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California releases new theme park reopening guidelines. What does it mean for Disneyland?

Disneyland may have to wait until 2021 to reopen

Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Park features winding passageways where the epic tale of Princess Aurora is told through spellbinding dioramas. Inspired by the film’s original Eyvind Earle artwork, this iconic attraction features 3-dimensional displays, sound and stunning special effects.
Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Park features winding passageways where the epic tale of Princess Aurora is told through spellbinding dioramas. Inspired by the film’s original Eyvind Earle artwork, this iconic attraction features 3-dimensional displays, sound and stunning special effects.
Christian Thompson, Disneyland Resort

Disneyland and Universal Studios will have to wait a little longer before they can reopen during the coronavirus pandemic.

What’s going on?

  • California officials released new guidelines Tuesday that allow large theme parks to reopen in least-restrictive, fourth level, yellow tier counties in the state, KABC reports.
  • Capacity in those locations will be limited to 25%.
  • Smaller theme parks can reopen in the orange (or third) level tier.
  • Ticket sales to outdoor sporting events will be kept to those within a 120-mile radius of the outdoor stadiums, which can reopen when the county reaches an orange tier.

Why it means for Disneyland:

Disneyland is located in Anaheim, California, which is in Orange County.

Dr. Clayton Chau, the director of the Orange County Health Care Agency, said in a statement to the Deseret News that he sees Orange County reaching the yellow tier by 2021.

  • “I think for a large county like us, especially a county with institution of higher education where folks (are) coming in from outside the county and outside the state, I think it’s going to be very hard to achieve the yellow tier,” he said.
  • “It depends on when the vaccine will come as well as how many doses (are) available for our populations as well as how many of our residents will readily accept the vaccine — those are the three factors that will determine how soon we can get to the yellow tier.”
  • “Personally, I think that we can look forward to a yellow tier by next summer, hopefully. Hopefully.”

Ken Potrock, the president of Disneyland Resort, slammed the new guidelines in a statement to the Deseret News.

  • “We have proven that we can responsibly reopen, with science-based health and safety protocols strictly enforced at our theme park properties around the world. Nevertheless, the state of California continues to ignore this fact, instead mandating arbitrary guidelines that it knows are unworkable and that hold us to a standard vastly different from other reopened businesses and state-operated facilities. Together with our labor unions we want to get people back to work, but these state guidelines will keep us shuttered for the foreseeable future, forcing thousands more people out of work, leading to the inevitable closure of small family-owned businesses, and irreparably devastating the Anaheim/Southern California community.”