Yesterday, April 27th, was the first soft-opening for the Disneyland Resort after having been closed for over a year. The day was dedicated to Cast Members who have been through a lot over the past 13 months. Some were furloughed, some were laid off and some have been working tirelessly to keep the magic alive while we’ve been gone.
The night before, Parks and Resorts President Josh D’Amaro and Disneyland President Ken Potrock dedicated the reopening to all Cast Members. They even went as far as to compare opening day in 1955 to the reopening on April 27th. It was more than amazing. It was magical. It’s just what Cast Members and guests needed to hear!
On the morning of the 27th, Cast Members started gathering as early as 6 am at the gates, waiting for their chance to be immersed in the magic again. Most were dressed in their best Disney Park outfits including ears, hats, spirit jerseys and jackets. Groups were chatting about how excited they were to come back and the first thing they were going to do once inside the parks.
Around 8:30 am the resort gates were opened and guests were funneled in through temperature screening and security. Lines started forming at all turnstyles for Disneyland Park and California Adventure Park. Of course Disney was prepared with film cameras and photographers to record the historic occasion.
Then at 9 am, the park gates opened and the first guests were let into the parks. There was yelling and cheering, jumping and hugging. It was a very magical experience indeed. Cast Members could be found all throughout the parks waving and cheering on their first guests in over a year.
There were characters out waving and posing for pictures from a distance. The smell of fresh churros and popcorn was in the air. The Main Street vehicles were running up and down. The sun was shining and everyone was having a fantastic time!
One of the biggest welcome back surprises was a refurbished Snow White attraction. Now called Snow White’s Enchanted Wish, the attraction finally gets to tell its whole story without leaving guests confused or wanting more. It features new audio-animatronics, screens, lighting and so much more, with a very happy ending.
As we walked the parks we noticed that not just one attraction had received a refurbishment while we were away. Many in fact have received updates to them, even if it was just a simple thing like new railing in the queue, fresh paint or refurbished props. It was obvious that Disney has been busy while they were closed.
The biggest changes of course were not in the attractions or shows themselves but in the new health guidelines including social distancing and wearing masks. Be sure to read our COVID-19 Planning Guide for all these new updates in the parks and learn what attractions have changed because of them and which ones have stayed the same.
There are signs everywhere throughout the parks reminding guests to maintain 6 feet of distance between groups and to always have their masks on unless eating or drinking while stationary. For most guests, these new rules are not hard to follow considering they’ve been in place elsewhere for many many months now.
Overall the day was incredible. Guests were able to ride attractions and dine and shop just like the “old days”. To say Disney is excited to welcome back all guests would be an understatement. Reopening Disneyland safely is their highest priority right now and they are excited to once again reopen their gates for your enjoyment!
So to all the Cast Members out there, we say THANK YOU! You always have and always will be the magic behind the parks. We hope that as guests have the opportunity to return to Disneyland, they’ll take a moment or two to say thanks to the Cast Members who work tirelessly to keep the magic alive.