After nearly a year, Disneyland will likely reopen by late April, Disney CEO Bob Chapek said Tuesday.
The Happiest Place on Earth closed following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March last year. Chapek said the theme park will reopen its doors in late April with a limited number of visitors allowed in after California health officials released new guidelines on reopening things like theme parks, bars and restaurants last Friday.
Attendance will be limited to California residents upon its initial reopening.
Disneyland officials have also announced that they will host a mini-reopening of the theme part in Anaheim. The limited-capacity ticketed event is called "A Touch of Disney" and will allow guests to visit the theme park, shop at stores and enjoy some bite-sized versions of fan favorites from the park. Guests will also have a chance to hear a brand new soundtrack of "re-imagined" Disney songs as they make their way through the park.
"Here in California, we're encouraged by the positive trends we're seeing and we're hopeful they'll continue to improve and we'll be able to reopen our Parks to guests with limited capacity by late April -- we look forward to publicizing an opening date in the coming weeks. While last week's announcement stated that theme parks open starting on April 1, the fact is, it will take some time to get them ready for our guests -- this includes recalling more than 10,000 furloughed Cast and retraining them to be able to operate according to the State of California's new requirements," Chapek said. "I am pleased to say the response has been great thus far, our Cast Members are excited to get back to work. And this is also good news for the Anaheim community, which depends on Disneyland for jobs and business generated by visitors."
Health officials have been encouraged by what they say are positive signs that the COVID-19 virus is easing in L.A. and Orange Counties. In L.A. County, officials say they are preparing to advance to a less-restrictive tier of the state's COVID-19 economic reopening blueprint as early as next week.
When the parks reopen, they will do so under strict capacity limits. When Orange County reaches the "red'' tier - which may happen as early as this week - the parks will be limited to 15% of overall capacity. When the county advances to the "orange'' tier, capacity will be increased to 25%, and in the least-restrictive "yellow'' tier, capacity of 35% will be allowed.
The company will also recall some of the 10,000 workers who were furloughed at the onset of the pandemic.
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