Disneyland is the happiest place on earth, but guests will have to finds a new place to find their joy, at least for the next couple of weeks, because after closing the Disney parks in Hong Kong and Shanghai due to the coronavirus outbreak, The Walt Disney Company announced this afternoon that starting tomorrow, Walt Disney's original park, Disneyland, as well as Disney California Adventure, will be closed until the end of March.
In a statement posted to online, Disneyland Resort says the decision came after California governor Gavin Newsom yesterday stated that public gatherings of more than 250 people should be avoided. Disneyland Resort has decided to abide by the recommendation and will be closing after EOB Friday.
Read the full statement below.
Disneyland has only been closed for business two other times since opening in 1955. The first was the morning of the JFK assassination in 1963. The other time came following the Sept 11 attacks in 2001, when, without much knowledge of what was happening, there was fear that a landmark like Disneyland might actually be a target.
According to the statement from Disneyland Resort, while the parks will be closed after Friday, hotels will remain open until Monday to allow guests to make any needed arrangements. Disney will also be working with guests to need to cancel trips and hotel bookings, and are promising refunds to any who are forced to make these changes. On the plus side, Disneyland Resort cast members, a class of worker whose wages are frequently under scrutiny, will continue to be paid through the closure.
Following the governor's statements yesterday it seemed like a forgone conclusion that places like Disneyland, where tens of thousands of people gather on a daily basis, would need to take some serious precautions, and unfortunately, in this situation, closing is really the only thing the resort can do. At this point it seems the plan will be to reopen in April, though one assumes that will be dependent on what the situation is like in two weeks.
Disney's parks in Hong Kong and Shanghai have been closed since January, and Tokyo Disneyland, which is not owned by Disney, recently made the decision to close down as well through April. This leaves only the Disney resorts in Orlando and Paris open to the public. Certainly, if Disney makes the decision to close the flagship park, the other two are fair game if the coronavirus situation in the respective regions becomes an issue.
Certainly, this is going to put out a lot of people who were planning vacations to Disneyland. The park is still riding high from the opening of Rise of the Resistance and the attraction has been bringing strong crowds to the park. Still, because so many people visit Disneyland from all over the world, the possibility of transmission of any virus is significant, it could make it half way around the world if the wrong two people cross paths at the park.
Hopefully, in two weeks things will be better under control and Disneyland will be able to reopen. One can guess there are thousands of people with trips planned later this summer who certainly hope things will be in a better place by then.