Remember me? The last time you heard from your weary correspondent was back in early June, to share news that cast members had begun murmuring that Disneyland was about a week away from announcing plans to finally reopen on July 17. Six days later, Disneyland announced just such plans—only to scrap them two weeks later, when California Governor Gavin Newsom reinstituted heightened lockdown rules.
Now those same sources are reporting that Disneyland is targeting the first week of November—likely November 6—for its reopening. That date is, of course, subject to the Governor’s approval. Consequently, Disney has moved its normally backstage lobbying efforts to the public airwaves, hoping a citizen groundswell will help convince Newsom that the time is right to safely reopen, under procedures similar to those that have worked well for Walt Disney World in Orlando.
Masks and social distancing will be a must. Plastic sheets have been installed around cash registers. Reduced capacity restrictions will be enforced at the Main Gate, as well as at facilities inside. More than 30 portable hand-washing stations have been positioned throughout the parks.
There will also be fewer opportunities for patrons to cluster and to get up close and personal with each other or cast members, such as for character meet-and-greets, parades or other entertainment offerings. Star Wars Launch Bay, for one, will be closed to guests for an extended period. The space has been temporarily converted to a cast member breakroom, with tables, chairs and a hand-sanitizer station.
Other facilities, such as the Jolly Holiday Bakery, will not initially reopen because, with fewer guests in the park, Disney doesn’t expect the demand to support them.
“The parks are pretty much ready (to reopen),” says one Anaheim insider. “All that is needed is to call back the cast members—though, unfortunately, some have quit or retired.”
In the meantime, Disneyland is preparing to reopen its offsite Company D cast member retail store on October 1. Cast members must make advance reservations to visit, and can reserve one spot in the first 15 days of operation. Reportedly, they will not be allowed to bring guests with them, and the store will be fully stocked. Operations will be evaluated after the trial period.
One cast member said part of the reason for the reopening is that warehouses are bursting with unsold—and never-had-the-chance-to-be-sold—souvenirs. “We have an overabundance of merchandise because the park was not open to celebrate Grad Nite, summer and Easter,” he said. “Merchandise that was made, but was not able to be put up for sale because of the park closures, will be sold there.”
He said the park was also contemplating opening a temporary Company D at Stage 17 in Disney California Adventure. “Visitors would go through the large wooden gates with the sign ‘12’ on it and be directed backstage, to the store. If instituted, temporary walls and extra security will be present.”
The First Families of Disneyland
Months ago, as part of the National Endowment for the Arts’ Big Read program, I was supposed to conduct a presentation on the “First Families of Disneyland” at the Anaheim Public Library. Held in conjunction with my book The 55ers: The Pioneers Who Settled Disneyland, the presentation was to cover the fascinating families who sold their Anaheim ranches and orchards to Disney in 1953 and 1954—and what became of their homesteads.
Needless to say, all county libraries have eliminated all in-person presentations. Instead, I was asked to record the photo-filled talk (You can find it HERE) and the Anaheim Public Library will host it on their social media pages, starting on October 6. Check it out! The price is right . . . free.
Save On Future Theme Park Travel
Our travel partners at Get Away Today are here to help you with your theme park booking and rescheduling plans. Whether you are ready to travel again or not, there is no better time to LOCK IN LOW RATES on future theme park travel. With California about to give guidance on Disneyland’s reopening, now is a good time for you to speak with Get Away Today before you get shut out. Give your family something to look forward to and put a vacation on layaway (and snap up those deals while you can) with your MiceChat partners at Get Away Today- HERE
Let’s Hear From You!
Have you forgotten what a Dole Whip tastes like? Are you ready to Yo Ho, come out to socialize, and find your laughing place? What do you miss most about Disneyland, and what do you hope they can get done in time for reopening?
Don’t Miss Today’s Disneyland Update
There’s more Disneyland news, photos, and construction updates for you today. Keep reading the Disneyland Monday Update . . .