Today marked the grand re-opening of Disneyland in Anaheim, California after the Disney park had been closed for over a year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Hollywood Reporter brings word of the first day and opening ceremonies, revealing that some fans showed up nearly three hours before the gates even opened. Current restrictions in the state mean that the park is only open from 9 AM to 7 PM Pacific Time, and tickets to get inside for park goers weren't sold at the gates and instead made available online weeks ago, meaning it was just the excitement of getting back into Disneyland that drove some fans to arrive early.
"Wow. What a day," Disney CEO Bob Chapek said to park employees ahead of the re-opening. "We have waited so long for this. You can just feel the energy and excitement all around us....For 412 days our park has been closed. And throughout that whole time, with virtually no days missed, this color guard has raised that flag in honor of our country and to provide some sense of hope that the Disneyland Resort could open up again."
Current restrictions in place in California mean that the Disney parks can only be open at 25% capacity, with only residents of the Golden State attending, and naturally social distancing measures and mandatory mask use are also required.
"This is a monumental day for Anaheim," Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu said. "We have all missed the joy of Disneyland, and we are so glad to have it back. But this means so much more to working families, small businesses, and our city. The impact of having the theme park closed for 13 months has been devastating. This begins our economic recovery and brings hope back to Anaheim."
On their official site, Disneyland notes that "Certain theme parks, hotels, restaurants and other locations are limited in capacity and subject to restricted availability or even closure based on guidance from health experts and government officials." Yesterday brought word that one major alteration being made is the length of rides, with the award winning Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance confirmed to be shortened to reduce the amount of time guests spend inside for both the ride and its queue.
Disneyland is expanding their use of a virtual queue system for the theme parks in the wake of the pandemic and ongoing vaccine availability, meaning park goers will be able to enjoy their stay in other areas while still waiting their turn for the many rides that are actually open.
(Cover Photo by Christian Thompson/Disneyland Resort via Getty Images)