California Disneyland Reopens but You Can’t Hug Mickey Mouse

May 2, 2021 Updated: May 2, 2021

LOS ANGELES—Masks, temperature checks and no hugs with Mickey Mouse greeted visitors to Disneyland in California on Friday as Walt Disney’s original theme park reopened for the first time in over a year.

Under coronavirus pandemic guidelines, “The Happiest Place on Earth” was opened only to California residents and capacity was limited to 25 percent to allow for social distancing.

“It was just really nice to be back around all the energy, and the cast members were so welcoming,” said Lauren England, one of the first day visitors.

Guests, age 2 and older, were required to wear masks and there were none of the usual hugs with costumed characters like Mickey Mouse and Snow White.

Disneyland in Anaheim
A family takes a photo in front of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., on April 30, 2021. (Jae Hong/AP Photo)

There will be no parades, and the nightly fireworks displays have been put on hold to prevent crowds from gathering closely together.

Jocelyn Bonilla, who was among more than 28,000 Disney theme park workers to be furloughed during the long closure, was delighted to be back.

“I am one of the ones that got let go, so it feels good to be back,” she said. “Seeing everyone back, seeing everything back to normal, it’s amazing.”

Tickets to Disneyland are sold out through mid-June, according to the park’s online reservation system, but there is more availability in the adjacent California Adventure.

Theme parks were among the last California businesses allowed to reopen, in contrast to states with fewer restrictions such as Florida, where Disney World’s Magic Kingdom resort has been up and running, though at lower-than-usual capacity, since July. Another major U.S. amusement park, Ohio’s Cedar Point, opened last summer and will do so again for the upcoming season—only this time, it won’t require masks on rides.

Disneyland, located 35 miles south of Los Angeles in Anaheim, opened in 1955.

Walt Disney Co closed its theme parks around the world in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Disneyland Paris is currently closed. Disney parks in Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong are open.

The Associated Press contributed to this report