Disneyland is currently in the seventh month of its historic closure due to the pandemic. In recent weeks, we have reported on several sightings that could indicate the resort is preparing to reopen. This has included benches and signs added throughout the resort area, as well as new safety information and social distancing markers appearing in and around the park main entrances.
If you were to only look at what is being added around the Disneyland Resort, you could easily suppose that a reopening date is right around the corner. But according to Disney officials, it seems to be an entirely different story behind the scenes.
California Governor Gavin Newsom promised nearly a month ago that discussions regarding theme park reopening guidelines were “forthcoming,” followed by comments made a couple weeks later on September 16th that an announcement related to theme parks was coming “soon.”
According to Orange County Register, officials at the Disneyland Resort have yet to see the fruits of this promise. Recently, the California Attractions and Park Association (CAPA) also expressed similar frustrations, noting that the Governor’s remarks about “forthcoming” discussions and guidance had yet to take place.
Disneyland President Ken Potrock met today with the Southern California News Group editorial board, where he stressed that “It is the time to open responsibly,” which echos the remarks made by Josh D’Amaro, Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products. In a press conference this week, D’Amaro called specifically on California state government to produce those theme park industry guidelines.
Without those industry guidelines from the state government, Potrock stated that the resort is “in limbo.” In California, in order for any industry to move forward with reopening plans, guidelines must be released by the state that addresses how business can reopen and operate safely.
Many industries have received such guidelines, including restaurants, schools, salons, movie theaters, zoos, and aquariums. Theme parks, however, have yet to receive guidance on reopening protocol, and until they do, they cannot reopen.
Potrock stated today that Disney has “made many, many, many recommendations as to what those protocols should be. We’ve offered to help with guidance so that we can get to a place that would be reasonable for us to open. Unfortunately we haven’t received that guidance.”
Disneyland’s extended closure has certainly been felt beyond the resort, as the city of Anaheim where Disneyland resides currently faces a $100 million deficit. Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu has called on the resort to reopen; not just for Disney’s sake, but for the “hundreds of small businesses” and “tens of thousands of jobs” in Anaheim surrounding Disney.
Meanwhile, Governor Newsom stated earlier this month that an “open-ended” negotiation has been taking place with the theme park industry, which includes several major parks throughout the state of California, including Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood, SeaWorld San Diego, and Knott’s Berry Farm.
Ken Potrock commented on this specific remark in his discussion today, expressing his hope that the conversations are less like “negotiations” and instead more like “collaborations” between the state government and the theme park industry.
Currently, Orange County is in the “red” level of reopening, which allows for certain facets of businesses to reopen, such as indoor dining and movie theaters. But without any reopening guidance, Disneyland is stuck, as Ken Potrock expressed, “in limbo.” As of this writing, Disneyland has canceled hotel reservations with arrivals through October 10.
We will continue to closely monitor news coming from the Disneyland Resort and will let you know of any updates as we see them!
How soon will you visit the Disneyland Resort once it reopens? Let us know in the comments!
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