The Walt Disney Co. announced Wednesday a proposed July 17 reopening of Disneyland, its flagship U.S. theme park in Anaheim, Calif., amid a months-long closure that occurred as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Its theme parks and resort facilities have been shuttered since mid-March.
The company’s parks division has planned a phased reopening, beginning with Downtown Disney on July 9, Disneyland and Disney California Adventure on July 17 and Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel on July 23.
In order to comply with governmental requirements and to promote social distancing, the company said that it will use a new theme park reservation system to manage attendance, which will be rolled out soon. All guests will have to make reservations in advance to enter the park. For the moment, Disneyland is temporarily pausing new ticket sales and Annual Passport sales and renewals.
Disneyland Resort intends to implement “enhanced health and safety measures,” though specifics were not shared.
Parades and nighttime spectaculars will “return at a later date.” While Disney characters will be in the parks, there will not be any character meet-and-greets for the time being. The company did not announce an anticipated return date for those events and activities.
Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., the media conglomerate’s other U.S. theme park, previously slated a July reopening, having received approval from Florida’s Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force in late May. Disney’s Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom will open again on July 11, and Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will resume business on July 15.
The Orlando park’s plans offer a peek at what Disneyland Resort may look like when it revs up operations once again. New requirements at Walt Disney World include temperature checks upon arrival, physical distancing, enhanced cleaning, hand-washing and sanitizing stations and “limited-contact enhancements,” such as contactless payments and mobile orders at restaurants.
Theme parks in Los Angeles County have been urging local officials to allow them to reopen. Execs at Universal Studios Hollywood, another Southern California theme park, has asked the L.A. County Board of Supervisors to allow theme park workers to return to work immediately in order to prepare for a reopening. Los Angeles county’s amusement parks include Six Flags Magic Mountain and Pacific Park at the Santa Monica Pier. (Disneyland Resort is located in Orange County, Calif.)