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California Re- Re-Opening Guidelines Expected Today???

In what has been a terrible public battle between California and Disney, Governor Gavin Newsom revealed yesterday that the state's Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly will be providing us with an update tomorrow on re-opening guidelines for theme parks.


Now before we put out the bunting and queue the characters to come out to greet guests, let's not get excited just yet. Here's what he said:


Tomorrow, Dr. Ghaly will update you on some of those industries and guidelines, including sports and some of these theme parks. We’re going to break up the theme parks—it’s not just one or two brands, it’s many different parts that are part of the theme park industry. But Dr. Ghaly will be updating you tomorrow on those guidelines.


Those words don't imply that a Disneyland opening is imminent.


What we need to read from this statement is:

  1. Theme parks are not all treated equal. "break up the theme parks" means that some may follow one set of guidelines and others may have a completely different set of guidelines to follow.

  2. Even within the theme park industry there are, "...many different parts..." This implies that there may be different guidelines for different aspects of a theme park's business within the same park. For instance, resort hotels may open at Disneyland, shops and restaurants may open under the same rules as those outside of a theme park, shows may not operate, fireworks and parades may be off, and some (not all) attractions may open. As an example, Storybook Canal boats may be able to open at 25% capacity do allow for social distancing, Matterhorn Bobsleds may open with a social distanced line, but Smuggler's Run may not be able to open since guests cannot easily socially distance themselves.


What does all of this mean? Well, guidelines may be coming today but depending on what those guidelines are, a combination of capacity rules and what can open and the rules around attraction openings may make it impossible to actually open Disneyland and California Adventure. That leaves us where we are before the announcement of guidelines, only a little more understanding of what needs to happen before the gates open.


Personally, I'm going to stay optimistic. I think it's safe to say neither California nor Disney want mass-layoffs of Cast Members and huge financial impacts to the local economy. I also think it's safe to say that the Governor doesn't hate Mickey and all things Disney.


We all need to remember that Disney and Guests just want the parks to open. California doesn't want a major outbreak because they rushed to open theme parks too soon. Both parties want the same outcome, it's just the path they take to get to their final destination that remains the sticking point.




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