Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, CA, the original Disney theme park, opened in 1955. It has been closed four times in its lifetime, – after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963, in 1994 Disneyland closed because of the big Northridge quake, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and most recently due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Disneyland initially closed the park in Southern California on March 14 and had indicated that it would stay closed indefinitely at that time. Later Disney announced that the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim would reopen July 17.
Today The Walt Disney Company released a statement saying that it would delay announcing its reopening until sometime after July 4. The Disney statement said, in part, “The State of California has now indicated that it will not issue theme park reopening guidelines until sometime after July 4. Given the time required for us to bring thousands of cast members back to work and restart our business, we have no choice but to delay the reopening of our theme parks and resort hotels until we receive approval from government officials. Once we have a clearer understanding of when guidelines will be released, we expect to be able to communicate a reopening date.”
The Disneyland Resort theme parks will be the last Disney theme parks worldwide to reopen during this crisis, if Disney’s plans continue as stated. Tokyo Disney has announced its reopening for July 1, then the Walt Disney World DIS -1.9%‘s theme parks will open on July 11 and July 15. The Disneyland Paris parks are scheduled to reopen on July 15. The Shanghai Disney park reopened on May 11 to limited attendance.
The other Southern California theme parks – Universal Studios Hollywood, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Legoland California and SeaWorld San Diego – had requested to reopen at the beginning of July. Now everyone in the theme park industry, and the consumers who might be eager to see Mickey Mouse again, will have to wait for guidance to be issued by the relevant local and State governments.
Disney sought to assure future visitors to the Disney parks that they have, “developed enhanced health and safety protocolsfor both cast and guests at Shanghai Disney Resort, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort that have been approved, allowing us to reopen in a responsible manner and bring our cast members back to work.”
Disney must complete negotiations with the various unions that represent Disney’s workers to reopen. As Disney said, “In order to reopen our theme parks we need to negotiate agreements with our unions to return employees to work. We have had positive discussions and are very pleased to have signed agreements from 20 union affiliates, including the Master Services Council, which represents more than 11,000 of our cast members. The signed agreement details plans that include enhanced safety protocols that will allow us to responsibly reopen, and get thousands of our cast members back to work.”
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