Disneyland to reopen April 30
More than a year after closing due to the pandemic, the theme parks at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim are scheduled to open April 30 with limited capacity and restrictions on some attractions.
Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Bob Chapek made the announcement Wednesday, telling CNBC: “We’ve seen the enthusiasm, the craving for people to return to our parks around the world.”
The resort also plans to reopen its hotels in phases, with Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa set to reopen on April 29, Disney Vacation Club Villas at the Grand Californian on May 2, and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel and the Disneyland Hotel at a later date, the park announced on its website.
Since the park closed in March 2020, Disney executives, elected officials and business leaders in cities around the resort have been urging Gov. Gavin Newsom to allow the parks to reopen to help struggling businesses that rely on tourists who visit the parks.
With COVID-19 cases dropping and the vaccine rollout expanding, the state unveiled new guidelines March 5 that would allow theme parks and sports stadiums in counties with low enough virus transmission to reopen with limited capacity starting April 1. Chapek has said Disneyland needed more time to staff up.
Under the state guidelines, the parks will be limited to 15% of total capacity. If coronavirus cases continue to drop and the counties that are home to the theme parks qualify to enter a less restrictive tier in the state’s four-category reopening roadmap, the cap can rise to 25%, and then 35% upon reaching the most lenient tier.
Only in-state visitors will be allowed in the parks, a requirement that Disneyland and others will enforce by requiring that parkgoers submit a California address and ZIP code online when buying tickets.
Universal Studios Hollywood representatives say their park will open in late April and Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park is expected to open in May. Exact dates will be announced later, park officials say. Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia has yet to release any reopening date information.
To help generate some revenue and rehire employees who were let go during the closures, Disney California Adventure Park, Universal Studios and Knott’s Berry Farm had already announced plans to open their parks for food and shopping events. Knott’s Taste of Boysenberry Festival launched March 5. Universal Studios kicked off its Taste of Universal event Friday, and Disney’s A Touch of Disney event begins Thursday.
Theme park officials say their biggest challenge now is rehiring and training thousands of workers to reopen the parks and enforce the new safety guidelines, such as the requirement that visitors wear masks when not eating or drinking and that they maintain social distance in queues.
Chapek said he plans to recall about 10,000 workers. Universal Studios Hollywood’s senior vice president of operations, Scott Strobl, said Universal would rehire about 5,000 workers to help reopen the park.