Disneyland is prepared and ready to open its doors again. The Anaheim theme park is “actively working” with California Governor Gavin Newsome to reopen for the first time since March. State officials are having a “very dynamic conversation” about how to reopen Disneyland and other theme parks in California in a safe manner. The public health crisis has kept most businesses across the United States closed for months now as cases continue to spike. Walt Disney World, which is on the other side of the country has been reopened for weeks.
Walt Disney World’s Chief Operating Officer Jim MacPhee said last week during a Florida round table of theme park companies that, “Disneyland has been ready to roll since July.” The original plan was to open doors again in mid-July, but that did not end up happening. Cases continued to soar and Gavin Newsome would not allow the theme park to reopen at that time. Since then, the public has not heard anything about when the park will be able reopen.
Last week, a Disneyland employee started a petition to have the park reopen for the sake of his fellow employees who are not making any money. So far, a little over 1,200 people have signed said petition. When the park was set to open in July, union representatives staged a strike and started a petition of their own to keep the park from opening. As is the case with almost everything these days, the discussion to reopen Disneyland is a divisive one, with many people for and against the idea.
Since Walt Disney World reopened, they have seen attendance continue to dwindle. The Florida park depends on national and international tourism to keep going and people simply are not traveling at the moment. While people are excited to go, especially in California, there will be a set of new guidelines to follow to ensure the safety of guests and employees, which will ultimately mean a fraction of the capacity, masks, and social distancing, along with other protocols. Disneyland does not have to rely on tourism as much as the Florida park, so attendance might not be an issue.
While attendance might not be an issue for the park, it will likely be a pain in the neck for Southern California residents to get in. A reservation system has been set up at the Florida park and the California park will likely follow suit, which means getting a reservation will likely be hard for those who are willing to even go to Disneyland. As for a date when the park could reopen, nobody is saying, but it could very well be before the end of the year. For now, Disney fans will have to keep waiting and weighing the options of heading into a crowded theme park during a public health crisis. The Orange County Register was the first to report on the talks between Gavin Newsome and Disneyland.