Walt Disney World, Disneyland closed until further notice

March 27, 2020, 4:39 PM · The Walt Disney Company today announced that its Walt Disney World and Disneyland resorts will remain closed "until further notice."

Disney had closed both resorts through the end of the month but as early as this morning had been posting operating hours for the Disney World and Disneyland theme parks starting April 1, which clearly would not be happening given government orders in both California and Central Florida closing businesses and keeping people from gathering in large crowds.

Unions had demanded an answer about the closure from Disney, as the company had not posted new schedules for cast members nor confirmed how long cast members would be paid. Disney had committed to paying its hourly park employees through the end of March and this new announcement says that Disney will continue to pay them through April 18.

The Universal theme parks in the United States currently are closed through April 19 - with team members being paid for that period - while Cedar Fair has said that it is looking at a "mid-May" opening for its parks. The Legoland theme parks in California and Florida earlier today pushed their reopenings back to April 15. We are waiting official confirmation from Six Flags and the SeaWorld parks extending their temporary closures beyond the end of March.

Update: (4:39pm) SeaWorld just announced that it will not reopen its parks on April 1, either.

Replies (12)

March 27, 2020 at 3:04 PM

Closing until further notice is really the only honest answer at this point. All other opening date announcements are just guesses.

March 27, 2020 at 3:17 PM

Considering the timing of this announcement I think its obvious at this point they were waiting for the federal stimulus plan to pass before making any decisions. Making announcements beforehand could have impacted their ability to lobby for credits they were going to get (for example if they committed to paying their employees before hand the legislators could have thought they had the money anyway so they don't need any stimulus relief. Whereas by not announcing anything the legislators feel more pressured to get the stimulus passed).

This decision is way less complicated for companies like Six Flags and Cedar Fair because the vast majority of their employees aren't really considered [real] employees anyway and are just kids that live in the area, hence why they made extended closure announcements so much earlier.

Anyway at this point the whole travel and leisure industries in the country are closed indefinitely. The only thing people can do now is hope the curve comes down sooner rather than later.

March 27, 2020 at 4:24 PM

Imho If and when this blows over and it will eventually, besides the aforementioned crowd control measures such as virtual queue and boarding groups, I can see Disney, Universal and others with On site accommodations implement the following as a short term measure at the very least. And that is a stay to play policy to control crowds and make it easier to track down guests should COVID 19 flare up even after the all clear is given.

March 27, 2020 at 5:41 PM

At this point in time, an open-ended closure is the only thing businesses can really put out there. Nobody knows if this will diminish in a month or if isolation orders will continue through June. My best guess is that we may see workers return to the resorts in the first half of May to start prep for a reopening, then there will be a phased reopening to the public starting around Memorial Day. However, with models of the virus changing daily, we really won't know more until this time next month.

One thing I can say is that when the parks reopen, it will most likely not be simply throwing open the gates and letting everyone in. I expect capacity limits of 50% or less controlled by advance reservations for all visitors, additional screening to turn away those who may be contagious, and virtual queuing for most major attractions (especially those with indoor queues). Visiting Disney for the foreseeable future is likely to be a very different experience from what we've all come to know and love.

March 27, 2020 at 5:46 PM

I know Tribunals here in Scotland are using May 28 as a "parking date", they have to schedule things, so they're sticking them on that date on the expectation that its not going to go ahead.

I think at this point, any expectation of normalcy before midsummer is optimistic. Internationally, if flights are back to normal by the end of the year it will be a minor miracle - presuming the airlines actually survive.

March 28, 2020 at 11:05 AM

I can see them still hoping for Memorial Day but it's still so much up in the air even with push in quarters of "back to work soon." Could be they at least get construction guys back late April or so and prep for an opening in May. As others say, when they do, likely to keep down crowds (which will be lower anyway) but again, so much up in the air.

March 28, 2020 at 12:09 PM

When Disney does open, I can see problems with queues, and yes, I do believe they may have more virtual queue's... The rides may have a slower turnaround... the cast members may have to spray and wipe the seats, and handlebars between guests. Many rides may not open at first.

When they do open... I do expect that they will be watching for people with a cough... all they would need is for someone to claim they caught the virus at Disney...

March 28, 2020 at 2:28 PM

Completely understandable at this point even if it is gutting as me, my partner and my 9yo son were due to fly out May 28th to Orlando to do WDW and Universal. At present Virgin Holidays who we booked with are saying only immediate flights/holidays are cancelled and giving you the option to move but with this latest development, it’s looking increasingly unlikely we’ll be going any time soon.

In the meantime, stay safe everyone :)

March 28, 2020 at 3:25 PM

>>When Disney does open, I can see problems with queues, and yes, I do believe they may have more virtual queue's... The rides may have a slower turnaround... the cast members may have to spray and wipe the seats, and handlebars between guests. Many rides may not open at first.

Now China is turning back on, keeping an eye on Shanghai and Hong Kong should give us a good indication of what they're going to do.

March 28, 2020 at 3:55 PM

When Disney parks eventually do reopen I wouldn't be surprised if they temporarily eliminate the standby queue and make all attractions fastpass/fastpass+ only. I do realize that the pitchforks might be out now but this would be the easiest quickest way for Disney to maintain social distancing. Yes I do realize that they could make changes to the my Disney experience or the upcoming my genie app to accommodate virtual queues but that may not stop large groups gathering in the parks (e.g. boarding groups) fastpass/fastpass+ solves that at the expense of major backlash probably.

March 29, 2020 at 4:21 AM

Let’s be honest, None of the parks are gonna open this year.

March 30, 2020 at 7:48 AM

I dunno Typhoon. China is returning to normal. Shanghai Disneyland should only be weeks away, not months.

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