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Disneyland California Theme Parks Plan Phased Reopening in July

By Danny Vena – Jun 11, 2020 at 1:34PM

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After a months-long drought, the "Happiest Place On Earth" will soon be open for business -- but with some big changes.

Walt Disney (DIS -3.20%) plans to celebrate the anniversary of the opening of California's Disneyland by once again opening the iconic theme park to the public. The company is planning to open the gates on July 17, 65 years to the day after the park's historic launch in 1955. The House of Mouse announced the proposal for its phased reopening on Wednesday, pending state and local government approvals.

First, the Downtown Disney Shopping District, which includes a variety of shops and restaurants, will start accepting customers beginning on July 9. Both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park will open their turnstiles on July 17. This will be followed by the reopening of the company's flagship California hotels -- Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel -- which will begin accepting lodgers on July 23.

Disney California Adventure's Incredicoaster and Mickey Mouse Ferris Wheel lit up at night.

Image source: Author.

Safety first

The capacity of parks and some rides will be significantly limited in order to help guests comply with social distancing guidelines in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. Attendance will be managed with the use of a reservation system, which will require all guests -- including annual pass holders -- to register in advance. This is similar to the strategy Disney employed during last year's opening of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. The parks will also feature physical barriers and markers to ensure social distancing. 

The parks will employ a number of other measures designed for the health and safety of its guests. Certain festivities that typically draw large crowds -- like parades and fireworks displays -- won't return immediately, and meet-and-greet sessions with Disney's iconic characters are suspended until further notice.

Disney said additional details will be provided soon. The parks will no doubt undergo enhanced and continuous cleaning of high-touch areas and visitors will likely be required to wear masks.

Danny Vena owns shares of Walt Disney and has the following options: long January 2021 $85 calls on Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Walt Disney and recommends the following options: long January 2021 $60 calls on Walt Disney and short July 2020 $115 calls on Walt Disney. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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