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Disneyland, Disney World will close amid coronavirus outbreak

New updates escalate Disney Parks’ ‘preventive measures’

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A high-res shot of Cinderella’s castle at Disneyland in Anaheim, California Photo: James Bareham/Polygon
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Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure will close on Saturday, March 14 and not open again until the end of the month due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19. The announcement was made on Thursday through the official Disney Parks public affairs Twitter account. Late on Thursday night, Disney also alerted potential parkgoers that Disney World, Disneyland, and the Disney Cruise line would shut down on Sunday, March 15.

“While there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 at Disneyland Resort,” Disney said in the statement, “after carefully reviewing the guidelines of the Governor of California’s executive order and in the best interest of our guests and employees, we are proceeding with the closure of Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure.”

Also on Thursday, California governor Gavin Newsom called for the cancellation or postponement of gatherings of 250 people or more. During a press conference Newsom said Disneyland and other large theme parks, theaters, and casinos are exempt from the request “because of the complexity of their unique circumstances.” Regardless, Disney Parks has made the decision to temporarily close down its California facilities.

Disneyland Resort hotels will remain open, but only until Monday, March 16.

“We will monitor the ongoing situation and follow the advice and guidance of federal and state officials and health agencies,” Disney continued. It also added that it will pay employees during this period of time.

Reached for comment on its coronavirus response at its parks earlier Thursday, a Disney representative directed Polygon to a blog post from Disney Parks chief medical officer, Dr. Pamela Hymel. The post, Disney Parks and Resorts Questions about Coronavirus/COVID-19, details the park’s “preventive measures.”

Disneyland does not share numbers on its maximum capacity. According to the Los Angeles Times, quoting inside sources, it stands at roughly 80,000. Disney World, which comprises multiple parks and other attractions, has a far larger capacity.

Today, Disney World in Florida made a new concession to those eager to reschedule their visits. A $50 change fee that would normally be imposed is now waived. “Guests may move their reservation to a future date in 2020,” Disney said in a statement.

Reporting by our sibling website, The Verge, indicates that Disney Parks employees are still working as of Thursday. An anonymous source said they had heard little from management with regard to the response surrounding COVID-19.

Update (4:51 p.m. ET): Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure are closed beginning the morning of March 14 and through the end of the month. The announcement was made by the official Disney Parks News Twitter account. We have updated our original article to reflect that announcement.

Update (6:28 p.m. ET): Reached for comment about the continued operation of the Disney World parks, mayor Jerry Demings of Orange County, Florida provided Polygon the following statement: “We will continue to monitor COVID-19 developments over the next 24 hours before making any decisions about canceling large events. Orange County still has no reported cases of Coronavirus.”

Update (8:40 p.m. ET): Disney Parks has announced that both Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland Paris Resort will shut down at the close of business on Sunday, March 15, through the end of the month. Disney Cruise Line will suspend all new departures beginning Saturday, March 14, through the end of the month. Hotels at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris will remain open until further notice. The retail and dining complexes, Disney Springs at Walt Disney World and Disney Village at Disneyland Paris, will remain open.

Update (March 16): On Sunday, Disney Parks announced that all Disney Stores in North America will close beginning March 17. Sales will continue online. This includes retail locations at Downtown Disney in Anaheim, California and Disney Springs in Orlando, Florida. While other businesses not owned by Disney will remain open, “individual tenants will make decisions on whether to continue or adjust operations,” the company added.

In addition, Disney-owned and operated hotels at Walt Disney World Resort and Disney’s Vero Beach Resort will be closed starting at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 20. Additional information will be shared via Twitter, at the official Disney Parks account.

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