In this edition of Theme Park Bits:
- Disneyland and Walt Disney World reservations are pushed back to July 1.
- Disney Springs reopens on May 20.
- A man was arrested for squatting at Disney World.
- And more!
Whether or not you listened in on Disney’s latest earnings call – normally, who among us would, but you probably have some time on your hands – you may well want to know when exactly the Disney theme parks are reopening, no matter what part of the world you live in. Well, if you’re in mainland China, I have extremely good news for you: Shanghai Disneyland is reopening today, Monday, May 11. (And if you’re in Orlando, I have even more encouraging news: Disney Springs reopens on May 20.)
Now, of course, you should realize that “reopening” doesn’t mean “back to normal”. The Chinese government, as CEO Bob Chapek stated on the call, wants the attendance to be capped at just 30% of the peak capacity per day, but Disney’s going to be even more cautious at first. There are a number of specific restrictions and requirements, among them the mandate that all guests must wear masks or face coverings of some kind, which will be…uh…interesting to see unfold in the States. Notably, the letter sent by Walt Disney World President Josh D’Amaro regarding the Disney Springs reopening emphasizes: Cast Members and guests must wear masks. (You may have seen some stories about how Americans get so angry at having to wear a face mask that they brandish guns as a threat. So that’s a thing we’re doing now: being mad at having to protect ourselves and others.) But again: a Disney theme park is about to reopen, which is better than the current situation.
Back in the States, you might be hoping for Disneyland Resort or the parks and hotels of the Walt Disney World Resort to be open before the July 4th holiday, which seems like an extremely dicey prospect for a number of reasons. Chief among them: on the Disneyland and Walt Disney World websites now, you can’t make a reservation for hotels or dining any earlier than July 1. Now, let’s be clear about something: this doesn’t mean the parks will reopen on July 1. The earnings call on May 5 was decidedly lacking any specific opening dates for the continental parks or shopping centers. The real question, for parks die-hards, may well be this: even now, is Disneyland going to be open on July 17 to celebrate its 65th anniversary? It’s very much up in the air.
It’s a good thing there’s no park-opening anniversary in mid-July in Paris, too. Why’s that? Well, Disneyland Paris has cancelled all reservations through July 14. If you had a trip to the Parisian resort planned over the next two months, you have my sympathies and a refund from the Disneyland Paris Resort. But not much else. A detailed message from the Disneyland Paris honchos also detailed the cancellation of some special events themed to princesses and Marvel characters, and is postponing some other summer events to 2021.
And that’s not all for Disneyland Paris delays. As you may know, the new Disney Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel was slated to open on June 15. It will come as little surprise that the hotel’s opening date has been delayed with no new date announced. Considering that the Disney parks closed just three months before the original opening, the Art of Marvel hotel is likely very close to being done anyway, but with no guests at the park, there’s no good reason to open the doors.
We’re going to end today’s column with a truly aspirational case of criminality. I’m being facetious, please note, but there is a small part of that admires the daring of the guy who got arrested for trespassing on and squatting in Discovery Island at Walt Disney World a couple weeks ago. The Alabama man in question entered the abandoned island a couple days before deputies arrested him for squatting in what he dubbed a “tropical paradise”. (Fair is fair: he’s right about that.) The man has been banned from all Disney properties, so as much as the temptation may persuade you, don’t follow this guy’s example.
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