Disneyland Cheerfully Reopens

Visitors make emotional return after 13-month shutdown ends
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 30, 2021 4:50 PM CDT
Disneyland Cheerfully Reopens
Employees wave at guests arriving Friday at Disneyland.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Employees and visitors cheered each other Friday as Disneyland reopened after a 13-month pandemic shutdown. Crowds lined up before dawn, the Los Angeles Times reports, and some visitors were crying as they walked through the gates. "It's been a long year," one woman said. "This is a homecoming for us," said another, who used to visit the California theme park almost weekly. Employees held a flag-raising ceremony before the gates opened, at which they were thanked by Disney CEO Bob Chapek. "I want to be the first one in and the last one out," said a 15-year-old lined up outside, per the Orange County Register. "I know I'm going to cry when I walk through the gates." The temperature checks began about an hour ahead of schedule, and the first visitors then walked down Main Street, applauded by employees lining their route.

California Adventure reopened next door, as well. Attendance at both parks is capped at 25% of capacity, and only California residents are allowed in. Visitors and employees must wear masks, and they have to maintain social distancing unless they live together. There are no parades or fireworks shows for now. There will be no hugs from Mickey or Goofy, though they'll pose for photos with guests. Despite the limitations, Disneyland tickets are already sold out for the first seven weeks. And even with the attendance limit, the wait to ride the new Snow White ride early Friday was more than an hour. "It's poetic in a way," one man said. "Disneyland was one of the first things to close and the last to reopen. It feels like we're finally turning a corner." (More Disneyland stories.)

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