With the plan to control the spread of the novel coronavirus, “social distancing” is being advised by health experts and being directed by government officials.
With this, all Disney theme parks around the world are being shut down for the rest of the month amid the spread of the pandemic.
The Walt Disney Company announced on March 12 that the Disneyland in California would close for only the fourth time in history since it opened its doors in 1995, representing their longest closure by far. On the same day, the company announced the closure of Disneyland Paris and Disney World Resort in Florida starting March 16. This is the first time in history that all six Disney theme parks and resorts are closed at the same time.
Following the closure of the parks, the company announced on March 15 that it will temporarily shut down all Walt Disney World hotels and Disney’s Vero Beach Resort on March 20. Disney Springs at Disney World Resort and Downtown Disney at Disneyland closed from March 17.
Preceding the official company statement, California Governor Gavin Newsom said that Disneyland, together with other large parks, were exempt from the executive order limiting gatherings of over 250 people. However, the Walt Disney Company still went to proceed with the closure. The historic announcement of Disneyland’s closure was in the interest of the safety of public health.
Immediately after the outbreak of coronavirus in Shanghai and Hong Kong, the company closed its Disneyland parks in the said locations to stop the spread of the virus. However, Disneytown in Shanghai opened its doors again this week after 45 days of closure.
From February 29, Tokyo Disney Resort temporarily closed its doors to the public as soon as Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo mandated the postponement of social gatherings for two weeks. As of March 9, the closure was extended through April to make way for its Fantasyland expansion and the launching of its new Beauty and the Beast ride.
Financial Times said that Disneyland Paris, France’s most popular attraction, continues to be open even after three of its employees were infected with the COVID-19. The staff members are now working “backstage”, which means they did not face guests and were not in contact with guests.
The closure of what is considered to be the earth’s happiest place is quite unexpected. Recalling history, Disney World and Disneyland have only closed due to forthcoming natural calamities and national tragedy like the death of then-U.S. President John F. Kennedy and the 9/11 attacks.