In what will undoubtedly be disappointing news for travelers to California, Disneyland has announced that it will not welcome back guests on its 65th anniversary, 17 July, as previously planned. The theme park closed in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but its reopening has now been postponed.

Ferris wheel at Disneyland in Anaheim, California
Disneyland has delayed its plans to reopen in California © Alister C./500px©Alister C./500px

Disney explained that it made this decision because the State of California is not issuing theme park reopening guidelines until "sometime after 4 July." "Given the time required for us to bring thousands of cast members back to work and restart our business, we have no choice but to delay the reopening of our theme parks and resort hotels until we receive approval from government officials," it says. Disney still has to negotiate with its unions before the parks can be reopened, and says that it will communicate a reopening date when it has a clearer understanding of when guidelines will be released.

However, the Downtown Disney District will still reopen on 9 July, as this measure was previously approved in line with the state's restaurants and retail outlets. Walt Disney World in Florida is still poised to begin its phased reopening on 11 July for the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom parks, and on 15 July for Epcot and Hollywood Studios. When it eventually reopens, Disneyland will be implementing new safety measures that include reducing capacity at the parks and suspending parades, fireworks and other popular events that draw crowds. Visitors won't be able to meet and greet the Disney characters for the moment, although they will be present in the parks.

Disney's Mickey and Minnie waving at the camera
Visitors won't be able to meet and greet the Disney characters for the moment © Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP via Getty Images

A new reservation system for entry will be implemented, so visitors will no longer be able to walk up to parks and buy a ticket. All of the guests, including annual pass holders, will have to book a reservation for park entry in advance of their visit. As is happening in Walt Disney World, it is expected that staff and visitors may be required to undergo temperature screenings before entering the parks and wear face coverings while there, and “high-touch” experiences such as makeover opportunities and playgrounds will remain temporarily unavailable.

Disneyland's reopening has been postponed © Krzysztof Dydynski/Lonely Planet

It is also expected that there will be an increased number of hand-sanitising stations, and contactless payments will be facilitated through the expansion of cashless transactions. For further information on the reopening of Disneyland, keep an eye on the Disney blog here.

This article was first published on 12 June and updated on 25 June, 2020.

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This article was first published Jun 12, 2020 and updated Jun 25, 2020.

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