Disneyland Reopening and Construction Questions

Edited: November 1, 2020, 8:44 PM

Does anyone know when Disneyland may reopen? I know smaller theme parks can reopen in California. But...when will the governor allow Disneyland, and Universal to open?

I know with the pandemic, and the closing of Disneyland, construction on Avengers Campus has been halted, and pushed back. Has construction begun again on the land? Also, when might Avengers Campus open? I know it will probably be sometime in 2021.

Replies (11)

Edited: October 30, 2020, 3:38 PM

When Chazz Michael Michaels throws a triple axel in hell.

October 30, 2020, 2:14 PM

Construction continues on Avengers Campus and Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway. I expect Avengers Campus to open next summer, assuming the parks are open by then.

Keep in mind that if there is a change in federal administration, there might be national business opening rules in play from late January 2021 on, as well as state rules.

Under current California rules, the Disneyland theme parks may reopen at 25 percent capacity when Orange County reaches the "Yellow" Tier 4 in the state's four-tier reopening classification system. It's impossible to tell when that might happen, but given current trends, that is not expected for at least a month.

Orange County is in Tier 2 now and must wait three weeks after reaching Tier 3 before it can move to Tier 4. And the county does not appear anywhere close to getting to Tier 3 right now.

Edited: October 30, 2020, 3:56 PM

Supposedly Disneyland's internal target for opening is March, but they are prepared to open sooner if conditions permit. This target is based on the fact that they no longer believe a holiday opening is possible due to California's guidelines and Orange County officials don't believe the county will be able to achieve the yellow tier until early 2021 in the best case scenario. However, they are seeking a guarantee that they will be able to open in March regardless of the tier level in Orange County at that point, and if they do not have it a long term hibernation is on the table. Should that route be taken, they would likely remain closed until they can operate with minimal restrictions, even if it means operation doesn't resume until 2022. Other theme park operators are in a similar boat, and at least two have begun investigating strategies for reducing their west coast operations should a spring 2021 opening not be feasible.

As for Avengers Campus, the land will be ready to open by summer 2021, but it will not open until Disney feels they can benefit from it. Under a 25% capacity restriction, Disney expects the resort to max out on a majority of operating days, so if this cap is in place no further attractions will be opened. Once they get to a point where they are routinely far enough below their cap that the expected increase due to the opening will be accommodated, then they will proceed with opening of Avengers Campus. The hope is to open it in 2021 (likely late 2021), but I wouldn't be surprised if it gets postponed to spring 2022.

October 30, 2020, 4:06 PM

It sounds like Disneyland will remain closed for the rest of 2020. If they open in March, what will employees do in the mean time? Are they still getting paid? I know many employees were let go, unfortunately.

I understand LA, and Orange County have a high positivity rate. But Florida has a high positive rate too. Why was Disney World allowed to open, but not Disneyland? Disney World was allowed to open in July, even as Florida was considered a “hot spot” for COVID. Disney World has been able to make it work. Who’s to say Disneyland can’t do the same thing?

I can see Avengers Campus being pushed back until late 2021, or even 2022. If Disneyland is able to open by early 2021, I hope Avengers will be ready by the summer.

Edited: October 30, 2020, 6:00 PM

"If they open in March, what will employees do in the mean time? Are they still getting paid?"

All cast members were placed on furlough back in March, which means they're not getting paid and are eligible for unemployment, but are still employed by the company and are receiving benefits. Disney has begun laying off cast members they don't anticipate needing when they reopen rather than keeping them on furlough, and these layoffs will continue as needed. Those who are furloughed will remain in that position until they are laid off, resign for alternative employment, or have their position reinstated. However, unemployment benefits are likely to run out before the parks are able to reopen, so furloughed cast members will likely need to seek different employment in the near future.

If the resort goes into extended hibernation, 99% of the cast members would be permanently laid off, and then hiring when it is time to reopen would be treated more like hiring for a new resort. This is not an option Disney wants to take, but it may be necessary if an opening in the next few months doesn't look favorable as they cannot keep paying benefits on everyone indefinitely.

"Why was Disney World allowed to open, but not Disneyland?"

Because the state government in California considers theme parks the absolute highest risk business and has put an insane number of requirements on their reopening. California is one of only two states in the US that host a major theme park yet still prohibit its operation. This has been an ongoing issue since June and has led to the point that legal action is being considered and some operators are starting to weigh the prospects of relocating valuable assets and selling the rest rather than remaining closed indefinitely. Meanwhile, Florida imposes very few restrictions on business operation and has allowed pretty much everything to reopen.

November 1, 2020, 6:04 PM

AJ, what’s your gut feeling about when Disneyland will reopen? Will it be before the end of the year? Will it be early 2021? Late 2021? Also, when do you think Avengers Campus will open realistically?

November 1, 2020, 7:24 PM

Timbo, there are so many moving pieces right now that I have absolutely no idea. I will say my gut feeling is that an opening before March 2021 is probably unlikely unless major changes occur with California's regulations, but how long they'll be closed for if they don't foresee an opening in the first third of 2021 I cannot say. Is an opening at some point in 2021 likely? I'd say yes, but it's not out of the realm of possibility that it doesn't happen if the state remains extremely restrictive with operating requirements.

As for Avengers Campus, I'm going to say it will open when California drops their operating requirements (at least those relating to attendance), because I don't see any chance it opens while the resort is under a 25% capacity cap. I'm not even going to guess when that might be because it would be no more accurate than putting every date from March 2021 onward on a wheel and giving it a spin. Like the park, I'm sure Disney will open it at some point in 2021 if it makes business sense to do so, but I could easily see it postponed to 2022 or even later if California maintains the current rules on theme parks.

November 1, 2020, 8:34 PM

AJ, I understand what you’re saying. If it doesn’t open until 2022, that would be a very long time for the resort to be closed. If that’s the case (hopefully not), is there a chance Disneyland will close permanently? Since they wouldn’t be making any profit from Disneyland for almost 2 years. Theoretically, if they don’t open until 2022, it will almost 2 years. Since they closed in March of this year. If that’s the case...what does the future of Disneyland look like? I’m sure they’ll open in 2021 at some point, but who knows...?

Will Disney World continue to stay open? I know the governor is not keen on closing businesses, and does not follow the CDC guidelines. From what I’ve read, they haven’t had to do any contact tracing back to Disney World. It doesn’t seem to have been a super spreader of COVID cases. Since the safety protocols and measures have seem to work at Disneyland World, why couldn’t it do the same at Disneyland? Why wouldn’t California take that into consideration? Why wouldn’t they look at the data taken from Disney World?

November 1, 2020, 9:39 PM

Timbo, you're asking questions for which the answer doesn't exist, or for which it will likely change multiple times over the coming weeks as the situation develops. I do not think you'll get anything better from anyone here than what I posted above.

Is there a chance Disneyland will close permanently? Of course there's a chance. Is it a big chance? No, and I suspect Disney will sell their international properties off before giving up on the park purely for financial reasons, but there is a very small but nonzero chance of permanent closure for Disneyland. More likely, if the park needs to go into extended hibernation, Disney will likely remove all assets that can be easily relocated and repurposed elsewhere, cut all spending on the resort except the bare minimum required to prevent a state of disrepair, lay off all but the most critical cast members, and then let it idle until conditions are favorable for a reopening.

Will Disney World continue to stay open? I don't see any reason for them to close unless ordered to do so. The governor of Florida is not going to, and I doubt any other Florida politicians would be likely to given their performance, but there's always the possibility of a national closure mandate that they wouldn't be able to escape. The only other situation in which they would close would be if travel and operating restrictions make it impossible for them to operate in a profitable manner. However, I foresee scaling back of operations in that event rather than an outright closure.

Why doesn't California look at the data taken from Disney World? Because California is being California and doesn't trust anything they don't collect themselves. This isn't the first time something good enough for the theme park industry as a whole (or any industry for that matter) hasn't been good enough for California, and it certainly won't be the last. While Disney will survive, it is looking increasingly likely that not all of California's theme parks will remain in operation, and I've heard of at least two major parks with permanent closure plans if a spring/summer 2021 opening proves unfeasible.

November 1, 2020, 11:01 PM

I won't rehash what's already been stated but I'll say a little regarding Avengers Campus.

From what I've read and heard, AC seems to be a very heavily "meet and greet" based land. Yes it will have a Spiderman attraction, but it seems like Disney is really pushing the land to be what Galaxy's Edge was suppose to be, whether this was the idea from the start of development or not. Because of this, there is honestly no incentive to open the land while meet and greets are unavailable. Even at 25% capacity, DL will have no problem hitting that capacity everyday for a while. If they continue to hit capacity, then there is no incentive to increase demand, especially for a new land that will emphasize a banned activity in the parks. So my answer is whenever California begins to get better (well duh). Once California has gotten better and they can allow increased capacity and meet and greets, then AC will open.

And as for the big e-ticket Avengers Wakanda attraction, I've heard that that is dead (wow shocker /s)

Edited: November 2, 2020, 2:59 PM

I am going to remain cautiously optimistic and believe we are going to see an early path to re-opening in California however it will be on the stricter scale I keep brow beating everyone with.

I think we are going to see a nationalized game plan with guidance and conditions.

I think we are going to see:

1.) Air Travel pre-screening (Negative test 72 hours prior to boarding aircrafts)
2.) Full contact tracing and a federal app to help the CDC isolate and mitigate risk for those traveling.
3.) Hotel Properties as the gatekeepers for screening/re-screening prior to guest off property activities (specifically theme parks).
4.) Continue to enforce reservations systems.
5.) Employee daily testing and health questionnaire.
6.) Geographical operations of "To and From" allowed on the basis of traveled from area.
7.) limited indoor experiences under 20 minutes.

As for the construction, it seems the recurring narrative we see driven is "continued progress as budgets allow". I think operating income is king and as long as we do not see drop off, projects at or near completion will make there way in summer 2021. I will say, AC 2021, Tron early 2022. Guardians spring 2023

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