Downtown Disney Moves a Step Closer to Reopening

May 23, 2020, 9:29 PM · California Governor Gavin Newsom on Saturday approved Orange County's plan to move a step deeper into phase two of the state's reopening plan, clearing retail stores and restaurants to allow customers inside to shop and eat.

Orange County includes the cities of Anaheim and Buena Park, the home of the Disneyland Resort and Knott's Berry Farm, respectively. That means today's action clears a major hurdle on the way toward allowing Downtown Disney and Knott's California Marketplace to reopen.

Knott's already this month has reopened some shops at California Marketplace for curbside pickups, including its Chicken-to-Go restaurant, Farm Bakery and Berry Market store. Downtown Disney has remained closed since mid-March. Restaurants and retail shops that reopen in Orange County will have to follow new state guidelines on social distancing and sanitation, as well as enforcing Orange County's new rule that all people must wear masks when outside and within six feet of others, including while shopping.

Neither Disney nor Knott's have commented on the eased restrictions in Orange County. One of the biggest shopping malls in the county, South Coast Plaza, has announced that it will reopen to customers on June 1.

San Diego County was cleared to enter the next step of phase two on Thursday, but neither SeaWorld San Diego nor Legoland California have external shopping and dining districts like Disneyland and Knott's offer. Southern California's other two major theme parks - Universal Studios Hollywood and Six Flags Magic Mountain - are in Los Angeles County, which remains in early phase 2, with all in-person dining and shopping banned. Restaurants there may serve only takeout, and retail stores are restricted to curbside pickup.

Replies (4)

May 23, 2020 at 10:47 PM

It will be tricky as it seems L.A. is still intent on having shelter a bit longer even if Newsome allows the state to reopen. Sort of same deal in Illinois as Chicago may still have shelter orders even after the state opens (let's just say there's been some clashes between the mayor and governor on that...)

Which would affect Six Flags Great America which is hoping to open up in July but faces same challenges as other Six Flags/Cedar Point type parks.

May 24, 2020 at 1:15 AM

I mean, things are certainly interesting right now. I work in a small-town casino in Nevada and on Tuesday we will know more, but our governor has set a target date of June 4th for casinos to reopen here (with restrictions that are still up in the air -- possible temperature checks, unsure about masks, all employees being tested for COVID-19, etc., but none of that is firm until the Gaming Commission meets next week).

I work graveyard, where some nights there are only two employees, so whatever restrictions may be in place make me wonder how two of us will handle it all to stay in good graces with Gaming (it could be that,for the time being, we eliminate graveyard hours and no longer stay open 24/7, but this is all guesswork until Tuesday's meeting).

Right now, we're all just kind of rolling with things. Theme parks are in the same boat (though Shanghai Disneyland's and Disney Springs' openings provide some pretty good clues), and just kind of winging it.

I'll be back to work when called. Our ventilation system is good (it's designed to get cigarette smoke out of the casino, so it's constantly getting old air out and new air in). My main concern is the people who take whatever precautions we will have in place as a personal affront to their freedom and react by spitting, intentionally coughing on us, or getting otherwise bent out of shape. As a manager, it's going to be on me to enforce whatever rules are a caveat of us reopening. They'll be state regulations, but I'm the one on whom people will take out their frustrations when I'm only following the rules that were set by someone else.

I look forward to getting back to work. I look forward to seeing my coworkers again. I look forward to seeing my regular guests again. I just know that in my area, there will be people who will reject any safety measures that we have in place.

Theme parks will have to deal with the same types of people. The whole "you're infringing on my rights by telling me to follow health protocols" people are going to cause a LOT of problems as the economy reopens.

May 24, 2020 at 10:30 AM

Thanks for the contribution, Kenny Vee. We don't often hear the personal feelings from true insiders. Hope it goes well for you and hope to hear from you again once you're working.

May 24, 2020 at 5:50 PM

@Kenny Vee: Hope things go well for you. I can see how hard it was Nevada shutting down considering casinos are about 95 percent of the state's entire income and have read of the challenges reopening (not helped by the mayor of Vegas doing that interview with Anderson Cooper that made her look like an incompetent nut).

It will be a challenge for other places. I live not far from Galloping Ghost arcade, the biggest old-school arcade in Illinois. 700 games so at least a hundred people if not more inside on a given night, twice as much on weekends. I can't imagine how they're going to handle it with constant wiping of controllers, etc.

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