How Covid-19 has changed Disney's theme parks

Newstalk ZB / CNN,
Publish Date
Sun, 30 May 2021, 12:03PM
(Photo / CNN)
(Photo / CNN)

How Covid-19 has changed Disney's theme parks

Newstalk ZB / CNN,
Publish Date
Sun, 30 May 2021, 12:03PM

If you're planning to travel to one of the Disney Parks & Resorts around the world, here's what you'll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The basics

After being closed for over a year, Disneyland Resort in California reopened on April 30 with limited capacity at Disneyland park and Disney California Adventure park. Only California residents may visit the parks until June 15.

Those wanting to visit need to purchase tickets in advance via a new reservation system.

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa reopened on April 29. Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel is set to reopen June 15, while the Disneyland Hotel will reopen on July 2 with reduced capacity.

"Avengers Campus," a new land based on the Marvel franchise, opens at Disney's California Adventure on June 4.

In Florida, most of Disney World's parks are open. The Blizzard Beach water park reopened on March 7. No reopening date has been set for Typhoon Lagoon, however.

Disney World also requires visitors to make reservations in advance.

Hong Kong Disneyland reopened in February -- the third reopening for the park since the start of the pandemic. Shanghai Disneyland Park is operating normally with enhanced health and safety measures in place, however guests need to reserve their tickets online before visiting.

Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea are open. A visitor cap is in place, with each park allowing 5,000 visitors per day, excluding those who have already bought advance tickets.

Disneyland Paris announced it will reopen on June 17. This includes the Disneyland Park, Walt Disney Studios Park, Disney's Newport Bay Club and Disney Village.

What's on offer

The original and, some might say, best, theme parks, Disney's resorts remain a magical experience for all the family. From vertiginous rides to firework displays, and of course the chance to meet classic characters, a trip to a Disney Park makes memories that last a lifetime.

Who can go

Entry to each Disney Park is dependent on local travel restrictions. Disneyland Resort is only open to California residents until further notice.

The Paris location -- when it reopens -- will be subject to France's entry rules, which prevent most non-EU nationals from coming into the country, however the EU has agreed to allow vaccinated travelers from countries with low infection rates, raising the possibility of summer getaways to the continent.

Only locals and returning citizens can access the Tokyo and Hong Kong Disney parks, while the Shanghai resort can only be accessed by locals or those who meet China's strict entry requirements, including two negative test results taken within 48 hours of departures.

What are the restrictions?

Disney parks in the US are are slowly easing their Covid-19 protocols.

All Disney Parks require guests to wear masks, and some parks' mask requirements are more stringent than others. For instance, Disneyland in California requires face coverings for everyone 2 or older, including people who have been vaccinated.

In mid-May, Disney World announced that masks and face coverings for guests will be "optional in outdoor common areas".

Every park has reduced capacity. Guests visiting most parks must take a temperature check on entry and observe social distancing at all times.

What can visitors expect?

Similar to other Disney parks around the world, Disneyland in California and Disney World in Florida have reopened with some restrictions.

Parades and fireworks have been put on hold indefinitely in a bid to keep guests safely apart. FASTPASS and Disney MaxPass services are suspended and not available for purchase or use.

Interactive games, such as the hands-on scavenger hunt game Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, have been closed.

Capacity has also been cut, with numbers further limited in restaurants and in queues to prevent overcrowding.

Despite this, guests can still dine in at their favorite restaurants and enjoy the rides, though character meet-and-greets have been replaced by socially distanced character processions.

Several Disney World restaurants are allowing character dining.