Disneyland, Disney World, Disneyland Paris to temporarily close amid coronavirus fears

Disney is closing the rest of its theme parks, in addition to the already shuttered parks across Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai remaining shut.

Corinne Reichert Senior Editor
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently writes news, analysis and features for CNET across the topics of electric vehicles, broadband networks, mobile devices, big tech, artificial intelligence, home technology and entertainment. In her spare time, she watches soccer games and F1 races, and goes to Disneyland as often as possible.
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Corinne Reichert
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Disneyland California

Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland in California.

Corinne Reichert/CNET

Disney is temporarily closing Disneyland in California amid ongoing concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus. It'll be shutting the doors of the Disneyland and California Adventure theme parks from Saturday through the end of the month. The Downtown Disney shopping and dining area will remain open. Disney's three hotels at Disneyland -- the Disneyland Hotel, Paradise Pier and the Grand Californian -- will remain open until March 16 to allow for guests to make travel plans.

The decision to close down followed California Gov. Gavin Newsom saying that all gatherings of more than 250 people across California should be canceled for the month of March. Earlier Thursday, Newsom said at a press conference that the ban on gatherings wouldn't apply to the Disney parks or to casinos, card rooms or theaters "because of the complexity of their unique circumstances." Newsom said he'd spoken with former Disney CEO Bob Iger on March 11 and had decided the Disney theme parks in Anaheim could remain open.

In a statement later Thursday, Disney Parks said there haven't been any reported cases of COVID-19 at Disneyland Resort, but that "in the interest of our guests and employees," it had decided to close the parks after carefully reviewing Newsom's executive order about large gatherings. The company said it would continue paying cast members during the closure and that it would work with guests who want to change or cancel visits and refund those with hotel reservations during the closure.

As of March 12, US cases of coronavirus were sitting at around 1,300. Of those, more than 170 were in California.

Late Thursday, Disney announced that Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris would close on Sunday through the end of the month. This includes the Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios parks in France, and the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach parks in Orlando, Florida. It follows a Paris theme park worker reportedly testing positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday, with French cases currently sitting at over 2,200.

The Disney Village and Disney Springs shopping and dining areas and the multiple hotels on each property will remain open. Disney Cruise Line will also suspend new departures as of Saturday for the remainder of the month.

Last month, Disney said the temporary closure of its Shanghai and Hong Kong theme parks could impact its second quarter earnings by $175 million, with $135 million of that associated with Shanghai Disneyland, and $40 million pegged to Hong Kong Disneyland.

Both Shanghai Disney and Hong Kong Disney closed in late January, though Shanghai began opening restaurants and stores on March 9 in Disneytown, Wishing Star Park and at the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel. All guests at those destinations must undergo temperature screening, present a Health QR Code at dining venues, constantly wear a mask and "maintain respectful social distances at all times while in stores, queues and restaurants," according to Shanghai Disney's website.

Hong Kong Disney remains closed entirely.

The Tokyo Disney Resort was shuttered in late February, with the company announcing on Wednesday it'll extend the closure of Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea through early April. The grand opening of the new Tokyo Disneyland area, which was scheduled for April 15, has been postponed to mid-May or later.

The coronavirus causes an illness called COVID-19, which exhibits pneumonia-like symptoms. The virus was first reported to the World Health Organization on Dec. 31 after originating in Wuhan, China. COVID-19 has spread globally, to Africa, the Americas, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, the UK and other parts of Asia. Chinese scientists have linked the disease to a family of viruses known as coronaviruses, which include SARS and MERS. 

Coronavirus deaths now top 4,700, with over 127,000 cases confirmed worldwide. The World Health Organization declared the virus a global pandemic on March 11.

In its statement about the Disneyland closure, the company said guests impacted by the measure can contact the Walt Disney Travel Company with questions at (714) 520-5050. It also asked for patience since call volume was likely to be heavy -- indeed, a reporter dialed the number several times Thursday afternoon and was able to get through only once, receiving error messages on the other occasions.

Disney Parks announced Friday that during the temporary closure of Disneyland, the resort will be donating excess food to Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County.

CNET's Edward Moyer contributed to this report.

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