Mirca Gomez | Writer
May 6, 2021
Covid-19 shut down the Happiest Place on Earth for 412 days—by far the longest period the magical theme park has been closed since its original debut in 1955. Just recently, on April 30, the parks were able to open again, to the relief of dedicated park employees and Disney-lovers around the world. After more than a year without the joy of Disney rides, Dole Whip, and wonderfully themed restaurants, Disneyland and California Adventure Park are finally back.
Before the Covid shutdown, Disneyland had only closed its gates three other times: for mourning the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the Northridge earthquake, and the 9/11 terrorist attack. All of these were only a day long, so closing for more than a year was huge.
Even though Disneyland has opened up again, things are not totally back to normal. A major limitation of Disneyland is that it now has a 25% capacity limit. This restriction has been implemented to keep everyone safe and so that the park is not overcrowded with people, which would prevent social distancing. Also, now the only people allowed to go to Disneyland are California residents. This modification was probably made to keep the number of people in the parks low since a great portion of the visitors were tourists.
Surprisingly, a lot of people have been happy about these changes. “What excites me the most about Disneyland reopening is that only California residents can visit as well as the limited capacity because that means the ride lines are gonna be super short,” junior Kevin Perow said. “I am so excited about this because in the past when I’ve been to Disneyland the lines are usually so long and I only get to ride maybe 5-6 rides at most.”
The staff at Disneyland is taking all the procedures necessary to keep the parks as clean as possible and safe. They have added numerous amounts of hand sanitizer all around the park making it easier for people to sanitize their hands. The cast members have also been trying to consistently wipe down any areas that might have been touched. Plexiglass was also added to the kiosks that are all around the park to reduce the amount of contact between people. They also removed indoor dining and have added more tables outside all around the park and require people to sit down whenever they are eating.
Strangely, although there have been some changes to the park and more limitations, the tickets have remained the same prize. For many, this is perplexing, and there is a common belief that ticket prices should be reduced because people are not getting the full experience. They have removed the parades, fireworks, and hugs with walk around characters, which are all major components of the Disneyland magic.
The reopening of Disneyland has brought joy to thousands of Californians. Even with the changes, the ability to go and visit the park with friends and family is a wonderful thing. In a way, the reopening of Disneyland seems to be the ultimate signal of a gradual return back to the lifestyles we knew and loved.
Disneyland has always been more than a theme park; it’s an escape from reality into the happy world of imagination.
“I think Disneyland holds an importance in that with all of the depressing and sad issues occurring all around us. It provides a light of innocence which allows a short break from the real world to be happy,” senior Emma Harline said.