When Will Disneyland Reopen?

August 23, 2020, 5:54 PM · Walt Disney World's theme parks started reopening on July 11. Disneyland Paris returned July 15. Tokyo Disney reopened July 1. Shanghai Disneyland welcomed guests again back on May 11. Hong Kong Disneyland returned June 18, then closed again on July 15.

But when will Disneyland reopen?

Disney's original theme park has been closed since March 14 due to the pandemic. The resort announced in June that Disneyland and its sister park Disney California Adventure would return on Disneyland's 65th birthday — July 17, 2020 — but canceled those plans when the state of California declined to permit theme parks in the state to reopen.

A few California parks have found ways to partially reopen since then, under state rules allowing outdoor dining and zoos. But Disneyland got rid of its petting zoo back when it cleared Big Thunder Ranch to make way for Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. And Disney's shown no desire to open its theme parks just to run an outdoor food festival, as Knott's Berry Farm has been doing.

So it appears that Disneyland and Disney California Adventure will not reopen until California approves full theme park operations within the state.

When will that be? State officials have made clear that permission will not come until California's Covid-19 new case numbers come way down from where they are right now.

California leads the nation in diagnosed Covid cases, though on a per capita basis the state ranks 20th in the nation, far behind Florida, which ranks number two behind Louisiana. And Florida's theme parks are open.

But perhaps it is because of California's aggressive stance on Covid that the state does not rank higher on a per capita basis. Once the state's raw case numbers began to surge soon after officials began allowing businesses to reopen, any chance for additional returns seemed to go away. In fact, the state has walked back permission for in-person dining and other businesses to reopen.

Those business would probably get the opportunity to reopen again before Disneyland and other theme parks get the green light to return. So look for that as the first sign that California is back on the path to allowing theme parks to reopen.

California is managing reopening on a county-by-county basis, so you will want to watch what is happening in Orange County — the home of the Disneyland Resort. Once in-person dining returns in Orange County, then Disneyland and Disney California Adventure might be on the clock for a return. (Decisions regarding Los Angeles County will affect Universal Studios Hollywood and Six Flags Magic Mountain.)

Until then, though, don't expect any sudden changes regarding theme parks. For now, Disneyland remains closed indefinitely.

Replies (19)

August 23, 2020 at 6:17 PM

It's the smart way to go. If Disney claims they're hurting for money it's an absolute lie. It's only hurting their investors, they have absolutely plenty of money to wait as long as necessary

August 23, 2020 at 6:35 PM

I can't say anything for sure regarding Disneyland, but I've heard from people somewhat in the know that both Knott's and SFMM are currently anticipating a mid-September to early October reopening. My guess is Disney will try to open Disneyland right at the start of the next quarter as it will look better financially for them.

As for reopenings in California, I would actually expect theme parks to be pretty early on the list if our government has any sense. Statistically, indoor dining and many of the other businesses that were closed are far more likely to spread COVID than a theme park based on evidence we have, and I've personally felt far more at risk at a couple outdoor shopping centers here in So Cal than I did at any of the nine parks I visited on my road trip last month.

August 23, 2020 at 6:44 PM

I would love for the state to make a distinction between indoor and outdoor attractions when issuing reopening guidance for theme parks.

August 23, 2020 at 7:37 PM

As noted, it's simply California handling it so much differently than Florida which seemed to never take it as more than "just a flu" whereas California willing to shut the entire TV and movie industry down over this.

It looks like Six Flags Great America is simply never going to open this year as Illinois is strong on "Phase 5" being only when a vaccine comes around so the possibility of Disneyland closed until late fall or even later is very strong.

August 23, 2020 at 9:44 PM

Unpopular take, but I don't think parks are opening in California until 2021. It's clear that the governor wants to lock down as much as he can, and with a fall wave inevitable, it doesn't look like restrictions will be lifted any time soon.

August 23, 2020 at 11:04 PM

Orange County was removed from California’s watchlist today, so that could be a sign....Still, DLR is in a peculiar spot. When downtown Disney reopened, there were crowds waiting. I suspect maybe late fall? Or winter?

Honestly, I don’t know!

August 24, 2020 at 4:47 AM

I heard that the workers union is protesting on multiple things

August 24, 2020 at 7:47 AM

"As noted, it's simply California handling it so much differently than Florida which seemed to never take it as more than "just a flu" whereas California willing to shut the entire TV and movie industry down over this."

Yet California still has more cases and deaths than Florida.

August 24, 2020 at 10:59 AM

Not until 2021, for sure. Our state government has proven they're going to err on the side of saving human lives, and by all estimates the infection rate is going to spike this fall, as temperatures drop. So, absent some reasonable national strategy that causes the infection rate to drop significantly (a strategy that we all know isn't going to be implemented until after the election), expect California to do the right thing and require the parks to remain shuttered.

Disney parks in other countries opened because their leaders took a reasonable response to the virus and greatly reduced their curve. Florida parks opened because Florida state leaders are irresponsible and park owners want money. California parks will stay closed.

August 24, 2020 at 11:16 AM

I don't understand why Disneyland doesn't at least open Main Street for a food fair and shopping. It would be a great opportunity for food and merchandise sales, without the expense of running the entire park. It seems to be working great at Knott's. IMO people would love the chance just to be back on Main Street, hearing the music and getting a chance to have a Dole Whip or a corn dog, or even better yet, fried chicken at the Plaza Inn, or a Monte Cristo sandwich at a food booth.

August 24, 2020 at 11:51 AM

Disneyland vs Disney World? The reason why one is open is simple. FL needs Disney World to be open. California does not need Disneyland to be open. California is a much more diverse economy that has been able to weather some of the COVID shutdown. FL doesn't have that luxury. Did FL put themselves in this bind? Of course, but thats the reality.

For what its worth, unlike most of FL that doesn't seem to be taking COVID seriously, WDW is not messing around with this virus. They have gone beyond all minnimum precautions.

For those saying Disney can remain closed, they can't. They are just like any other company that needs to pay its bills. Remember, there is WAY more to Disney than just the parks.

August 24, 2020 at 12:10 PM

@Anthony I agree, except I think CA is in a worse spot than you realize. The state senators are trying to come up with "creative" new ways to tax the wealthy with a plan that involves double taxing the wealthy and trying to tax them after they leave the state, all in the name of making up for funds lost by COVID. All I'm saying is CA could definitely use the tourist dollars as well as all the other tax money lost by COVID shutdowns. CA governing bodies are just less likely to cave to the financial pressure. Whether that's a good strategy or not, I'll refrain from giving my opinion on as I've been shouted down too many times here.

August 24, 2020 at 12:58 PM


August 24, 2020 at 1:17 PM

@MrTorrance: Really? Outkick? That place is the sports version of Breitbart where the owners boast of interviews with Trump, in no way are they a legit news source.

August 24, 2020 at 2:21 PM

The better Questions would be: When will Paris close again? Or will Florida come to its senses before or after 30000 confirmed covid death?

August 24, 2020 at 2:23 PM

As a former resident, I must sadly attest that "Florida" and "sense" rarely go well together....

August 24, 2020 at 3:57 PM

@MrTorrance, that article does have accurate numbers, but I'm not sure exactly how it applies to this article about whether Disneyland will open... unless you want us to fish through the the article for CA numbers and ask the question again, "Why is Disneyland still closed while Florida is open?"

August 24, 2020 at 4:31 PM

For those saying California doesn't need Disneyland or that Disney can wait until 2021 to reopen the park, I think you severely underestimate the gravity of the situation. Both the city of Anaheim and the state of California are in danger of going bankrupt in the next two to three months if the situation doesn't improve, and the federal government is showing no indication of assisting if that happens. There is speculation that Newsom was hoping for a bailout with the latest aid package, but as that looks more and more unlikely he's been put in a terrible position between opening up and risking another wave of COVID, which could be very bad, or staying closed and risking widespread bankruptcy on all levels, which could be worse. Keep in mind that if California goes bankrupt, unemployment will likely not get paid, and most of those furloughed will be disqualified from it by the end of the year (or early next year). That could lead to massive job loss, evictions, and fleeing the state, possibly putting California in an unrecoverable position. However, the tourism industry is a sizable chunk of California's economy, and even if that were opened just for residents, it might be enough to keep the state afloat. There is sufficient evidence to show that the vast majority of outdoor attractions can be operated safely with proper protocols, and I'm really seeing very few reasons against opening theme parks sooner rather than later.

Regarding Disney, they are still bleeding money, but they expect the Disneyland Resort to be the quickest to recover once they are able to resume operation. This, combined with a resumption of theatrical releases, is what they're hoping for in the fall. If it doesn't happen, there are serious talks going on about selling portions of the company, including one or more of the theme park resorts (most likely those in China) just to remain solvent. Big companies tend to fall the hardest when disaster strikes, and right now Disney is like an unstable tower. They're still standing and reinforcement is on the way, but it is needed soon.

I will say this...there's a popular rumor of Disneyland opening next month. I view that as unlikely. However, I think an October or November opening is definitely feasible, especially with numbers on a consistent decline throughout California, and I would argue it may even be necessary. If Disneyland is unable to operate for the holiday season, it may be a precursor to changes far beyond what most would have thought possible.

August 24, 2020 at 8:09 PM

And Paris has just been declared a risk zone, requireing a quaranteen of two weaks in Germany upon return. Other major European countries already did something like that earlier. The concept of (federal) states going bankcrupt is rather amusing in general and even more so in particular regaring the one housing the biggest export industry that is even profiting during corona times. The weirdness of political debt ceiling games has nothing to do with an actual bankrupcy.

Some other thing to wunder: Will Europapark stay open? As it stands now, it is unlikely anything bad happend there so far. The problem is just, it looks like the safety was based on hardly any corona infected people running arround there in the first place. So anti infection measures were not really tested. That is changeing now unforunately.

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