Here we go, folks. California announced that theme parks can reopen at the beginning of next month after an extended period of closure due to the Covid-19 virus. These reopenings include Disneyland, Universal Studios, and all of your favorite outdoor summer sources of roller coaster adventures and costume-licious entertainment. I don't know who is more excited - me or my preschooler.
While the state of California is only allowing a limited amount of people in the parks, some Disney lovers are more than excited about the opportunity to hang out again with all of their favorite costume characters. Though, Mickey will be hosting a more intimate magical party than he did before the global pandemic.
Theme parks are permitted to operate at a 15% capacity, so with an estimated pre-Covid capacity of around 80,000, Disneyland will now be welcoming a lean and mean maximum of 12,000. The silver lining is that just might mean you could get into splash mountain ride more than once every three hours.
In essence, reduced capacity could be pretty awesome for those who are lucky enough to snag a ticket to get into the park. (Thanks for the fast pass, state of California.) But, don't get your hopes up for dining with Cinderella and partying with the ghouls in the mirrors of the haunted mansion. Disneyland is only opening up its outdoor rides. All indoor dining and fully enclosed rides and shows are still paused until a later date.
Disneyland and the other large theme parks in California will be permitted to be open in April, but only for a limited number of people … and the activity options will also be limited. Somehow, though, it still seems like a little stroke of magic. Parkgoers can rejoin the magic thanks to assembly bill 420, proposed by Suzette Valladares last month, which bippety boppety boo'ed the magical reopening of the large theme parks.
The reintroductiton of Disneyland's magic to southern California's parkgoers will probably not bring back all 32,000 employees of the Southern California themepark, but it will be a solid start toward getting a good number of these employees back to work. And, potentially, it could begin to bring back some of the 28,000 workers that were laid off in September due to the mandated park closures.
Disneyland has provided a happy place for tens of millions of people since opening its doors 65 years ago. A staple of the Orange County infrastructure, Disneyland's closure over the past long months has taken a toll on not only the workers but also the county's economy.
Disney has been very public about their own responsibly applied Covid-19 safety protocols and is understandably chomping at Cinderella's horsey bits to get back to providing magical experiences for its park's patrons. According to their website, "We will require mandatory face coverings for both Cast Members and Guests, ages 2 and older, with the addition of hand-washing stations and physical barriers, where appropriate." So, you can see Mickey, Minnie, and all of their pals, but they'll probably be wearing a mask and you'll get a wave instead of a hug.
The reopening of Disneyland and other large California theme parks marks a significant milestone in the country's reemersion from the Covid-19 pandemic shut down measures. It also will bring back much-needed jobs in the Anaheim and Southern California area and will definitely bring back some just-as-much-needed smiles to some pandemic weary parents and children.
And, in the wise words of Mary Poppins, "Anything can happen if you let it." Have a magical reopening, Disney lovers.