There are some crazy and thrilling rides at Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure Parks as well as other theme parks in California, but nothing has been worse than the roller coaster ride that has been happening when it comes to getting the parks back opened. However, under pressure from the amusement industry and tourism-dependent cities, California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday vowed action “very, very shortly” that could reopen. Disneyland and other shuttered theme parks. Disneyland has joined with the California Attractions and Parks Association, the cities of Anaheim, Buena Park and Garden Grove and Legoland California in the hopes of getting theme park guidelines from the state government.
“We will be making announcements soon as it relates to theme parks and amusement parks,” he said at a briefing on the coronavirus and the state’s wildfires. “I am not here today to make that presentation, but want folks to know we are actively working in a number of sectors.”
Even a partial reopening would help Anaheim and surrounding cities in California’s Orange County that depend on tourists from around the world to spend lavishly at Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm, hotels, restaurants and shopping districts.
Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu invited Newsom to visit Anaheim to see for himself both the economic havoc that the pandemic has caused in the city and how it might be able to reopen safety. In particular, he points to the success of the Downtown Disney shopping and dining district attached to the 65-year-old theme park, which has been welcoming guests since July.
Also, the sighting of Josh D’Amara in Disneyland this past week and activity being seen and heard inside the theme park, tends to raise hopes that Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure parks will soon be open to guests eager to stop foot onto their own Main Street U.S.A. very soon. If you’re looking to make a new reservation at a Disneyland Resort Hotel, reservations are only available beginning mid-October, and reservations through October 3rd are being canceled, which still leaves questions, especially since resorts at Walt Disney World opened prior to the parks.
“Make no mistake. This is not a choice between public health and the economy,” Sidhu said in prepared remarks. “There is a path forward that guards against new cases and restores our economy. Earlier last week Disneyland President Ken Potrock explained, “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.”
What will park capacity look like when Disneyland does reopen? According to the Orange County Register, a new data analysis suggests that “Disneyland could theoretically let in 25,000 to 30,000 visitors per day and still allow for six feet of social distancing per person” when the park is able to reopen with appropriate health and safety protocols. According to estimates by the Thinkwell Group, this means Disneyland could accommodate 50% of its “theoretical pre-COVID-19 capacity.”
According to the OCR, Bob Chapek — CEO of the Disney Company — noted in May that “Disney reopened Shanghai Disneyland ‘far below’ the 30% attendance cap to avoid backups in the park and to allow visitors and employees to adjust to the new COVID-19 health and safety protocols.” It’s very possible that Disneyland in California will similarly open at a lower capacity than what is ultimately recommended or required by the California government. But, as the OCR notes, Disney rarely discusses exact capacity figures for its theme parks, so we may not get to see an exact number.
In Disney World, we’ve seen the Park Pass Reservation System implemented and utilized as a way to limit guest capacity in the theme parks. Recently spotted in Disneyland a sign reads “Reservations Required for Entry to Theme Parks.” We can potentially expect to see a reservation system, similar to that being used in Disney World, utilized in Disneyland when it reopens to ensure guest capacity is appropriately limited — whether that is to 50% of their pre-COVID-19 capacity or to a different number.
UPDATE AS OF 092020- Looks like Disneyland will be incorporating the Park Reservation System when they do reopen. Here is the new verbage from the official Disneyland page:
Reopening with a New Park Reservation System
The Disneyland Resort will reopen with some important updates to promote physical distancing, including:
- Park Reservations: Because theme park capacity will be significantly limited to comply with governmental requirements and promote physical distancing, we will manage attendance through a new theme park reservation system that will require all Guests, including Annual Passholders, to obtain a reservation for park entry in advance. Theme park reservations will be subject to availability. More details about this new reservation system will be available soon.
- New Ticket Sales: At this time, we are also temporarily pausing new ticket sales and Annual Passport sales and renewals. Additional details will be provided soon.
The Hotels of the Disneyland Resort remain closed and will reopen at a later date.
Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park remain closed and will reopen at a later date, pending state and local government approvals.
Upon reopening, certain theme parks, hotels, restaurants and other locations may be limited in capacity and subject to restricted availability or even closure based on guidance from health experts and government officials. Furthermore, certain attractions, experiences, services and amenities will be modified, have limited availability or remain closed. Park admission and offerings are not guaranteed. We will provide more information as it becomes available. We reserve the right to cancel any reservations, admission media or purchases and provide applicable refunds. Please also see our policies regarding cancellations by Guests.
Additionally, select attractions and certain experiences that draw large group gatherings—such as parades and nighttime spectaculars—will return at a later date. While character meet-and-greets will be temporarily unavailable, Characters will be in our parks in new ways to entertain and delight our Guests. The Disneyland Resort will also have capacity measures in place, as well as limitations on parking and operating hours.
Given this unprecedented situation, we appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as we navigate through this process as responsibly as we can. Additional measures and procedures will be announced closer to the opening date.
Be sure and keep checking back here at spokesmayne.co for updates on Disneyland re-opening and other theme park news. For up to date happenings and checking out things at the theme parks and beyond here in Florida, be sure and follow Spokesmayne on Instagram, Youtube and Facebook so you don’t miss out on a single thing.
Spokesmayne; Orange Country Register; Disney Food Blog; Official Disneyland page