Disneyland Announces Planned Reopening Date After Months-Long Closure Due to Coronavirus Concerns
Disneyland is ready to bring back the magic!
After a months-long closure due to coronavirus concerns, Disney announced on Wednesday that it plans to reopen its California-based theme parks — Disneyland Resort and Disney California Adventure Park — on July 17, pending approval from state and local government.
The parks' surrounding Downtown Disney District will begin reopening on July 9, according to a press release from the company. Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel is slated to reopen on July 23.
As theme park capacity will be limited to comply with social distancing guidelines, Disney plans on introducing a reservation system that will require all guests, including annual passholders, to reserve their park entry in advance. At this time, the company has placed a temporary pause on new ticket sales and the purchase and renewal of annual passes.
"We are purposefully taking baby steps during this very intentional phased approach," Josh D'Amaro, the Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, wrote in a blog post on Wednesday.
"As one of the first major theme parks to close our operations and the last to reopen, we have been deliberate about keeping the health and safety of our cast, guests and local communities top of mind. And as we look forward to bringing our cast members back to work, and welcoming you back as cherished guests – we know it will take all of us working together responsibly to recapture the magic."
According to Disney, certain experiences that tend to draw large crowds — such as parades, firework displays and character meet-and-greets — have been put on hiatus for now.
"While certain aspects of your visit may change, I assure you the quality of our storytelling, magic of our experiences and the caliber of our cast members has not," D'Amaro wrote. "I know this has been a difficult year due to the impacts of COVID-19, but I can’t help but feel a great sense of hope and optimism. And like many of you, I look forward to hearing the laughter and seeing the joy of families making memories together… and I can’t wait to see you when the magic returns to all of our parks and resorts."
Currently, Disney plans to reopen Walt Disney World in Orlando beginning July 11. According to a proposal presented to the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force in May, Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom parks will open on July 11. Epcot and Hollywood Studios will open July 15.
On March 12, PEOPLE first reported that Disneyland and Disney World would both close over that weekend, following the closure of other major tourist attractions and events around the world.
The governors of both California and Florida had already declared a state of emergency in order to redirect funds to fight the spread of the coronavirus in their states. President Donald Trump declared a national state of emergency the following day.
Disney initially planned for a two-week closure of their parks, reopening at the end of March. But on March 27, the company announced that both parks would be closed indefinitely.
The closure is only the third time in history that Disneyland has shut completely for reasons other than weather. Previously, Disneyland shut down following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and the national day of mourning after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963.
Walt Disney World has only ever closed due to the threat of hurricanes — most recently, Hurricane Dorian in September 2019 — and the day after the 2001 attacks.
Prior to the U.S. parks closing, Shanghai Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland were shut down as the virus spread in Asia. The Shanghai park has since begun a phased reopening.
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.