After a 412-day shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, California’s Disneyland finally opened on Friday as guests waited for hours outside to enjoy the theme park’s attractions.
“Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park reopened at 8 a.m. local time with the first guests cheering, clapping and waving as they came through the gates,” reports USA Today. “The Anaheim parks are only open to California residents at limited capacity for now.”
Some fans held back tears as they entered the park while others used it as a moment of triumph; Kevin Pryor and his girlfriend Brittany Roth both recreated the iconic photograph of the sailor kissing the nurse at the end of World War II to symbolize victory over COVID-19. Despite the park’s reopening, COVID-19 protocols still loomed large over the park, from mask mandates to limited capacity.
“Cast members monitored lines and enforced distancing rules. Concrete benches in front of King Arthur Carousel have signs to keep people distanced, allowing just one person to sit. Wait times on rides have varied from about 5 to 45 minutes, but the times change quickly as people move around,” continued USA Today. “Characters in Toontown came out randomly, standing at the doorways or front porches of their homes and waved. Guests are not currently able to go into the homes of Mickey, Minnie and other characters but stood on the curb outside the houses, waved and took photos from afar. Mickey came out of his house at 10:30 a.m. and waved to guests who quickly began to gather. A cast member verbally reminded all to ‘stay 6 feet away’ from each other. These are the pandemic-era character meetings under current COVID-19 safety guidelines.”
Regardless of the COVID protocols, guests were still enthusiastic about the reopening.
Disney made headlines recently when a superfan’s op-ed went viral criticizing the parks for adopting “wokeness” over guest experience.
“The problem is is, I’m not traveling across the country and paying thousands of dollars to watch someone I do not know express themselves. I am there for the immersion and the fantasy, not the reality of a stranger’s self-expression,” Jonathan VanBoskerck wrote in the Orlando Sentinel. “I do not begrudge these people their individuality and I wish them well in their personal lives, but I do not get to express my individuality at my place of business.”
VanBoskerck was responding to several of Disney’s decisions over the past decade to update its attractions (such as “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Splash Mountain”) and allow employees more flexibility to express themselves in their work attire.
“Our new approach provides greater flexibly with respect to form of personal expression surrounding gender-inclusive hairstyles, jewelry, nail styles, and costume choices; and allowing appropriate visible tattoos,” Disney Park Chairman Josh D’Amaro said of the new guidelines.
The Daily Wire is one of America’s fastest-growing conservative media companies and counter-cultural outlets for news, opinion, and entertainment. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member.