ANAHEIM, Calif. (CNS)—After a months-long shutdown mandated by the COVID-19 pandemic, Disneyland officials announced plans on June 10 to reopen the theme park on July 17, the 65th anniversary of the park’s original opening.
The Downtown Disney retail and entertainment district is scheduled to open July 9.
When Disneyland and the adjacent California Adventure theme park do reopen, it will be with limited capacity and in-park health restrictions that have not yet been fully detailed.
With the park’s capacity “significantly limited” to ensure adherence with social distancing requirements, the theme parks will implement a reservation system, and all guests—even annual passholders—will have to make a reservation in advance.
Select attractions that draw large gatherings—such as parades, evening light shows, and fireworks displays—will also be suspended at least temporarily. There also won’t be any individual character meet-and-greets, so no selfies with Mickey and no chances for kids to collect autographs.
The theme parks—along with Disney attractions worldwide—closed in mid-March, causing a major financial hit to Disney, which was forced to eventually furlough nonessential park employees.
The closure also represented a financial blow to the city of Anaheim. City officials estimate a $75 million deficit in this fiscal year’s budget because of a drop in sales tax revenue from the shutdown of major tourist attractions such as Disneyland, the Honda Center, Angel Stadium, and the Anaheim Convention Center, said Mike Lyster, a city spokesman.
“So we welcome this,” Lyster said. “This will be a gradual return, but we need to start somewhere and this is a start. It’s also a significant morale boost for everyone in our recovery. For many people, Disney represents the hope, optimism, and ability of America.”
City officials “have every confidence they have the ability to” reopen safely, Lyster said.
Disney is “great at operations, at managing attendance, and we know they will be able to do this well,” Lyster said.
Mayor Harry Sidhu called it “a great day for Anaheim.”
“We could see the reopening of Disneyland 65 years to the day from when Walt Disney opened his first theme park in our city,” Sidhu said. “This is a major milestone in the recovery of Anaheim, California, and our nation. We know Disney will be able to meet the challenge of reopening safely, and Anaheim stands ready to see that happen.”
Disney is aiming to reopen the Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel, and Disney Vacation Club Villas on July 23.
Knott’s Berry Farm’s California Marketplace opened on June 8, which includes the Buena Park theme park’s restaurants and stores. Other restaurants and stores will reopen later this month. It’s not clear if Knott’s has a planned reopening date for its theme park.