Although Florida’s Walt Disney World has been open to the public since last summer, the House of Mouse’s first theme park in Orange County, California has remained closed for nearly a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The state has kept its health guidelines regarding theme parks strict as California has faced over 3.5 million cases of coronavirus and 53.5 thousand deaths. Well, The Golden State’s health department has just updated its guidelines, and Disneyland could be allowed to open its gates soon.
The “Blueprint Refresh” program from California Governor Gavin Newsom's administration will allow Disneyland to reopen as early as April 1, per The Orange County Register. Starting on the spring date, theme parks also including Universal Studios and Six Flags Magic Mountain will be able to operate at 15% capacity, but attendance will only be limited to California residents.
Disneyland’s potential April opening will be dependent on whether Orange County can reach red/substantial Tier 2 by the date. Once the county progresses even further to the orange/moderate Tier 3, parks like Disneyland will be able to operate at 25% capacity, and if the region can get to the least-restrictive yellow/minimal Tier 4, California’s parks will be able to offer admission at 35% at a time.
April 1 is not currently the official date Walt Disney Parks plans to open its parks, but Disneyland Resort President Ken Pentrock did release this statement following the news from Newsom administration:
We are encouraged that theme parks now have a path toward reopening this spring, getting thousands of people back to work and greatly helping neighboring businesses and our entire community. With responsible Disney safety protocols already implemented around the world, we can't wait to welcome our guests back and look forward to sharing an opening date soon.
According to California’s official COVID-19 website, Orange County is still in the purple/widespread Tier 1. The changes being made is instead of the red/substantial Tier 2 also calling for amusement park closures; the state will now allow for it at 15% capacity. This news comes after nearly a year of heated back and forths between California’s administration and Walt Disney Parks.
Following Disneyland’s initial closure, the company laid off 28,000 cast members in September, following furloughs. The Walt Disney Company has lost billions of dollars for the amount of time it's been closed and has since decided to cancel its annual pass program. Ahead of this giant step toward Disneyland finally getting to open its doors, Disney California Adventure already has announced an event called A Touch Of Disney, which will allow guests to take part in a limited food and beverage engagement starting March 18.
California park guidelines are still more restrictive than Florida’s, but it is a good sign for Disney’s path to reopen its first park, along with Knott’s Berry Farm, Universal Studios Hollywood, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, SeaWorld and Legoland. What do you think? Are you ready to return to Disneyland if it opens this spring? Vote in our poll!