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Disneyland could reopen July 17, with precautions and limited capacity

Disney plans to reopen the Magic Kingdom sooner than anticipated, on the park's 65th anniversary. But first, local officials and the state of California have to give the go-ahead.

Mickey may be wearing gloves, but he won't be shaking your hand just yet.
Disney Parks

Disneyland is scheduled to reopen next month, on its 65th anniversary, Disney said Wednesday. The theme park closed on March 15 because of the spread of the coronavirus. The phased reopening would begin with the Downtown Disney shopping and dining district on July 9, followed by both theme parks -- Disneyland and California Adventure -- on July 17 and then the Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and Paradise Pier Hotel on July 23, Disney said.

The plan still has to be approved by local officials and the state of California.

Disneyland's capacity would be limited, using a new advanced reservation system. New ticket sales have been halted for now, and the parks would focus on letting in guests with existing reservations, as well as guests with annual passes.

Disney would also put COVID-19 health and safety measures in place, such as cleaning surfaces more often and requiring social distancing.

Parades and nighttime spectaculars, like fireworks, would also be canceled for the time being, and characters wouldn't be available for meet-and-greets, though Mickey Mouse and his costumed colleagues would still be present in the parks. The launch of Disneyland's newest area, the Marvel-themed land Avengers Campus, is still postponed indefinitely from its original July launch date.

"Disneyland holds a special place in the hearts of people around the world. It was created as a place where family members of all ages could have fun together ... sixty-five years later it still is," Disney Parks said in a blog post. "It's time for magic." 

The announcement of Disneyland's planned reopening comes as a surprise, given that California's state plan says the "highest risk" venues, like concert halls, convention centers and sports arenas and stadiums, can't reopen until "therapeutics have been developed."

Despite California's reopening roadmap, Disneyland would be unlocking its doors just days behind Florida's Walt Disney World. In that state, Disney's Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom are set to reopen July 11, followed by Epcot and Hollywood Studios on July 15, under Disney's plan.

Shanghai Disneyland reopened May 11, with limits on attendance, a reservation system to gain entry to the park, an entry control system, social distancing requirements, tape markings keeping guests distanced while in lines for rides, masks, temperature screenings, contact tracing and government-required health procedures.

Disneyland Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland and Tokyo Disney all remain closed indefinitely.

COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, has rapidly spread across the globe. There are now over 7.3 million confirmed cases globally, with almost 2 million cases and over 112,000 deaths in the US, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. A vaccine may not arrive until 2021.

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