After the coronavirus pandemic caused the United States to go into almost nationwide lockdown, one of the companies hardest hit was one of the richest: Disney. Suddenly many of their sources of income — movies, cruise ships, and theme parks — were shut down; things go so bad newly former CEO Bob Iger had to temporarily return. They’ve been very openly itching to at least open some of their parks, with Disney World in Orlando set to reopen in early July. Now, as per Entertainment Weekly, they’ve set another big date.
As per the report, the company’s California parks, among them their crown jewel Disneyland, is aiming for a July 17 opening. If that date sounds familiar, it’s because it’s also the same one chosen to open most of the nation’s movie theaters as well, with the hopes that audiences will…well, not pack multiplexes but social distance while watching Christopher Nolan’s breathlessly anticipated Tenet in a dark room with strangers and no windows.
But at least theme parks are for the most part outdoors (except for the rides in enclosed spaces, also without light and windows and filled with strangers). The parks set for reopening are Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, with their hotels slated for July 23. (The Downtown Disney District, meanwhile, will open a touch earlier, on July 9.)
Of course, as with many other businesses reopening while the pandemic is still going strong, there will be some restrictions. In a statement, Disney brass said there will be “enhanced health and safety measures,” and that certain “experiences that draw large group gatherings — such as parades and nighttime spectaculars — will return at a later date. While character meet and greets will be temporarily unavailable, characters will be in the parks in new ways to entertain and delight guests.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, California has 137,000 confirmed Covid cases, though the numbers are estimated to be even higher. The state is currently averaging nearly 3,000 new cases and about 60 deaths per day.