Disney struggles with reopening global theme parks following COVID-19 closures

Sleeping Magnificence Fortress at Disneyland in California stays closed.

Corinne Reichert/PJDM

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When Disney’s theme parks closed indefinitely throughout the unfold of COVID-19 in early 2020, many questioned and nervous about once they would reopen. Each Shanghai Disney and Hong Kong Disney closed in late January, adopted by the Tokyo Disney Resort in late February. Disneyland Paris closed March 12, as did Disneyland in Anaheim, California, and Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Of the entire parks, Disneyland stays the one one nonetheless closed.

Disney announced Sept. 29 that it would be laying off 28,000 cast members from its theme parks, laying the blame on lowered capability allowed in its international parks attributable to social distancing necessities in addition to California’s “unwillingness to raise restrictions that will permit Disneyland to reopen.”

“We’ve made the very tough choice to start the method of decreasing our workforce at our Parks, Experiences and Merchandise section in any respect ranges, having saved non-working forged members on furlough since April whereas paying healthcare advantages,” Josh D’Amaro, Disney Parks chair, mentioned in an announcement. “Roughly 28,000 home staff might be affected, of which about 67% are half time.”

This is when Disney could open the California park, and what COVID-19 measures have hit its different international parks once they reopened.


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Disneyland: Submit-September 2020

Disneyland first announced plans to reopen July 17, on the 65th anniversary of the resort. Nevertheless, it was forced to backtrack in late June, attributable to California not planning to challenge theme park steerage till not less than July 4. With Gov. Gavin Newsom warning June 22 that the first coronavirus wave wasn’t finished yet, union leaders who characterize Disneyland’s 17,000 staff have been additionally pushing for the theme park to slow down its plans to reopen until it’s safer.

“We’ve no alternative however to delay the reopening of our theme parks and resort resorts till we obtain approval from authorities officers,” Disney Parks tweeted. “As soon as now we have a clearer understanding of when pointers might be launched, we count on to have the ability to talk a reopening date.”

Orange County was downgraded from “widespread” to “substantial” in California’s COVID-19 classification system on Sept. 8, which might clear the best way for extra companies to reopen. Throughout a press convention that day, Newsom reportedly mentioned “conversations are ongoing … for theme parks.” 

Disneyland on Sept. 22 hosted an online press conference where it practically begged to be allowed to reopen.

“To our California authorities officers, notably on the state stage, I encourage you to deal with theme parks such as you would different sectors. Assist us reopen. We’d like pointers which might be honest and equitable,” mentioned Josh D’Amaro, chair of Disney Parks, based on Theme Park Insider. “The longer we wait, the extra devastating the impression might be to Orange County and the Anaheim communities and the tens of 1000’s of people that depend on us for employment.”

The Downtown Disney procuring and eating space reopened July 9 in line below California’s restaurant and retail opening pointers. The reopening was impacted by Gov. Newsom’s guidelines introduced July 1, which includes closing down all bars as well as the indoor portions of restaurants. It additionally included operational hours of 10 a.m. until 8 p.m.; solely the Simba car parking zone is open; friends with a temperature of 100.Four F or greater aren’t allowed in; hand sanitizer and hand-washing stations are current all through the world; all friends should deliver and put on their very own masks; and there are floor markings for social distancing.

Newsom’s plan to reopen California mentioned the “highest danger” venues like concert events, conference facilities and sports activities with reside audiences shouldn’t reopen until “therapeutics have been developed.”

Hong Kong Disneyland: June 18-July 15 and once more Sept. 25

Hong Kong Disneyland introduced June 15 that it might reopen on June 18 with lowered capability, enhanced well being measures and a brand new reservation system — however then closed down indefinitely again on July 15 after a spike in coronavirus cases within the area. “As required by the federal government and well being authorities in keeping with prevention efforts happening throughout Hong Kong, Hong Kong Disneyland Park will briefly shut,” Disney mentioned on the theme park web site on the time.

The theme park reopened Sept. 25, Disney introduced on Sept. 22. Hong Kong Disneyland stays closed on Tuesdays and Thursdays for now, and would require reservations through its online reservation system as much as seven days prematurely.

Disneyland Paris: July 15

Disneyland Paris reopened on July 15, beginning with each Disneyland Paris parks, Disney’s Newport Bay Membership lodge and the Disney Village procuring and eating space. Likewise, it has restricted attendance below a reservation system, bodily distancing and extra emphasis on cleansing.

Disney’s resorts have “sneeze guards” put in, and just one household at a time could use the elevators. Character meet-and-greets have been changed by “sudden appearances to new Selfie Spots.” Parades and fireworks are cancelled, however the Lion King stage show will return a while throughout summer time 2020.

The reopening of Disneyland Paris comes regardless of French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe saying in Might that public events with more than 5,000 people would be against the law until September.

Disney World: July 11

Disney reopened Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom on July 11, with Epcot and Hollywood Studios following on July 15. The Orlando Disney parks have social distancing and wellness measures, together with temperature screenings, wearings masks, protecting friends six ft aside whereas lining up for sights and a guest reservation system to limit capacity.

Fireworks, parades and character meet and greets have been suspended. Disney World resorts and resorts started reopening in late June. 

Disney Springs shopping and dining area reopened Might 20 with limited parking, fewer entrances, temperature screening earlier than entry, masks required, bodily distanced traces and obstacles, lowered hours, no leisure and extra sanitization and disinfectant. Disney-owned shops and eating places in Disney Springs started reopening Might 27.


Disney World’s fireworks present is on maintain, although the Magic Kingdom has a deliberate reopening date of July 11


Tokyo Disney Resort: July 1

Disney Parks introduced on June 23 that it might be opening Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea on July 1.

Japan began reopening in late May, with the Tokyo Disney Resort saying June Four that the opening date for the Tokyo Disneyland main growth space might be decided as soon as the state of affairs could be gauged after reopening each parks.” The intensive growth — which features a Beauty and the Beast-themed area and a Baymax ride — was initially slated to start opening on April 15, 2020.

Disneyland Shanghai: Might 11

Disney CEO Bob Iger introduced Might 5 that the Shanghai park would reopen Monday, May 11. It has limits on attendance, a reservation system to realize entry to the park, an entry management system, social distancing necessities, tape markings protecting friends distanced whereas in traces for rides, masks, temperature screenings, contact tracing and government-required well being procedures. It elevated capability from 30% to 50% of the park on Aug. 24, and likewise restarted its night-time fireworks present.

Shanghai began opening restaurants and stores on March 9 in Disneytown, Wishing Star Park and on the Shanghai Disneyland Lodge, requiring all friends to endure temperature screening, current a inexperienced Shanghai QR well being code at eating venues, continually put on a masks and “maintain respectful social distances at all times.”

The knowledge contained on this article is for academic and informational functions solely and isn’t meant as well being or medical recommendation. At all times seek the advice of a doctor or different certified well being supplier concerning any questions you will have a couple of medical situation or well being targets.

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Corinne Reichert