Disney Aims to Reopen Disneyland and California Adventure Parks at 'Limited Capacity by Late April'

The news comes just days after California health officials announced that theme parks such as Disneyland may be eligible to reopen at a reduced capacity starting on April 1

Disneyland Resort, Anaheim, California
Disneyland. Photo: Marc Rasmus/imageBROKER/Shutterstock

Disney is aiming to reopen Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park some time in April after a year-long closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to company CEO Bob Chapek.

"Here in California, we're encouraged by the positive trends we're seeing and we're hopeful they'll continue to improve and we'll be able to reopen our Parks to guests with limited capacity by late April — we look forward to publicizing an opening date in the coming weeks," Chapek said in a statement released on Tuesday.

The news comes just days after California health officials announced that theme parks such as Disneyland may be eligible to reopen at a reduced capacity starting on April 1.

In order for Disney's parks to reopen, Orange County — where they're located — will have to meet specific COVID-19 metrics related to positive case counts under the state's Blueprint for a Safer Economy guidelines.

Disneyland California
Disneyland. GC Images

Once the county has reached the red tier — meaning it is reporting four to seven daily new COVID cases per 100,000 residents or 5 to 8 percent positivity rate — the parks will be able to open their doors at 15 percent capacity.

As case rates continue to drop, the theme park capacity may rise up to 35 percent. There is no guidance for reopening at a higher capacity at this time. For now, the state officials said that "attendance will be limited to in-state visitors."

"While last week's announcement states that theme parks may open starting on April 1, the fact is it will take some time to get them ready for our guests — this includes recalling more than 10,000 furloughed cast and retraining them to be able to operate according to the State of California's new requirements," Chapek said in his statement on Tuesday.

"I am pleased to say the response has been great thus far, our Cast members are excited to get back to work," he continued. "And this is good news for the Anaheim community, which depends on Disneyland for jobs and business generated by visitors."

Back in October, Disney was forced to lay off 28,000 park employees because of shutdowns.

Disneyland and California Adventure first closed its doors last March due to the pandemic.

While Walt Disney World in Florida has since reopened at limited capacity with mask mandates and distancing restrictions, stricter regulations in California mandated that the parks remain closed.

In November, Disney was able to open a portion of California Adventure for in-person shopping and dining only, but had to close its dining operations just weeks later due to rising COVID-19 cases in the area.

RELATED VIDEO: Walt Disney World Cinderella's Castle 50th Anniversary Makeover

Recently, Disney announced that fans will be able to experience parts of California Adventure with "A Touch of Disney," a ticketed, limited-capacity food festival that will begin on March 18.

Attractions will not be open during the event, though guests will be able to sample snacks at different locations throughout the park.

About 1,000 employees who were laid off or furloughed will be rehired for the upcoming food festival.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

Related Articles