Disneyland swung open its gates to cheering visitors donning sequined Minnie Mouse ears and snapping selfies, marking a dramatic turnaround in a state so overwhelmed with coronavirus cases just four months ago.
California’s world-famous theme park, which reopened after an unprecedented 13-month closure, is admitting only state residents and operating under a limited capacity for now.
Once inside, guests decked in Disney gear waved excitedly at employees tidying up the park’s hallmark Main Street, which was lined with hand sanitizing stations and signs reminding people to wear face coverings.
“It has such a symbolic nature to really quantifying that we’re finally rolling out of Covid,” said Caroline Beteta, president and CEO of state tourism promoter Visit California.
Theme parks were among the last California businesses allowed to reopen, in contrast to states with fewer restrictions such as Florida, where Disney World’s Magic Kingdom resort has been up and running, though at lower-than-usual capacity, since July. Another major US amusement park, Ohio’s Cedar Point, opened last summer and will do so again for the upcoming season — only this time, it won’t require masks on rides.
At Disneyland, visitors must wear masks and can remove them to eat only in designated areas. Hugs and handshakes with characters are off limits, and parades and fireworks shows have been shelved to limit crowding.