After a yearlong closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park finally have a reopening date: April 30.
That announcement was made by the company Wednesday and comes about a week after after Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek signaled that the Anaheim theme parks were looking to welcome back visitors by the end of next month.
Both parks have been closed since March 14, 2020, because of the initial coronavirus outbreak, which ultimately prompted a series of stay-at-home orders.
“The day all of us have long been waiting for is almost here,” Disneyland President Ken Potrock said in a news release. “We’re excited to have more than 10,000 cast members returning to work as we get ready to welcome our guests back to this happy place.”
Additionally, the Disneyland Resort hotels will start a phased reopening on April 29, beginning with Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, according to the release. Disney Vacation Club Villas, located at the Grand Californian, is planning to reopen May 2, with Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel and the Disneyland Hotel following at a yet to be announced later date.
The Disneyland Resort theme parks will have limited capacity and other restrictions as mandated by the state when they reopen next month.
Under California’s recently unveiled plan, large amusement parks like Disneyland and California Adventure can open starting April 1, so long as their county meets the state’s criteria set forth by its “Blueprint for a Safer Economy.” That’s the four-tired, color-coded system currently guiding reopenings across all sectors.
Theme parks can open with 15% capacity when its county gets into the red tier, which is the second most-restrictive phase and the one Orange County is in as of Wednesday. In the less-restrictive orange tier, maximum capacity increases to 25%. In the least-restrictive yellow tier, capacity jumps to 35%.
Attendance will be limited to California residents in all tiers, and tickets must be purchased in advance.
Disney is also instituting a number of health and safety measures, including mandatory masks for guests ages 2 and older, enhanced cleanliness and measures promoting physical distancing and reduced contact.
In announcing the April reopening, the company highlighted some of the attractions guests will be able to enjoy again, including the immensely popular “Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance,” which drew pre-dawn crowds who lined up to ensure a spot on the ride after it opened in January 2020.
An opening date was not given for “Avengers Campus,” the eagerly anticipated new land in California Adventure that is based off the Marvel heroes.
While the Disney theme parks technically would be allowed to reopen in two weeks, Chapek explained last week that the resort still needs time to prepare, as thousands of furloughed employees will need to be called back and get acclimated with the state’s COVID-19 rules.
Disney recently called back approximately 1,000 cast members for “A Touch of Disney,” a springtime event taking place at California Adventure from March 18 through April 19, as well as expanded dining at the Downtown Disney District.
While fans will certainly enjoy being back at the “Happiest Place on Earth,” the reopening will also be a boon for Anaheim, as the Disneyland Resort remains the city’s largest employer.
Prior to pandemic-related layoffs, the resort employed about 31,000 people, according to Mike Lyster, a spokesperson for the city.
He told KTLA earlier this month that the city’s jobless rate hovered around 9%, with 15,000 people out of work.
The reopening of the theme parks “begins an economic recovery for Anaheim,” Lyster said.