To the dismay of millions, Disneyland has been closed for almost a year – its longest closure in its existence. Thousands of Disney Cast Members have been out of work during that time, along with employees from all the theme parks in the state. With theme parks in Florida open and having success, California theme parks have pushed for California Governor Gavin Newsom to allow them to reopen.
Now that virus numbers are declining and vaccines are getting into arms, it’s time to bust out your mouse ears because… Amusement parks can reopen next month!
While there will be limitations, it is still incredible news as we return to pre-COVID life. For amusement parks in red tier counties, capacity will be limited to 15%. The capacity will be raised to 25% once the CA county they are located in reaches orange tier, and then 35% when they hit the last tier, yellow.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek said of the opening, “This includes recalling more than 10,000 furloughed Cast and retraining them to be able to operate according to the State of California’s new requirements. I am pleased to say the response has been great thus far, our Cast Members are excited to get back to work. And this is also good news for the Anaheim community, which depends on Disneyland for jobs and business generated by visitors.”
A more specific reopening date for the SoCal Disney theme parks was not provided, however Chapek also said that it will take some time get the parks ready for guests.
“Under the state’s new guidelines, theme parks may open at 15% capacity when their respective counties enter the state’s red tier designation,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of California Health and Human Services. “The limited reopening would not include indoor rides, and theme parks initially would only be open to California residents,” he continued.
Under the new guidelines, there will be both a building capacity and a time limitation. A ride that is indoors or goes inside a building for a brief time may open if it meets both of these requirements.
Indoor dining will continue to be banned for the time being and no word yet on when this will be reopened.
The Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa will reopen as soon as May 2, 2021. During this first phase, only the Disney Vacation Club villas (the non-hotel side) of Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa will reopen. Disney recently announced “A Touch of Disney,” an event which allows visitors to enter California Adventure Land for an evening of food and characters. The event sold out within hours, so once the parks are truly open, there should be no shortage of visitors.