• The Star Staff

Disneyland will reopen in late April

By Brooks Barnes

Disneyland, which has been closed for a year, will reopen in late April.

Bob Chapek, the chief executive of the Walt Disney Co., announced the time frame Tuesday at the company’s annual shareholder meeting but did not give a specific date.

California officials announced Friday that theme parks in the state could reopen on a limited basis as soon as April 1. Eligibility, however, will depend on coronavirus transmission statistics in individual counties.

For instance, theme parks in counties where the virus threat remains the most severe (in the purple tier under the state’s system) must remain closed. But parks in areas where the threat of infection has eased somewhat (red tier) will be allowed to reopen at 15% capacity. Even less threat (orange tier) will allow for 25% capacity, ultimately rising to 35% for the lowest threat (yellow).

California will restrict attendance to in-state visitors. Regulators will also restrict indoor dining. Some indoor rides may be required to remain closed.

Disneyland is in Orange County, which is in the purple tier. But if coronavirus cases continue to decline in Southern California at the current pace, the county could fall within the orange tier by late April. The Walt Disney Co. said last year that reopening a park at less than 25% capacity would not make economic sense.

Before the pandemic, roughly 32,000 people worked at the 486-acre Disneyland Resort, which includes two separately ticketed theme parks, three Disney-owned hotels and an outdoor shopping mall. Some furloughed employees have already returned; the Downtown Disney retail district, for instance, reopened over the summer. Chapek said that roughly 10,000 additional furloughed employees would be called back for the April limited reopening of rides and hotels.

By the time Disneyland reopens, it will be the last of the company’s six theme park resorts to come back online. (The others are in Orlando, Florida; Paris; Hong Kong; Tokyo; and Shanghai.) Chapek said the still-closed Disney Cruise Line may have “limited” sailings by the fall.

In other shareholder meeting news, Disney disclosed that its streaming service, Disney+, now has more than 100 million paying subscribers worldwide. And Robert A. Iger, who passed the chief executive baton to Chapek last year and transitioned to an executive chairman role, reiterated his intention to leave the company at the end of December.

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