California’s Disneyland Finally Announces The Park Will Reopen Soon But There’ll Be Big Changes

by Stephanie Kaloi

Californians, rejoice: Disneyland has finally announced when the park will reopen. The magic date is July 17, 2020.

The date still has to be approved by state and local governments, but it sounds like Disney isn’t too worried. It also announced that the Downtown Disney District will reopen on July 9, and the Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel will reopen on July 23.

This news comes after the park has been closed for months in response to the global health crisis. And while the park is definitely reopening, things will be a little different for everyone.

As People reports, “As theme park capacity will be limited to comply with social distancing guidelines, Disney plans on introducing a reservation system that will require all guests, including annual passholders, to reserve their park entry in advance. At this time, the company has placed a temporary pause on new ticket sales and the purchase and renewal of annual passes.”

Josh D’Amaro, the chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, wrote about the reopening extensively:

“We are purposefully taking baby steps during this very intentional phased approach. As one of the first major theme parks to close our operations and the last to reopen, we have been deliberate about keeping the health and safety of our cast, guests and local communities top of mind. And as we look forward to bringing our cast members back to work, and welcoming you back as cherished guests — we know it will take all of us working together responsibly to recapture the magic.”

“We’re fortunate to be guided by a talented team of professionals who’ve helped us implement a variety of new health and safety measures reflecting the guidance of local health and government authorities. These are designed with both the cast and guests in mind for the unique environments of each of our parks, resorts and stores.”

“While certain aspects of your visit may change, I assure you the quality of our storytelling, magic of our experiences and the caliber of our cast members has not. We recognize the trust that you have in the Disney brand, and we will continue to earn your trust every day.”

“My confidence comes in part from all of the hard work our teams have been doing behind the scenes in the past few months … as well as by the early successes we have seen at Shanghai Disneyland, the first of our theme parks to reopen. Guest satisfaction has been extremely high, and we will continue to make sure that as we bring back experiences, our attention to promoting your safety, maintaining your trust and providing unique ways for you to come together with family and friends to create new memories remains high as well.”

“Walt Disney once said that it takes people to make the dream a reality, and as we prepare ourselves to reopen his original park, I want you to know how eternally grateful I am for all of you who have made Disney parks, stores, hotels, cruise lines, guided tours and vacation properties part of your lives, as well as for the cast members, crew members, Imagineers, and employees who have brought them to life for the past 65 years.”

“I know this has been a difficult year due to the impacts of [the virus], but I can’t help but feel a great sense of hope and optimism. And like many of you, I look forward to hearing the laughter and seeing the joy of families making memories together … and I can’t wait to see you when the magic returns to all of our parks and resorts.”

With this news, it seems both US parks will be opening around the same time. Disney had previously announced that Orlando’s Walt Disney World Resort will reopen on July 11, beginning with the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. Epcot and Hollywood Studios are slated to reopen on July 15.

Both parks officially closed on March 12, 2020, in response to the state of emergencies that had been declared by the governors of both California and Florida. The parks initially hoped to close for only two weeks, but clearly the closure extended for quite some time.

Disney parks all over the world closed in response to the health crisis, and Disney reopened to much fanfare in Shanghai on May 11. Joe Schott, the president of the Shanghai Disney Resort, was optimistic about the reopening: “We hope that today’s reopening serves as a beacon of light across the globe, providing hope and inspiration to everyone.”

Disney lost at least $1.4 billion in the last quarter owing to the closure of its parks and the huge dip in tourism worldwide. Since parks have opened in other parts of the world, the teams at the California and Florida parks now have a blueprint for how to move forward relatively safely.