The Disneyland Resort and other major California theme parks will be able to re-open after April 1 under a Newsom Administration “refresh” of its COVID re-opening blueprint.

Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure have been shuttered for nearly a year, and their closure has resulted in tens of thousands of layoffs and blown a huge hole in City of Anaheim finances, as the ripple effects of the closure crippled the hundreds of hotels and small business whose livelihood depends on tourism and convention business (the Anaheim Convention Center has also been closed for nearly a year).

“We are encouraged that theme parks now have a path toward reopening this spring, getting thousands of people back to work and greatly helping neighboring businesses and our entire community. With responsible Disney safety protocols already implemented around the world, we can’t wait to welcome our Guests back and look forward to sharing an opening date soon,” said Disneyland Resort President Ken Potrock.

Under the Governor’s “refresh,” theme parks can re-open on a limited capacity basis once the county they are located in achieves Red Tier 2 status.  Orange County is currently in Purple Tier 1, the most restrictive tier. However, COVID cases are declining rapidly and OC just narrowly missed making Red Tier 2 this week, and is virtually assured of moving into that tier by Tuesday, March 9.

Theme parks will be able to operate at 15% capacity on indoor attractions, with park admission limited to California residents. Under the Newsom Administration’s previous re-opening guidelines, which were not issued until December 2020, major theme parks would not be able to open until their counties reached Yellow Tier 4 – the least restrictive tier – and then only at 25% capacity.  The previous guidelines also distinguished between small and large theme parks – and set a lower re-opening threshold for small theme parks. The “refresh” eliminates that distinction between small and large theme park.

The re-opening “refresh” means the Disneyland Resort and other major theme parks will be able to re-open several months earlier than anticipated. That, in turn, promises to revive the economies and municipal finances of their areas in which they’re located.

“This is great news for the Anaheim employers and workers who have been devastated by the pandemic shutdown,” said Todd Ament, president of the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce.

“With the COVID caseload declining and vaccinations accelerating, this is another great and hopeful sign that this awful pandemic will be behind us so we can revive and restore our economy,” said Ament.

“We appreciate the administration’s willingness to work with the state’s theme parks on the finer details of the plan so parks can responsibly reopen soon, putting people safely back to work and reinvigorating local economies,” California Attractions and Parks Association executive director Erin Guerrero said in a statement.