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Disney struggles with reopening global theme parks as Disneyland Paris closes again

Disney struggles with reopening global theme parks as Disneyland Paris closes again

Disney World Cinderella castle

Walt Disney World reopened in July.


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When Disney’s theme parks closed indefinitely during the spread of COVID-19 in early 2020, many wondered and worried about when they would reopen. Both Shanghai Disney and Hong Kong Disney closed in late January, followed by the Tokyo Disney Resort in late February. Disneyland Paris closed March 12, as did Disneyland in Anaheim, California, and Disney World in Orlando, Florida

Disneyland and Disneyland Paris are currently the only resorts still closed. Here’s how COVID-19 has affected all of its global resorts, and when those parks can reopen.

Disneyland: Whenever Orange County reaches ‘minimal’ cases

California revealed its theme park reopening guidelines on Oct. 20. The state will allow large parks like Disneyland to open only once the county they’re in is in the “yellow,” or minimal, tier of COVID-19 transmission, meaning the area must have less than one daily new case of coronavirus per 100,000 people, as well as less than 2% of tests coming back positive.

Disneyland’s home of Orange County is still stuck in the red tier, with “substantial” spread of COVID-19. Once Disneyland does reopen, park capacity will be limited to 25% and reservations will be required.

Disney protested the strict rules, calling them “arbitrary” and “unworkable.” Disneyland President Ken Potrock said the company has proved it can open responsibly. “The state of California continues to ignore this fact,” he said. “State guidelines will keep us shuttered for the foreseeable future … irreparably devastating the Anaheim/Southern California community.”

You can read more about Disneyland’s reopening troubles here.

Disneyland Paris: July 15-Oct. 29

Disneyland Paris reopened on July 15, starting with both Disneyland Paris parks, Disney’s Newport Bay Club hotel and the Disney Village shopping and dining area. Likewise, it limited attendance under a reservation system, physical distancing and more emphasis on cleaning.

Disneyland Paris then closed again at the end of the day on Oct. 29 in line with new French guidance following another wave of COVID-19 cases across the nation. The theme park hopes to reopen from Dec. 19 until Jan. 3 to celebrate the holidays, before closing again from Jan. 4 to Feb. 12.

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Hong Kong Disneyland: June 18-July 15; Sept. 25

Hong Kong Disneyland announced June 15 that it would reopen on June 18 with reduced capacity, enhanced health measures and a new reservation system — but then closed down indefinitely again on July 15 after a spike in coronavirus cases in the region. “As required by the government and health authorities in line with prevention efforts taking place across Hong Kong, Hong Kong Disneyland Park will temporarily close,” Disney said on the theme park website at the time.

The theme park reopened Sept. 25, Disney announced on Sept. 22. Hong Kong Disneyland remains closed on Tuesdays and Thursdays for now, and will require reservations via its online reservation system up to seven days in advance.

Disney World: July 11

Disney reopened Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom on July 11, with Epcot and Hollywood Studios following on July 15. The Orlando Disney parks have social distancing and wellness measures, including temperature screenings, wearings masks, keeping guests six feet apart while lining up for attractions and a guest reservation system to limit capacity.

Fireworks have been suspended. Disney World resorts and hotels began reopening in late June.

Disney Springs shopping and dining area reopened May 20 with limited parking, fewer entrances, temperature screening before entry, masks required, physically distanced lines and barriers, reduced hours, no entertainment and more sanitization and disinfectant. Disney-owned stores and restaurants in Disney Springs began reopening May 27.


Disney World’s fireworks show is on hold, though the Magic Kingdom has a planned reopening date of July 11


Tokyo Disney Resort: July 1

Disney Parks announced on June 23 that it would be opening Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea on July 1.

Japan began reopening in late May, with the Tokyo Disney Resort saying June 4 that the opening date for the Tokyo Disneyland major expansion area will be determined once the situation can be gauged after reopening both parks.” The extensive expansion — which includes a Beauty and the Beast-themed area and a Baymax ride — was originally slated to begin opening on April 15, 2020.

Disneyland Shanghai: May 11

Disney CEO Bob Iger announced May 5 that the Shanghai park would reopen Monday, May 11. It has limits on attendance, a reservation system to gain entry to the park, an entry control system, social distancing requirements, tape markings keeping guests distanced while in lines for rides, masks, temperature screenings, contact tracing and government-required health procedures. It increased capacity from 30% to 50% of the park on Aug. 24, and also restarted its night-time fireworks show.

Shanghai began opening restaurants and stores on March 9 in Disneytown, Wishing Star Park and at the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel, requiring all guests to undergo temperature screening, present a green Shanghai QR health code at dining venues, constantly wear a mask and “maintain respectful social distances at all times.”

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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