Almost 25,000 Disney fans have signed a petition asking the company to delay its plan to reopen the Disneyland Resort parks on July 17, even as the number of coronavirus cases only continues to climb in California. The Walt Disney Company announced Wednesday that Disneyland and Disney California Adventure will open on the 65th anniversary of Disneyland's opening Wednesday. The Downtown Disney District, a shopping center similar to Disney World's Disney Springs in Florida, will reopen the week before.
Almost immediately after Disney's announcement, a Change.org user launched a petition to get Disney to delay the reopening. "There are more cases now than when the parks closed on March 13th, 2020. Health officials have stated that the 2nd wave of Covid-19 will be worse," the petition reads. "So reopening before the 2nd wave even hits us is irresponsible and greedy." The petitioner wrote that "now is not the time" to reopen while people continue to get sick and die due to COVID-19. As of Friday evening, more than 24,700 people have signed it.
Disney closed all parks in Florida and California in March and there are now phased reopening plans for both resorts. Disney will first welcome guests to the Downtown Disney District on July 9, with the Disneyland parks opening up on July 17. Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel will reopen on July 23. There will be "enhanced health and safety measures" at both Disneyland parks and capacity will be "significantly limited" to follow government standards and promote social distancing, the company said.
Disney will also deploy a "Guest Experience Team" to help guests with any questions on the new policies. In addition, events like night time spectaculars and the park parades will not come back until a later date, since they draw large crowds. Character meet and greets will also be unavailable for a time, but "characters will be in the parks in new ways to entertain and delight guests," the company said.
In late May, Disney announced its phased opening plan for the Walt Disney World Resort after the Orange County, Florida government, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis approved the plan. The Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom parks will open on July 11, while EPCOT and Disney's Hollywood Studios will open on July 15. The stores at Disney Springs have already reopened.
Disney has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, as they have been unable to release movies while theaters are closed and the parks have been shuttered for almost three months. The company also had to close Disneyland Paris and parks in Asia. The only park opens now in Shanghai Disneyland, which reopened on May 11. According to CNN, Disney's Parks and Experiences unit saw operating profit drop 58 percent in the last quarter compared to the same period last year.