Disneyland reopening day: It is again after COVID closure

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Disneyland and Disney California Journey opened their gates to friends Friday after an unprecedented 13-month closure, welcoming parkgoers to walk down Major Road USA, pay a go to to the Haunted Mansion and scream down Splash Mountain because the COVID-19 pandemic loosens its grip on the state.

In Disneyland’s 66-year historical past, the theme park has been shut for excessive circumstances just a few instances — after the assassination of President Kennedy and following the 1994 Northridge earthquake, for instance. Earlier than the pandemic struck in March of final yr, none of these closures lasted longer than a day.

Now, with a slew of coronavirus security changes, the Anaheim parks are welcoming again their followers.

Keen parkgoers started lining up hours earlier than Disneyland’s official 9 a.m. opening time, and a cheer greeted the announcement that the temperature-check station would begin processing them for admission about an hour early. To forestall crowding in Disneyland’s Major Road space, park workers invited the admitted friends to freely roam the grounds. Employees, alongside Walt Disney Co. Govt Chairman Bob Iger and Chief Govt Bob Chapek, waved at folks as they entered.

“This can be a homecoming for us,” mentioned a tearful Claudia Martinez, who visited the park Friday along with her mom and aunt from San Diego. Her plans for the day? See the up to date Snow White journey and “eat all of the Disneyland meals they’ve,” she mentioned. Martinez is a former cross holder who mentioned she used to go to the park virtually weekly.

Melisa Howell of Clovis was additionally crying as she entered the park along with her husband, Paul. “It’s been an extended yr,” she mentioned, including that Disneyland opening felt like a little bit of normality.

In the meantime, park staff patrolled these nonetheless in line to enter, reminding folks to maintain their distance from each other and their masks on.

Amongst different precautions, park attendance is capped at 25% of capability. Visitors and workers should put on masks, and individuals who don’t reside collectively should preserve bodily distance in queues and on rides. On some sights, which means leaving numerous seats empty. New hand-washing stations and designated consuming areas dot the parks.

Parades and fireworks exhibits have been scrapped — these are likely to trigger excited parkgoers to cluster too carefully collectively. Costumed characters similar to Mickey Mouse and Goofy aren’t giving out hugs, however they’re posing for footage and waving from balconies and phases.

Employees roamed the parks able to implement the pandemic guidelines. Visitors have been instructed a number of instances when boarding the Disneyland Railroad that there was to be no consuming or ingesting on the attraction, and mid-ride, a conductor reminded folks to tug their masks up over their noses.

A couple kiss through their masks at Disneyland

A pair re-create the well-known Alfred Eisenstaedt V-J Day picture inside Disneyland because the theme park reopens for the primary time in additional than a yr.

(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Occasions)

The modifications don’t appear to be deterring hard-core followers. Tickets to Disneyland are already bought out for all the first seven weeks, in response to the Disneyland on-line reservation web page. Tickets for Disney California Journey are bought out for eight days in the course of the first month. Park hopper tickets, which permit a customer to attend each parks in the identical day, are nonetheless accessible for just a few dates in Could and a number of other in June.

The parks are solely permitting in California residents. Guests should attest that they’re Californians after they purchase tickets on-line, and Disney representatives counsel bringing a photograph ID as backup affirmation.

In permitting theme parks to reopen this month, California initially prohibited them from accepting out-of-state guests, nevertheless it has since ended that restriction. Common Studios Hollywood and SeaWorld San Diego are among the many parks which have begun promoting tickets to individuals who reside outdoors California and are totally vaccinated, however Disney has chosen to stay with the sooner restriction longer.

Many of the rides on the Disney parks are open. Some are shut for pandemic security causes, together with Disneyland’s Monorail, Discovering Nemo Submarine Voyage and Crusing Ship Columbia, in addition to Disney California Journey’s Crimson Automotive Trolley and Golden Zephyr. A number of, together with Disneyland’s Jungle Cruise and the Matterhorn Bobsleds, are closed for upkeep and upgrades. See the total listing of open and closed rides.

MaxPass and FastPass, the programs that permit guests keep away from lengthy queues by scheduling when to get on a journey, have been suspended, however a digital queuing system that makes use of the Disneyland app is required for Disneyland’s latest journey, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.

To keep away from crowds across the parks’ eateries, most meals stands and eating places are taking orders by way of the Disneyland app. Parkgoers can use the app to make funds and get an alert when their meals is prepared.

On Friday morning, queues for some rides have been unusually fast. About 9:20 a.m., the Haunted Mansion queue was 20 minutes lengthy, and the look ahead to Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run was 10 minutes. “It appears like a non-busy day. You don’t get these anymore,” Elizabeth Brillo of Solar Valley mentioned as she exited the Millennium Falcon journey.

Alternatively, the wait to board the up to date Snow White journey early within the day was estimated at 60 to 90 minutes.

By early afternoon, the Snow White line shortened to twenty to half-hour and the longest waits for the most well-liked rides, such because the soon-to-be-refurbished Splash Mountain, topped out at about 35 minutes.

Subsequent door at Disney California Journey, crowds have been sparse. “Wow, it’s so quiet,” remarked a employee at Flo’s V8 Cafe, trying on the eatery’s seating space and discovering solely two tables occupied.

Ken Potrock, president of the Disneyland Resort, referred to as the primary a number of hours of opening day “remarkably easy.” He cited the parks’ alternative to work out the kinks throughout a costume rehearsal of kinds: On Tuesday by way of Thursday, they’d invited Disney workers to go to.

Except for the A Contact of Disney meals occasion this spring, the Disney parks — a crown jewel of California’s journey and tourism business — had been closed to prospects since mid-March 2020. State well being tips launched final month have allowed the parks to reopen whereas aiming to decrease the danger of spreading the coronavirus.

Earlier than the pandemic, California theme parks collectively generated $1.5 billion yearly in federal, state and native taxes, in response to a commerce group for the parks.

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