When will Disneyland reopen? It’s a BIG question we’ve yet to get the answer to.
Recently, we’ve seen some signs that could show Disneyland is getting prepared for its reopening, whenever that comes. But, what will Disneyland look like when it does reopen? How many guests can we expect to see walking through those gates? Some new data analysis is starting to give us a better idea.
Earlier today, we shared some news about Disneyland Resort Hotel availability. If you’re looking to make a new reservation at a Disneyland Resort Hotel, reservations are only available beginning mid-October, and reservations through October 3rd are being canceled.
In terms of the Disneyland Resort theme parks themselves, we still don’t have an official reopening date. The theme parks are still waiting on guidance from the State of California to be able to reopen. One trade association representing Disneyland and other parks has called on California’s Governor Newsom to reopen theme parks
What will park capacity look like when Disneyland does reopen? According to the Orange County Register, a new data analysis suggests that “Disneyland could theoretically let in 25,000 to 30,000 visitors per day and still allow for six feet of social distancing per person” when the park is able to reopen with appropriate health and safety protocols. According to estimates by the Thinkwell Group, this means Disneyland could accommodate 50% of its “theoretical pre-COVID-19 capacity.”
The Thinkwell Group recently published a new white paper that calculates the physical-distancing needs in terms of personal space, retail facilities, food and beverage facilities, and more of a theoretical future theme park. The Orange County Register, citing to Themed Entertainment Association/AECOM, notes that Disneyland drew “an estimated 51,140 visitors per day in 2019.” According to Thinkwell, on a normal weekend day during the summer, a large theme park in the United States, like Disneyland, “attracts approximately 60,000 visitors.”
Pre-COVID-19, Thinkwell estimates that theme park density ranged from 500 to 650 people per acre. But, the OCR notes, in a “COVID-19 era, those numbers will need to be cut in half…to accommodate appropriate social distancing.” Thinkwell has estimated that “Post-COVID-19 protocols mandating six feet of social distancing will require theme parks to allow 140 square feet per person and 200 square feet for groups of three,” according to the Orange County Register.
Using the estimates from Thinkwell, the Orange County Register notes that “Disneyland accommodated approximately 545 people per acre in the pre-COVID-19 era and would need to cut those numbers in half to allow for appropriate social distancing.” The OCR indicates that this results in a range of about 25,000 to 30,000 visitors per day.
According to the OCR, Bob Chapek — CEO of the Disney Company — noted in May that “Disney reopened Shanghai Disneyland ‘far below’ the 30% attendance cap to avoid backups in the park and to allow visitors and employees to adjust to the new COVID-19 health and safety protocols.” It’s very possible that Disneyland in California will similarly open at a lower capacity than what is ultimately recommended or required by the California government. But, as the OCR notes, Disney rarely discusses exact capacity figures for its theme parks, so we may not get to see an exact number.
In Disney World, we’ve seen the Park Pass Reservation System implemented and utilized as a way to limit guest capacity in the theme parks. Recently, we spotted a sign in Disneyland which reads “Reservations Required for Entry to Theme Parks.” We can potentially expect to see a reservation system, similar to that being used in Disney World, utilized in Disneyland when it reopens to ensure guest capacity is appropriately limited — whether that is to 50% of their pre-COVID-19 capacity or to a different number.
We’re on the lookout for more news about a potential reopening date for Disneyland, so be sure to come back for all the latest updates.
Disneyland’s President has released a statement on theme parks reopening in Caliornia — Click here to check out the details.
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Do you have a trip to Disneyland planned for this year? Let us know in the comments!