Disneyland Officially Extends Cast Member Furloughs, But There May Be Hope For Reopening

Mickey Mouse Fantasmic

While Disney's theme parks are almost all open around the world, the big notable exceptions right now are the theme parks of the Disneyland Resort. The first Disney theme park ever is still closed and there's been no obvious movement toward opening it as California continues to grapple with the pandemic. In fact, Disneyland cast members recently received an email from the company regarding the situation which is interesting only for how little it says. It's made clear that not only is there no expectation for cast members to return to the resort in the short term, but the company doesn't seem to have any long term expectations either.

Several Disney cast members took to social media yesterday and mentioned receiving an e-mail from the company that was meant to update them on their furlough situation. It confirmed that the extended furlough is now expected to last for more than six months, a point that will be hit in mid-September, and that it essentially will continue until further notice.

At this point there's little that can be done as the decision to reopen is out of the hands of Disneyland itself. The resort is waiting for word from the state of California, which has not been forthcoming with guidelines for reopening theme parks. While the state began to reopen in May and June, an increase in COVID cases that was larger than anticipated resulted in the state pulling back. Disneyland had begun to work toward reopening in mid-July but that plan was quickly killed. Right now the only part of Disneyland Resort open to the public is the Downtown Disney shopping district.

While there's no clear and obvious way forward right now, there might be a light at the end of the tunnel. Orange County California, where Disneyland is located, was recently removed from the state's COVID watchlist, which means it has seen a consistent decline in new virus cases for several days, which is good news for anybody waiting for Disneyland to reopen.

Certainly, Orange County being off the watchlist is only the first step in what is sure to be a long road. When Disneyland opens, even if it doesn't see an influx of tourists flying in from all over the western US., it will certainly see guests coming from all over California, and so the entire state is going to need to be in better shape before anybody is going to be comfortable opening up theme parks. Having said that, this is still a good sign and hopefully an indication that just such a larger trend is starting. Seven counties have come off the watchlist in the last week.

It's certainly too early to tell that we're truly on the road to recovery. California thought it was on its way there once and it all went downhill, but certainly, we can all hope that this is the case. We can be sure Disneyland will be opening as soon as it is able to do so, and then all those cast members can get back to work.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.