Disneyland Park and Disneyland Adventure Park will finally reopen their gates to the public starting on April 30, after more than a year of being shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The theme parks would begin operating at limited capacity and continue to implement state public health requirements.
“It’s been a long, long time since we’ve been able to create magic for our guests, and put our cast members back to work and help the associated businesses around the Anaheim area that currently depend on Disneyland for their livelihood. It’s going to be a great opportunity for us, I think, to bring that magic back to everyone involved,” Disney CEO Bob Chapek said.
Since March, the Disney theme parks have been shut down following California’s public health directives to curb the spread of the COVID-19 infection. However, authorities issued a new guidance last week where red-tier regions could allow the opening of them parks, albeit with a maximum of 15% capacity.
Disney’s website said the capacity limit would be enforced to encourage physical distancing. Officials also require the use of face masks inside the premises, and facilities will ensure cleanliness and modify experiences to reduce physical contact.
“Beloved characters will pop up in new ways and sometimes in unexpected places as they remain mindful of physical distancing. Certain experiences that draw large group gatherings — such as parades and nighttime spectaculars — will return at a later date,” an official Disney Parks Blog post said.
To maintain the safety and effectiveness of the new guidelines, Disney is opting to reopen in phases. The Grand Californian Hotel & Spa will begin operation on April 29. Later on May 2, Disney Vacation Club Villas will also start serving customers once again.
“We’ve seen the enthusiasm, the craving for people to return to our parks around the world. We’ve been operating at Walt Disney World for about nine months now, and there certainly is no shortage of demand,” said Chapek.
Initially, Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure Park planned to open on July 17 on the resort’s 65th anniversary. However, officials opted to delay the process pending state guidance. Additionally, many employees raised their concerns for safety in the workplace and the availability of COVID-19 testing, NPR reported.
The closure of the parks brought severe financial constraints. In September, authorities announced it would be laying off 28,000 of its park employees, 67% of which were part-time workers. However, with the announcement of reopening, officials said about 10,000 staff would be going back to work.