney closures
As the coronavirus epidemic began to spread across the United States in the Spring of 2020, places like Disneyland began to weigh the risks of remaining open and spreading the virus among patrons. Disneyland and California Adventure opted to shut down on March 14th amidst rising cases in California. Disney World Resort in Florida was not far behind.
Shanghai Disneyland was the first Disney property closed, back in January. It was quickly followed by Hong Kong Disneyland. In late February, Tokyo Disneyland followed suit. On March 12th, Disney announced that they would be closing Disneyland Paris, Disneyland in California, and Walt Disney World in Florida. Several times, re-opening dates were pushed back for various properties as the coronavirus pandemic failed to improve in those countries. By June, however, countries like China and Japan were able to enter re-opening phases that allowed their respective Disney parks to open in limited capacities.
Disney World reopens, Disneyland remains closed
In early July, despite rising cases in Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis gave Disney World the green light to re-open. Fans of the park returned to a different world than they left. Park capacity was set at a lower number to thin crowds, temperatures were taken, masks were mandatory, and hand-sanitizing stations were set up all over the park. Cast members and park employees were careful to remind guests to adhere to the mask requirement, and social distancing was strictly enforced.
However, as Florida began easing restrictions amid growing case numbers, California opted to go back into lockdown in mid July, and reopening for Disneyland in California was postponed.
Disney World’s new guidelines give Disneyland guests an idea of what to expect
The Disney World website lists their procedures, and Disneyland guests can be fairly certain to expect similar guidelines when their park finally reopens as well.
The website explains, “As you prepare to visit, please know that we’ve made updates based on guidance from health authorities, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and appropriate government agencies.
It may be different from the last time you visited. But together, we can find new ways to create magical moments—and memories to treasure.
Some images shown throughout this website do not represent current operational guidelines or health and safety measures such as face covering and physical distancing requirements. See below for important details to know before you visit.
- Enhanced cleaning: Cleaning procedures are enhanced throughout Walt Disney World Resort.
Extra attention is given to high-traffic areas, including public elevators and escalators, handrails, benches, tables, handles, restrooms, transportation vehicles and more.
Additionally, housekeeping services have been modified at Disney Resort hotels to include enhanced cleaning and reduced contact.
- Physical distancing: Temporary adjustments are in place to promote physical distancing.
Physical distancing measures may include:
- Signage and Ground Markings: Please follow directional signage and ground markings, which have been installed throughout Walt Disney World Resort to help Guests better navigate common areas while practicing physical distancing.
- Physical Barriers: Physical barriers have been added in select places where it is difficult to maintain strict physical distancing guidelines. These may be visible in areas around cash registers or at Guest Relations, for example, to help promote proper distances between people.
- Parking: Cashless payment is recommended at the auto plazas. Cars will be directed to park in every other parking space at the theme parks.
- Training: Cast Members are trained to engage with Guests and promote physical distancing guidelines in common areas and queues.
- Reduced contact: Experiences may be modified in order to reduce contact. These include:
- Cashless Transactions: At this time, it is recommended all Guests use cashless payment options, including debit cards, credit cards and Disney Gift Cards. Guests can also opt for contactless payment options—such as mobile wallets—or use cash to purchase a Disney Gift Card at Guest Relations and select merchandise locations. Disney Resort hotel Guests can also use MagicBands to charge their purchase to their Disney Resort hotel folio.
- Modified Housekeeping: Housekeeping services have been modified at Disney Resort hotels to include enhanced cleaning and reduced contact
What’s happening in Disneyland right now?
Apparently, a lot of prep-work. Plexi-glass barriers are being installed around entrance ticket turnstyles which can’t be moved to respect 6-foot distancing measures. Construction crews have arrived to make other adjustments to the parks and take advantage of the closure to provide refurbishing and updates to some park attractions.
COVID-19 cases in California continue to rise
According to the trackers at John’s Hopkins University, California leads the nation in coronavirus cases. Over 5.1 million infections have been reported in the United States, and over 175,000 people have died. Of those, California accounts for 670,389 cases and 12,155 deaths to date. Lockdown measures re-instituted in mid-July that postponed Disneyland’s reopening do seem to have leveled out the spike in cases.
So when will Disneyland re-open?
Unfortunately, guests will have to wait a little while longer to find out when they can return to the happiest place on Earth. No official date for re-opening has been announced yet, and California remains in lockdown phase. The flurry of activity in the park does provide some optimism to those worried that the lockdown will stretch on interminably, but an official date remains up in the air.