Disney is keeping its parks in the United States closed indefinitely. Both Disneyland in California and Disney World in Florida are affected by the announcement, with the Walt Disney Company saying in a statement published by Variety, “While there is still much uncertainty with respect to the impacts of COVID-19, the safety and well-being of our guests and employees remains The Walt Disney Company’s top priority.” The company added, “As a result of this unprecedented pandemic and in line with direction provided by health experts and government officials, Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort will remain closed until further notice. The Walt Disney Company has been paying its cast members since the closure of the parks, and in light of this ongoing and increasingly complex crisis, we have made the decision to extend paying hourly parks and resorts cast members through April 18.”
For a few hours on March 12, it looked like the Disneyland amusement park in Southern California would remain open, despite mass suspensions of sports leagues, concerts, festivals, and the like due to fears about enabling the spread of the coronavirus. But that holdout didn’t last long, and as the cascade of business and event closures poured in, Disney got in line with safety measures concerning mass gatherings. On March 12, Disney issued the following statement about its U.S. closures:
While there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 at Disneyland Resort, 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, beginning the morning of March 14 through the end of the month. The Hotels of Disneyland Resort will remain open until Monday, March 16 to give guests the ability to make necessary travel arrangements; Downtown Disney will remain open. We will monitor the ongoing situation and follow the advice and guidance of federal and state officials and health agencies. Disney will continue to pay cast members during this time. Disneyland Resort will work with guests who wish to change or cancel their visits, and will provide refunds to those who have hotel bookings during this closure period. Please contact The Walt Disney Travel Company for questions and cancellations at 714-520-5050.
Disney was considered exempt from the mass gatherings ban due to “unique circumstances,” but that exemption was overturned the same day it was reported, and the company gave patrons a few days’ notice to vacate resorts before they shut down. As large sections of the country are ordered by local governments to self-isolate or shelter in place, so too has the mega-theme-park wing of the company gone dark.
This is a news story has been updated.