In what is welcome news for Anaheim’s stricken tourism and convention sector, the Disneyland Resort will begin a phased re-opening in July. The Resort has been closed since mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Downtown Disney shopping district will open first, on July 9.
The Disneyland and Disney California Adventure theme parks will open approximately a week later, on July 17. Advanced reservations will be required.
The following week, the Grand Californian Hotel and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel will re-open on July 23. No date has been set for re-opening the classic Disneyland Hotel.
Disney will follow state and local health guidelines about re-opening, while also implementing enhanced health and safety measures:
- Both guests and cast members will be required to wear face coverings.
- Park capacity will be reduced to allow for social distancing, plus signage to guide guests “responsibly” through the park.
- Park visitors will undergo temperature screening prior entering Disneyland, Disney California Adventures and Downtown Disney.
- Daily health checks and temperature screenings will be mandatory for cast members.
- The use of technology for cashless transactions will be encouraged to reduce physical contact between cast members and guests.
- Heightened cleaning and sanitation protocols will be adopted over-and-above Disney’s already world-class standards.
- Hand-washing stations and physical barriers will also be placed where appropriate.
Disney cautions that not all attractions, experiences, amenities, restaurants and services will be open at all times, and may be limited in capacity and access depending on guidance from health officials.
While Disney characters will circulate in the park, photos with guests are not yet scheduled to resume. Parades and outdoor shows will also remain on hold.
Generally speaking, people who purchased parks admission but were unable to go prior to the COVID-19 closure will still be able to use them. Click here for more information.
Resort Re-Opening Can’t Come Soon Enough.
Re-opening the Disneyland Resort, even in a modified way, cannot come soon enough for the health of Anaheim’s economy and municipal finances. Hotels in the Anaheim Resort normally run at very high occupancy, and the Transient Occupancy Tax revenue they generate are by far the city’s single biggest source of funding. Both have plummeted due to the state-imposed shut down.
After shutting down in mid-March, the Disneyland Resort initially paid its cast members through April 18. Once it became clear the shut-down would continue for the foreseeable future, Disney made the painful decision to furlough nearly all Resort employees and slash executive compensation, while continuing to pay for the health care benefits and the educational expenses of those enrolled in the Aspire program. The Disneyland Resort employs approximately 30,000 people.
A return to work is a n unquestionable positive, and a welcome development. Not all are pleased, however: “We Are Anonymous” recently started a Change.org petition calling on Disneyland to delay the re-opening to sometime in the future. The petition bases its call on questionable grounds, and the author/authors provide no criteria for when they would support re-opening. It’s scare tactics.
Testing has increased enormously. Treatment is much more effective, and the healthcare system has plenty of capacity. We are much better positioned to quickly identify, respond to and contain outbreaks without resort the to shut-down sledgehammer. The daily national average of cases has dropped from 30,000 in April to 20,000 now. The number of deaths per day is also down significantly. More than half a million people are now being tested every day, and fewer than 6% are testing positive. The supply issue of personal protective equipment and necessary medical supplies like ventilators has largely been solved. And less intrusive but equally effective alternatives to ventilators for treating the several infected have been innvoate.
Furthermore, there’s little evidentiary correlation between success against COVID and the severity of a state’s lockdown. New York has maintained one of the most stringent lock-down regimes and leads the nation by far in number of cases and deaths.
No one can be forced to work at Disneyland or visit the park if they feel unsafe. Disney will go the extra mile to ensure both employee and guest safety. It’s part of their corporate ethos, as well being in their self-interest. The extra $600 a week COVID unemployment insurance bonus expires at the end of July (the average monthly unemployment payment in California is $3800 a month. Long-term unemployment not a viable option. For most people, work is still preferable to not working.
We cannot remain in an economic lockdown forever. The attendant costs – not just in lost jobs, incomes, opportunities. security but also in the health costs those generate – will exact too high a toll. As Governor Newsom said earlier this week:
“We have to recognize you can’t be in a permanent state where people are locked away — for months and months and months and months on end — to see lives and livelihoods completely destroyed, without considering the health impact of those decisions as well.”
We aren’t facing a false choice between a lockdown and a second wave. COVID-19 is here and we have to livre and work through it. We are far more strongly positioned to do so than we were in March. And if anyone can figure out how manage the safel re-opening and operation of theme parks, it is Disney.