Disneyland's President Has Blunt Thoughts About California's Slow Movement Reopening Theme Parks

Mickey Mouse and Friends at Disneyland

Disneyland Resort's theme parks have been closed for more than six months, and with the only other exception being Hong Kong Disneyland, all the other Disney theme parks, and many other theme parks run by other companies, are open all over the world. Disneyland had plans to reopen in July but the state of California reversed course after seeing a spike in coronavirus cases and has yet to issue guidelines that theme parks need to reopen in the state, and the new President of the Disneyland Resort is not hiding his frustration with the situation.

It seems that every time that California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks on the state's coronavirus situation he's asked about theme parks and while the governor most recently said that announcements would be made "very, very shortly" regarding reopening plans, Disneyland's President Ken Potrock released a statement (via the OC Register) in which he was quite critical of what he called a "lack of progress" on the part of the state...

We are disappointed with the state’s lack of progress in providing the industry with guidance and clarity on reopening. We have proven we can operate responsibly, with strict health and safety protocols at our properties around the world and at Downtown Disney in Anaheim. Tens of thousands of people’s livelihoods depend on our ability to operate and we stand ready and willing to accelerate discussions with the Governor and his team to make ‘real progress’ toward our reopening and getting people back to work.

Ken Potrock was only named President of the Disneyland Resort in May and so the theme parks have been closed the entire time he's had the job. It's understandable he'd be frustrated with the situation. While nobody wants to take unnecessary risks, it's certainly true that Disney Parks have been open around the world and thus far it does not appear there have any significant incidents with the virus. Potrock believes that in itself should give the state the necessary confidence to let Disneyland reopen.

And, of course, releasing guidelines doesn't even mean that Disneyland will be opening the parks the next day. While it's been said that Disneyland is ready to open as soon as they're given the ok to do so, state guidelines are necessary to be sure the parks do everything the state requires. Guidelines mean the parks can get started on any necessary details and begin the proper training of cast members.

As Ken Potrock said, a lot of people work for Disneyland Resort and while Downtown Disney is open for business, anybody who works in the parks or hotels is still furloughed waiting for things to change. There is some hope. Orange County, where Disneyland is located, was recently reclassified by the state due to its drop in coronavirus cases. Having said that, considering that many will certainly travel from outside the county once Disneyland opens, California may need to see a greater reduction in cases throughout the state before finally allowing the parks to reopen.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.