Disneyland closing through end of March amid coronavirus fears


Disneyland California

Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland in California.

Corinne Reichert/CNET

For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.

Disney is temporarily closing Disneyland in California during ongoing concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus. It’ll be shutting the doors of the Disneyland and California Adventure theme parks from Saturday, March 14, through the end of the month. The Downtown Disney shopping and dining area will remain open. Disney’s three hotels at Disneyland — the Disneyland Hotel, Paradise Pier and the Grand Californian — will remain open until March 16 to allow for guests to make travel plans.

The decision to close down followed California Gov. Gavin Newsom saying that all gatherings of more than 250 people across California should be canceled for the month of March. Earlier Thursday, Newsom said at a press conference that the ban on gatherings wouldn’t apply to the Disney parks or to casinos, card rooms or theaters “because of the complexity of their unique circumstances.” Newsom said he’d spoken with former Disney CEO Bob Iger on March 11, and had decided the Disney theme parks in Anaheim could remain open.

In a statement later Thursday, Disney Parks said it would continue paying employees during the closure and that it would work with guests who want to change or cancel visits, and refund those with hotel reservations during the closure. It also said there haven’t been any reported cases of COVID-19 at Disneyland. 

As of March 12, US cases of coronavirus were sitting at around 1,300. Of those, more than 170 were in California.

Walt Disney World in Florida remains open, as does Disneyland Paris despite a Paris theme park worker reportedly testing positive for the coronavirus on March 11, and despite French cases sitting at around 2,200.

Last month, Disney said the temporary closure of its Shanghai and Hong Kong theme parks could impact its second quarter earnings by $175 million, with $135 million of that associated with Shanghai Disneyland, and $40 million pegged to Hong Kong Disneyland.

Both Shanghai Disney and Hong Kong Disney closed in late January, though Shanghai began opening restaurants and stores on March 9 in Disneytown, Wishing Star Park and at the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel. All guests at those destinations must undergo temperature screening, present a Health QR Code at dining venues, constantly wear a mask and “maintain respectful social distances at all times while in stores, queues and restaurants,” according to Shanghai Disney’s website.

Hong Kong Disney remains closed entirely.

The Tokyo Disney Resort was shuttered in late February, with the company announcing on March 11 that it’ll extend the closure of Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea through early April. The grand opening of the new Tokyo Disneyland area, which was scheduled for April 15, has been postponed to mid-May or later.

The coronavirus causes an illness called COVID-19, which exhibits pneumonia-like symptoms. The virus was first reported to the World Health Organization on Dec. 31 after originating in Wuhan, China. COVID-19 has spread globally, to Africa, the Americas, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, the UK and other parts of Asia. Chinese scientists have linked the disease to a family of viruses known as coronaviruses, which include SARS and MERS. 

Coronavirus deaths now top 4,700, with over 127,000 cases confirmed worldwide. The World Health Organization declared the virus a global pandemic on March 11.

Disney Parks and the Walt Disney Company didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.


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