Disneyland And Walt Disney World Extend Their COVID-19 Closures

Sleeping Beauty castle at night in Disneyland
(Image credit: (Disney))

This week it was announced that the United States has the world’s most confirmed cases of COVID-19, and strict restrictions on business closures have continued to affect the entertainment industry – including Disney’s parks in Anaheim, California and Orlando, Florida. Almost two weeks since Disneyland and Walt Disney World closed its gates, the company has now announced it will be extending its closures.

The domestic parks will be closed indefinitely as the company adheres to California and Orlando’s current stay-at-home orders. The parks were previously set to open up on April 1, but this update certainly echoes the growing spread of coronavirus that has continued to escalate in the U.S. over the past couple weeks. Check out Disney’s official statement:

While there is still much uncertainty with respect to the impacts of COVID-19, the safety and well-being of our guests and employees remain The Walt Disney Company’s top priority.

As a result of this unprecedented pandemic, and in line with direction provided by health experts and government officials, Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort will remain closed until further notice.

The situation still poses much uncertainty about when stay-at-home orders will be lifted in California and Florida. The company does not want to put its employees or guests at risk, although it is estimated that Disney is losing in the neighborhood of $20 to $30 million a day at the domestic parks alone every day they are closed.

Additionally, the statement also announced that The Walt Disney Company would continue to pay its cast members for three additional weeks. In the words of the company:

The Walt Disney Company has been paying its cast members since the closure of the parks, and in light of this ongoing and increasingly complex crisis, we have made the decision to extend paying hourly parks and resorts cast members through April 18.

Union leaders from both Disneyland and Walt Disney World sent letters to the company to demand it still pay its employees, according to THR. Disney workers had previously been notified of the park's extended closures, but were left hanging about the subject of compensation. Disney cast members are paid hourly, with varying amounts of shifts per week – so just how much they will be given is unclear.

Additionally, Universal Studios announced it would also be extending its closures until April 19 on Wednesday. All non-essential businesses have been closed in California and many other states, causing every other U.S. theme park and Disney’s hotels, shopping districts and Disney stores nationwide to temporarily close as well.

Annual passholders can at least look forward to a new expiration date on their yearly passes amidst the current closures. As Disney fans have started to miss walking into the theme parks, they have shared their own homemade versions of the iconic rides from the comfort of their own homes.

Stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for more updates on Disney Parks.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.