Disneyland Reopening: Out of State Guests Can Visit Beginning June 15th!

Disneyland has endured the longest closure in its history due to the COVID-19 pandemic and after a long, long wait- the parks successfully reopened on April 30th!

Keep reading our guide for everything you need to know about the new policies that are required at Disneyland right now, the long timeline of back and forth with California over reopening guidelines and everything you need to know about upcoming park reservations.

UPDATE: Out of state guests are now welcome to visit the Disneyland Resort beginning June 15th as we predicated in our earlier speculations! You can book your reservation now up until 120 days in advance!

California Reveals Details of Reopening Plan for June 15th

NEW UPDATE: The long awaited details we've been waiting for has finally arrived! Today California revealed their reopening guidance moving forward on June 15th which includes:

  • Starting June 15th, California plans to fully align with CDC guidance on masks which means vaccinated people will not be required to wear masks indoors or outdoors. Businesses can continue to set their own guidance.
  • All of California's restrictions on travel outside the state will be lifted. Any travel restrictions down the line will be in alignment with the CDC.
  • California is not considering creating a vaccine passport at this time.
  • All restrictions will be lifted statewide which means that the “Blueprint for a Safer Economy” tier will officially be gone.
    • These are the restrictions, detailed below, that prevent out of state guests from visiting Disneyland which is why we've been following this news so closely. The restrictions also include attendance limits on the theme parks, capacity on rides, restricting use of indoor queues, restricted dining, etc.

The only restrictions Disneyland will be recommended to follow are those for “Outdoor Mega Events” which the California Department of Health confirmed includes theme parks:

  • For Outdoor Mega Events (example: music or food festivals/car shows/large endurance events and marathons/parades/sporting events and concerts):
    • In addition to the general public health recommendations:
      • Verification of fully vaccinated status or pre-entry negative test result is strongly recommended for all attendees. Attendees who do not verify vaccination status should be asked to wear face coverings.
      • Attendees must follow CDPH Guidance for Face Coverings.
      • Information will be prominently placed on all communications, including the reservation and ticketing systems, to ensure guests are aware that the State strongly recommends  that they be fully vaccinated, obtain a negative COVID-19 test prior to attending the event, or wear a face covering.
      • Venues are required to make available masks for all attendees.

What does this mean for Disneyland?

In short, we believe this is the end to state requirements on theme parks which will allow for out of state guests to visit starting June 15th and lift all other restrictions.

This also means we'll likely see Disneyland start moving in a similar direction as Walt Disney World with only requiring masks indoors, increased capacity on rides and in parks, etc. We'll keep you updated the instant we know more from Disney!

We will be updating our newsletter the moment that we hear official news from Disneyland! At this point we're just waiting for that official confirmation. Join our newsletter so you know the instant we get more news!
Get Notified When Non-California Residents Can Visit >

Theme Parks Only Allowed to Welcome California Residents?

While the news that out of state visitors will be restricted is upsetting for many readers, we are optimistic that now the theme parks are open we will start to see a gradual shift towards more lenient protocols. Times are starting to look brighter in 2021 as we have multiple vaccines available and the steady decline of COVID cases in Orange County, CA. We don't anticipate the out of state visitor restriction lasting long.
On April 6th, the Governor of California was quoted stating that the new goal of the state is to “fully reopen California's economy on June 15th if current COVID-19 trends hold”– this includes a move away from the current color-coded tier system with regulates closures by county and the whole state will enter this new phase at the same time. We anticipate this date being when we see the travel advisory lifted by and when out of state residents can visit! Fingers crossed our speculation holds true but it's a light on the horizon for out of state park guests.

State Guidelines Updated to Allow Vaccinated Out of State Visitors

The California state guidelines were updated this week to allow fully vaccinated out of state guests to attend activities or events that are currently limited to California residents only. It was confirmed today by InPark Magazine that the California Department of Health verified that “fully vaccinated people from out of state are now permitted to participate in activities restricted to in-state visitors.” California residents are not required to be vaccinated or show proof of vaccination to enter theme parks. After it was confirmed, local news outlets in California started picking up the story.

There's been no confirmation from Disney that this would change any of their policies moving forward. As of now there's no plans to allow out of state guests announced from Disneyland. SeaWorld and Universal Studios Hollywood are the only theme parks in CA that has changed their policy to accept vaccinated visitors from out of state. We do not expect Disneyland to follow this policy. 

Here's the now updated requirements from Universal Studios Hollywood regarding out of state guests:

Universal Studios Hollywood is now open. In accordance with government guidelines, to visit you must either be a California resident or an out-of-state visitor who is fully vaccinated for COVID-19 (proof of COVID-19 vaccination and photo ID will be required for park entry by out-of-state visitors, click here for requirements). At this time, online sales are restricted to California residents and front gate sales are restricted to fully vaccinated out-of-state visitors. Unfortunately, at this time, we can only welcome out-of-state visitors age 16 and over as children are not eligible for vaccination. Party size for all visitors is limited to a maximum of three households. Exposure to COVID-19 in an inherent risk in any public location where people are present; we cannot guarantee you will not be exposed during your visit.

We still expect to see a change to theme park guidelines on June 15th as the date the governor of California as listed as the date the economy will ‘reopen' in California.

Disneyland Announces April 30th Reopening

Disneyland reopened both Disneyland Park and California Adventure on April 30th!!

Theme park capacity is significantly limited to comply with governmental requirements (see our breakdown of the CA tier system below) so Disneyland is managing attendance through a new theme park reservation system that requires all guests to obtain a reservation for park entry in advance. To enter a park, both a park reservation and valid admission for the same park on the same date are required for guests ages 3 and up. Until further notice, only California residents may visit the parks in line with current state guidelines.

You can read the full details of this reservation system in our guide which includes FAQs, steps on how to make a reservation, and ticket information.

Disneyland Will Verify California Residency
The full list of theme park guidelines, released on March 26th, confirms that Disneyland will be required to ensure all guests attending Disneyland are California residents. The exact language from the guidelines says:
In-state visitors only. Information will be prominently placed on all communications, including the Reservation and Ticketing systems, to ensure guests are aware of Reservation and Ticketing Requirements. At the time a guest makes a park reservation and purchases park tickets, the park operators must obtain an attestation that when visiting the park, the guest’s party size will not contain more than 3 households and the guest, and all members of the guest’s party will be instate visitors.
If you're not a California resident, you won't be able to access the park according to the theme park guidelines. Disneyland has already stated on their website that visitors will be required to show proof of California residency before entering the theme parks. On opening day some guests were asked to show proof of id while others weren't- time will tell what the procedure will look like moving forward.

Theme Park Guidelines Issued by California Specify Restrictions for Dining and Indoor Rides

The State of California released their full guidance for theme park operations with the restrictions that theme parks are required to operate with. Some takeaways from this guidance, in terms of guest experience, include:

  • In state visitors only across all tiers
  • Park visitors are permitted to eat and drink only in designated dining areas. Concession stands must be accompanied by additional designated and shaded eating areas.
  • Indoor rides must be limited to no more than 15 minutes.
  • All queuing must be performed in outdoor settings only and guests from diff
    erent households or other parties must be at least six feet apart during queuing.
  • Park operators must collect complete name and contact information (including a phone number) of the ticket purchaser for necessary contact tracing.
  • Only outdoor live performances and shows are allowed in all tiers.

Some of these guidelines aren't too different than what we've seen implemented at Walt Disney World right now while others are a bit more restrictive.

Disneyland Announces Unavailable Experiences Upon Reopening

Not to anyone's surprise if you've followed the reopening procedures of Walt Disney World, Disneyland has announced which amenities will be unavailable upon reopening which include:

  • FASTPASS and Disney MaxPass services are suspended for the time being and are not available for purchase or use.
  • Magic Morning and Extra Magic Hour offerings will be suspended upon reopening of the on-site hotels and theme parks as Disneyland manages capacity.
  • Select attractions and 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 guests. We expect this to be similar to what we see at Walt Disney World where they've had spontaneous character cavalcades, character interactions from a distance, etc.
  • The Disneyland Resort will also have capacity measures in place, as well as limitations on parking and operating hours.
  • Disneyland will manage theme park capacity with a reservation system due to the limitations in place to comply with governmental requirements and promote physical distancing,
We expect Disneyland to utilize many of the same reopening procedures seen at Walt Disney World to manage capacity and effect physical distancing so this news isn't altogether surprising.

Avengers Campus Opening on June 4th in California Adventure

Disneyland made the exciting announcement that the much anticipated addition to California Adventure called Avengers Campus will open on June 4th! This is great news for guests looking to visit Disneyland this summer and we also feel this is a great sign that Disney believes their state restrictions will be lifted sooner rather than later.

Disneyland Full Theme Park Guidelines Released on March 26th

After a long wait, since October of 2020, theme parks received an update to the previous announced guidelines within the color coded tier system the State of California has used for reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic. The color coded system begins with purple begin the most restrictive category to yellow being the least restrictive. These new guidelines go into effect on April 1stand will continue to have an impact on Disneyland operations as they begin their reopening on April 30th. 

NEW: Orange County was able to move into the Yellow tier on May 19th which allows Disneyland to increase capacity to 35%!

Widespread (purple):

  • Closed

Substantial (red):

  • Max attendance capacity 15%
  • Small Groups – Max 10 people or 3 household groups with no intergroup mixing
  • Indoor capacity max 15% with time restrictions
  • No indoor dining
  • In-state visitors only

Moderate (orange):

  • Max attendance capacity 25%
  • Indoor capacity max 25% with time restrictions
  • In-state visitors only

Minimal (yellow):

  • Max attendance capacity 35%
  • Indoor capacity max 25% with time restrictions
  • In-state visitors only

This guidance includes additional considerations that may still apply for:

  • Admission, entry, and security
  • All rides and attractions
  • Dining and concessions
  • Performances, interactive exhibits, and events
  • Uniform, costume, and wardrobe protocols

Here is the updated guidance as of March 26th for theme parks and amusement parks. 

For your reference, here are the case county metrics for each tier color:

Frequently Asked Questions

Understandably, the constant back and forth between Disney and the state of California has been confusing. I've done my best to answer based on what we know so far and what our speculations might be.

When can out of state visitors return?

I don't anticipate this restriction lasting long. In fact, my speculation is that the instant we saw California remove their travel advisory for the state we will see that restriction lifted from Disneyland too. We are hopeful we'll get an update on this news soon or at the very least, we'll see the out of state visitor restriction be lifted by summer especially with the state anticipated to fully reopen California by. June 15th. We understand how disappointing this news is and if you're looking for a Disney fix sooner rather than later you should read up on why we loved our recent visits to Disney World. 

When will Orange County move into the less restrictive tiers? 

Cases have been dramatically dropping in California and Orange County is now in the Yellow tier! You can look closer at the data for Orange County and other counties on the California COVID-19 tracking website. 

Can I get a refund for my Disneyland tickets?

If you booked with Get Away Today, you can switch your entire Disneyland package over to Walt Disney World which many of us here at this site have done successfully! If you purchased directly through Disney or from third party companies, your best bet is to contact them and ask for a refund. Some reports have been positive about people receiving refunds so it can't hurt to try. Or if you know you want to visit when they do reopen, hang onto them and wait. Disneyland has already extended the expiration dates of their tickets until at least the end of 2021.

You can read more about ticket expirations for certain ticket types on Disneyland's website. 

Disneyland Prepares for Reopening

When you visit Downtown Disney you can access the esplanade and get a peek at the front gates of Disneyland and California Adventure. You can see that Disney has already installed plexiglass barriers on the gates and ticket lines along with social distancing markers on the ground leading up to the entrance gates.

From a distance, you can see plexiglass has been installed behind the iron gates.

Plexiglass has been installed to protect guests and cast members.

A closer look at the plexiglass at the ticket stations.

The parks will manage attendance with a new reservation system. All guests will be required to obtain a park reservation guaranteeing entry. These reservations will be subject to availability. We don't have any further details on this yet, but we will share them with our newsletter email list when they are released. Walt Disney World's reservation system gives us a good idea of what to expect with on-site guests having first priority before other ticket holders.

Some experiences will be temporarily suspended like parades, nighttime spectaculars, and other entertainment options that may create crowds. Characters will still be present in the park and if you're following our Walt Disney World reopening guide, you can see how Disney has cleverly incorporated characters on horses, boats, and parade floats to still bring magic to the parks while effectively being distant.

You can read everything we know so far about the Disneyland reservation system in our guide.>

Disneyland Cancels Annual Pass Program

Disney announced on January 14th 2021 that all Annual Passholder memberships will be cancelled effective immediately. Passholders will be refunded the appropriate pro rated amounts based on the amount of time left on the pass beyond the date that the parks closed last March.

Passholders can check their refund amount by logging in at Disneyland.com/PassportRefund. Passholders will continue to receive their discounts for the time being- likely until the park reopens or a new program is announced. Disneyland is rumored to have over 1 million annual passholders which would have likely overwhelmed a limited capacity system.

Downtown Disney Disneyland Safety Measures

Downtown Disney reopened on July 9th 2020 with new safety and limited capacity measures in place. Disney learned a lot from the Walt Disney World Disney Springs reopening to help them successfully reopen Downtown Disney. Keep reading for a photo and video tour of opening day and must know new policies for visiting Downtown Disney!

Guests effectively social distancing as they wait to get to the temperature check points.

You undergo your temperature screening before you head through security

Plexiglass is installed between guests and cast members in the security tents

The Lego Store!

Cast members are in place to encourage social distancing in lines.

World of Disney often utilized the Virtual Shopping Queue (more info on this below!)

You can find handwashing stations throughout Downtown Disney- we will likely see these installed in the parks when they open.

You can see our full video tour of reopening day at Downtown Disney on our Facebook page:

When guests arrive, they will be directed to park at Simba Lot (at Disneyland Drive and Katella Ave). There are reduced capacity measures in place to help create effective social distancing. If Downtown Disney is at capacity they will let guests in as others leave throughout the day.

All guests are required to wear masks and go through temperature check points before entering. The area is being constantly cleaned and the cast members are doing a great job of encouraging social distancing.

How is shopping different?

  • Mobile Wait List: At some retail locations, including the World of Disney store and Marceline’s Confectionery,  a mobile wait list system might be used to manage the number of Guests shopping when the location and/or queue are at capacity. Guests can choose to provide their name and mobile number to receive a text message when they are able to return.
  • New Product Launches: Guests can still find new merchandise at the Downtown Disney District. However, monthly program releases and limited-edition merchandise will be by reservation only. Guests can visit the Merchandise Events page for more information on future buying opportunities.
  • Dressing Rooms: For the time being, dressing rooms are not be available for use.
  • Returns: Eligible returns and exchanges will be accepted at the World of Disney store, as well as the other Disney-owned and -operated locations in the Downtown Disney District, subject to the returns and exchange policy.

What is dining like?

Dining locations have been reopened to incorporate the enhanced health and safety measures, physical distancing, use of face coverings, increased cleaning, and limited-contact Guest services.

To promote physical distancing and touchless transactions, a number of changes include:

  • Increased outdoor patio-style seating
  • Parties seated at tables 6 feet apart
  • Digital or single-use menus available at many locations

For some table service restaurants, Guests will be able to make advance dining reservations by booking online. Some dining locations may also use their own reservation system or virtual waitlist.

Read more about Downtown Disney in our guide. 

Face Covering Rules and ClarificationsNEWS! Disney's Face Masks Are Starting to Ship to Customers ...

Disney has updated their policy regarding face coverings to help guests be informed on what type of face covering is allowed in the parks. As a reminder, guests aged 2 years of age and older must wear a face covering at all times (including water rides) except when dining.

  • All face coverings (whether disposable or reusable) must:
    • Be made with at least two layers of breathable material
    • Fully cover the nose and mouth and secure under the chin
    • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
    • Be secured with ties or ear loops and allow the guest to remain hands-free
    • Guests must be stationary and socially distanced to remove their masks to eat or drink
  • Unacceptable styles:
    • At this time, based on guidance from health authorities, neck gaiters and open-chin triangle bandannas are not acceptable face coverings nor face coverings containing vales, mesh, or holes of any kind.
    • Costume masks are also not considered appropriate and are prohibited from being worn, in alignment with Disney’s existing rules.

Disney currently has face masks available for $6 each or four for $20 in World of Disney including some cute park inspired prints like Haunted Manson or it's a small world!

Universal Studios Hollywood CityWalk Open Universal CityWalk Hollywood - 101 Things To Do In Los Angeles

Universal CityWalk is also open with preventative health policies in place such as:

  • Limiting capacity and following social distancing guidelines throughout all entertainment venues, restaurants and shops throughout the destination.
  • Increasing cleaning and disinfection procedures, and frequently cleaning all high touch surfaces.
  • All team members will undergo temperature checks and wear face coverings.
  • All team members will participate in extensive training on new procedures.
  • Face coverings and temperature checks required for guests.

Read more about the new safety updates for Universal CityWalk here. 

Walt Disney World and Disney Springs Opening Details

While the policies enacted at Walt Disney World may look different for Disneyland, it's helpful to look at what they're doing to get an idea of what we might expect at Disneyland. The announced policy changes fall in life closely with the recommendations by medical experts and travel partners Disney described above.

Walt Disney World follows similar safety measures that we've seen in place for Disney Springs and other Florida theme parks. These include:

  • Certain Experiences Temporarily Suspended: Experiences that draw large group gatherings– such as parades and nighttime spectaculars – will return at a later date. In addition, “high-touch” experiences such as makeover opportunities, playgrounds and character meet and greets are temporarily unavailable. Characters are in the parks, at a distance, to still greet guests.
  • Reduced capacity: Walt Disney World has a reduced guest capacity of 35% and an advanced reservation system in place to manage attendance. All guests are required to obtain a reservation for park entry in advance.
  • Screening and prevention support: Guests 2 years of age and older and cast members are required to wear appropriate face coverings in theme parks and common areas of resort hotels. Face coverings must have ear loops or ties- no gaiters or bandanas allowed. All guests and cast members also undergo temperature screenings prior to entering a theme park.
  • Cleanliness and sanitization: Increased cleaning and disinfection, determining where that should take place (for example, in high-traffic areas), and the cleaning products and processes used. Cashless transactions are recommended.
  • Physical distancing: Managing guest density in queues, restaurants, hotels, ride vehicles and other facilities throughout the park and across the resort.
  • New Signage: Disney also revealed a list of new signs to remind guests of hand washing, touchless payment, distancing measures, etc.
  • Mask Relief Areas: There are designed ‘guest relaxation' areas for guests to safely remove their masks and get a break from wearing them throughout the park.
  • Reduced Operating Hours: As of now Disney World's operating hours will be much shorter with an average time of operation from 9AM-7PM. Over time, along with capacity, Disney World have been extending operating hours based on the circumstances surrounding crowds at the park like holidays and school breaks.

We will keep things updated as we learn more about these new policies and Disney's commitment to safety.

You can read more about how Walt Disney World is handling their reopening in regards to dining, FastPass+ reservations, vacation packages, and preventative health measures in our guide.

Disneyland Resort Reopening Timelinedisneyland coronavirus

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's been a long back and forth between theme parks and the state of California. While we finally have a reopening date of April 30th, we'll leave our timeline up so you can read through the history of this rollercoaster ride with the state of California below.

Disneyland Reopening Timeline

  • June 10th: Disneyland proposes reopening date of July 17th for Disneyland Resort followed by Disneyland resort hotels.
  • June 24th: Disneyland announces that the reopening date was postponed since the State of California did not issue reopening guidelines for the theme parks. Discussions from this point and until September remained uncertain and Governor Newsom would often state ‘guidelines are coming soon' whenever he was asked about theme parks.
  • July 9th: Downtown Disney opens to the public with new health measures in place.
  • Aug. 28th: Governor Newsom reveals new tier system for California but initially theme parks were considered exempt from these tiers.
  • Sept. 22nd: Disney officials held a small virtual press conference and implored the Governor to release guidelines with Disney parks chairman Josh D'Amaro stating, “We're ready. It's time.” This press conference was followed by letters of support from Orange County officials, local area businesses, and even legislators in California. Following this press conference, local officials in towns where theme parks have a major impact on local businesses  pleaded with the state government for guidelines citing large local deficits and devastating impacts to small businesses.
  • Sept. 29th: Disney announces the unfortunate layoff of 28,000 employees as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the press release, the Walt Disney Company stated that the layoffs were “exacerbated in California by the State’s unwillingness to lift restrictions that would allow Disneyland to reopen.” This announcement blew up in the news bringing national attention to the extended closure of Disneyland.
  • Sept. 30th: Disneyland fans heard word that reopening guidelines would be released by the end of the week which sent rumors flying. Many of these rumors focused on restrictive guidelines that may have restricted Disneyland to only accepting guests within a certain radius and/or restricted Disneyland reopening until Orange County would be in the yellow tier.
  • Oct. 2nd: Disneyland called upon Governor Newsom to delay the guidelines and revisit discussions with the theme parks. The governor's office agreed which put the release of guidelines back on hold. On that same day Walt Disney Company chairman Bob Iger resigned from Governor Newsom's reopening economic task force.
  • Oct. 7th: Governor Newsom said in a statement that he's not in a “hurry to release guidelines” for theme parks in Southern California stating that: “There’s disagreements in terms of opening a major theme park,” said Newsom. “We’re going to let science and data make that determination.” The governor went on to say regarding the tensions regarding theme park guidelines “but we’re going to be led by a health-first framework, and we’re going to be stubborn about it.”
  • Oct. 7th: Later that same day, Disney released the following statement in response to Governor Newsom's remarks which you can read below.

  • Oct. 10th: Disneyland adopts recommendations from local Orange County health agency after their tour of the theme parks. The local health agency proposed a reopening in the orange tier in the state of California's tier system. Orange County remains in the red tier but there is optimism they are not far from moving up to less restrictive orange tier.
  • Oct. 14th: It was revealed that Governor Newsom has sent a team of state officials out to Florida to survey the theme park operations in Orlando to help inform the Governor's decisions on the guidelines and when they might be released. This revelation was quickly followed with information that confirmed state officials were going to visit California theme parks next to go over safety measures and policies.
  • Oct. 19th: Newsom stated in a press conference that guidelines would be released tomorrow but reminded viewers that California was going to continue to be stubborn about their approach with a health-first focus. This conference also mentioned that the guidelines may split up for the theme parks- meaning that larger theme parks such as Disneyland, Universal, etc. may have different guidelines than other small scale theme parks in the state.
  • Oct. 20th: The state of California releases theme park guidelines which unfortunately didn't have the best news for Disneyland fans. Disneyland will not be allowed to reopen until Orange County moves into the yellow tier which is likely months away.
  • Feb. 4th: The bipartisan Assembly Bill 420 is introduced to request large theme parks (like Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood) to be allowed to reopen in the orange tier with smaller theme parks.
  • March 5th: Our biggest update since last October came with the state of California making changes to the theme park guidelines allowing Disneyland (and other major theme parks) to open within the red tier at 15% capacity among other restrictions. This is the most positive path towards reopening we've seen since the original guidelines were released last Fall.
  • March 9th: at The Walt Disney Company Shareholders Meeting Disney CEO Bob Chapek shared that they are marking preparations to reopen Disneyland by the “end of April”.This full statement was just released from Bob Chapek:Disneyland President Ken Potrock released a statement at this positive path towards reopening:
  • March 17th 2021: Disneyland announces they're reopening on April 30th to California residents after being closed for over a year.

This has been quite the rollercoaster (and not the kind we like!) of reopening news and rumors since Disneyland's closure in March 2020. Downtown Disney has been open since July with great success and no known outbreaks of COVID-19 reported at the popular dining and shopping district.

In the meantime, if you're missing that Disney magic (like we all are!) consider reading through our guide to Walt Disney World which has been successfully open with no outbreaks since July. We are currently planning our own trips to the Most Magical Place on Earth with great excitement and confidence in Disney's safety policies.

Theme Parks Response to Reopening Guidelines Released in October 2020

This has been a long saga between the theme parks and the state of California, you can read their initial reactions back to the beginning guidelines released in October 2020.

As soon as the theme park guidelines were released, theme park industries in the state of California have begin to respond with their disappointment. The California Attractions and Parks Association responded with a group press conference with the major theme parks including Disneyland, Universal, Legoland, Six Flags, and Knott's Berry Farm. You can watch it below.

Immediately after the guidelines were released on 10/20, Disneyland was the first to respond with a reminder of not just how disappointing this news is but as to how this will impact the community:

This was followed by a statement from Erin Guerrero, Executive Director, California Attractions and Parks Association:

To say today’s announcement on theme parks is disappointing would be a grave understatement. The Governor has not used science or data to inform his decision. Theme parks have opened and operated safely around the world for months. Data and science prove that theme parks can operate responsibly anywhere – there is no rational reason to believe they can’t do so in California. No one cares more about park employee and guest safety than the parks themselves.

Let me be unequivocal– the guidance issued by the Newsom Administration will keep theme parks shuttered for the foreseeable future. By forcing amusement parks to stay closed until their home county reaches Tier 4, the Governor has issued a “Keep Theme Parks Closed Indefinitely” Plan which will devastate California’s major theme park industry.

This plan prolongs unemployment for tens of thousands of people, hastens bankruptcy for families and small business owners adjacent to parks, and contributes to insolvency for local governments whose budgets rely on parks as an anchor economic driver.

While we appreciate the more nuanced approach in the guidance for smaller theme parks, keeping California’s larger parks closed is unfair and unreasonable. Based on the responsible reopening of parks in other countries and states, science and data do not support the indefinite closure of this iconic industry in California.

Responsibly reopening amusement parks on a reasonable timeline can and should be done while we fight this pandemic – the two are not mutually exclusive. California’s theme parks and their phenomenal workforce are ready to reopen responsibly. Parks’ loyal guests are ready and the communities and local governments surrounding the parks are ready. We urge Governor Newsom to revise this guidance to allow for a reasonable and responsible reopening of California’s signature theme park industry in Tier 3.

The Mayor of Anaheim also released a statement:

Karen Irwin, President & COO, Universal Studios Hollywood:

Pushing us into Tier Four behind other businesses that have already reopened makes no sense. It ignores science, reason and the economic devastation this will bring to the thousands of our employees, the indirect businesses that rely on us and our industry overall.

The health and safety of our guests and team members has always been our top priority. We have designed detailed health and safety protocols that allowed us to open our theme parks in Orlando, Osaka and Singapore. We have collaborated with LA County health and government officials on a comprehensive plan to move forward safely here, and we are prepared and ready to reopen. Our theme parks are controlled primarily outdoor businesses that we have proven we can operate responsibly.

We should be in Tier Three, along with other industries that have proven they can reopen responsibly. Our employees are ready to go back to work and the fact that they won’t be able to do so until well into next year is shameful.”

Kurt Stocks, President, LEGOLAND California Resort:

“The guidance issued today by the state is arbitrary and unacceptable to the industry,” said Kurt Stocks, president of the Carlsbad-based park, in a statement. “Not allowing theme parks to open until Tier 4 will destroy the industry in California and the economic impact to industries that rely heavily on theme parks will be catastrophic. The administration’s actions to this point have cost tens of thousands of jobs across the industry, and today’s announcement will all but confirm that thousands more will be lost. Legoland California Resort has developed a comprehensive and robust reopening plan, taking every precaution to meet and exceed guidelines given to other businesses and industries since voluntarily closing seven months ago.”

Raffi Kaprelyan, Regional Vice President, Cedar Fair, operators of Knott’s Berry Farm, California’s Great America, and Gilroy Gardens:

Cedar Fair is extremely disappointed and frustrated with the lack of reasonable consideration given to the opening of California’s most popular theme parks. Our company has safely operated 7 of its 13 parks across the U.S. this year with zero cases of COVID-19 being traced back to our properties.

Our safety protocols have been proven effective, exceeding state requirements where we’ve opened. Following capacity parameters, we feel strongly that both Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park and California’s Great America in Santa Clara should be allowed to open under the same guidance afforded smaller parks such as Gilroy Gardens, which also operates under Cedar Fair management.

Suffice to say, the news today was not popular with theme park fans, community members, or many of the theme parks in Southern California.

Plan Your Disneyland Opening Vacation!

Keep reading our blog to keep you updated on everything you need to know to prepare for Disneyland opening! We have a team of writers working hard to keep you updated weekly on events in the parks and tips for navigating the magic. Subscribe to our free deals newsletter to receive helpful planning information, exclusive Disney deals, and access to the lowest priced Disney tickets anywhere. You can find more information on planning your vacation here:

Disclosure: We have used all the products recommended on Mickey Visit. We may receive compensation when you click on links to some products featured.

About Lindsay Brookshier

Lindsay is a college English instructor and has years of writing experience through various nonprofits, charities, newspapers, and online magazines. As the editor of Mickey Visit, she oversees article content and leads our fantastic team of writers to meet guest vacation needs. You can still find her writing weekly content to help make your Disney Parks trip fantastic here on Mickey Visit and writing Disney culture pieces on DisneyDose.com- you can also view her recently featured posts on Disney Parks travel on Nerd Wallet and SFGate. Lindsay comes from a dedicated Disney family and enjoys taking her son to the Disney parks as often as possible.

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8 comments add your comment

  1. Tickets for August. We have reservations at at Disneyland neighborhood Hotel. We’re only there for two days, how are we supposed to know that we’re guaranteed to get in the parks on those two particular days? That would be the 19th and 20th of August?

    • Unfortunately, Disneyland hasn’t released an opening date or information on if they will do a reservation system (we anticipate they will follow a pattern similar to what Walt Disney World is doing though!) and how that will work out. I would bookmark this page and keep checking back because this is where we will post all official updates from Disneyland when we get them.

      • Hi. I have pretty much the same question. Hoping for an update. I also have reservations in August/September booked at a good neighbor hotel. My booking for the hotel and park tickets was through Disney Travel. Would I be considered a “guest with existing reservation” who would take priority?

        Also, I’m planning to attend the Star Wars Celebration, assuming it still takes place. I was going to go to the park at night. If the park closes early then my tickets are no good on the days of the celebration. Does Disney offer any type of compensation or refund for the reduced value of the tickets?

        Thank you!

        • Those are both great questions! We just don’t know all the details yet about how the reservation work. I do think it’s a good move to have an existing travel reservation in place. From what we’ve seen at Disney World, people with existing reservations have taken priority over those without tickets/reservations. As for the Star Wars Celebration, we still don’t know much about how that will be handled. I have good faith Disney will do everything to make it right if the celebration is cancelled. Keep checking our guide, this is where we will post all updates immediately after we get them.

  2. We have a trip booked for September but the kids don’t want to go if they are required to wear masks. Is Disneyland going to require masks like Disney world?

    • It’s safe to assume that Disneyland will also require masks for ages 2 and older when they open.

  3. Is there any information if Disneyland will open at 100% capacity on June 15th? Or what other changes we can expect? We have tickets for June 15th and with the expected heat, I’m not sure we can handle the crowds, the masks, the heat. Any insight would be greatly appreciated!

    • Hi Nancy,

      You are in luck! Masks are no longer required anywhere for anyone that is vaccinated and are only required indoors for those who are not vaccinated. We do not have anything new from Disney about capacity.

      You will still be able to have a great trip!

      Gavin

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