It was exactly 412 days ago that the pandemic prompted the closure of both theme parks.
It impacted Disney cast members and was devastating to the local economy. Hotels that were normally jam-packed sat empty until now.
The California parks will open at 25% capacity on Friday.
For the health and safety of guests, the parks will enforce social distancing and mask-wearing. Temperature checks are required upon entry, starting at Downtown Disney.
Good morning #Disney lovers! Happy Grand re-opening day! If you have a park-hopper ticket and your park reservation, you’ll start your day at the park where you made your reservation. Then, at 1 pm on that day you can hop to the other park. @ABC30 pic.twitter.com/Gsiycztbm1— Vanessa Vasconcelos (@VanessaABC30) April 30, 2021
It's a good idea to plan ahead and get to the park early for those in the Central Valley that are headed down to Anaheim.
Lines won't look anything like they have in the past. Rides and health screening stations are spaced six feet apart. In addition to distancing signage, physical barriers are also in certain areas to promote proper separation.
Sanitizing stations can be found throughout Downtown Disney and both parks. Party sizes are three households or fewer.
Guests are also asked to self-health check before arriving. Tickets must be purchased through a new reservation system.
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The new changes didn't stop Chuck Salanitro from making the trip from Fresno. The music director at Computech Middle School said he's not only using the trip to celebrate his 35th wedding anniversary with his wife, Cathie. He wants to share the experience with his students.
Happy 35th anniversary to Cathie and Chuck Salanitro of Fresno! They’re celebrating their milestone with a #Disney milestone!! They are already in line to be the first inside of the parks at the grand reopening of #Disneyland and #CaliforniaAdventure ! @ABC30 pic.twitter.com/rPSkqaXlff— Vanessa Vasconcelos (@VanessaABC30) April 30, 2021
"Once we found out the date, we didn't even give it a second thought. It was like we were going to go," he said. "I told my students, 'hold on I've got to take care of this,' so my students online and students in the classroom, everyone kinda just freeze for a moment. I went ahead got the tickets got the reservation, and they were hysterical because I was literally jumping up and down."
More Fresno Disney lovers were out in full force gearing up for the grand opening.
Bryan Cauwels says he and his friends are going in with zero expectation and staying positive about the changes.
"We still know no matter what, the worst day at Disneyland is still the best day anywhere," Cauwels said. "So we're still super excited about being there even with the new restrictions. It doesn't bother us."
"We haven't been able to go out and do anything in a long time. This is our first trip to actually go do something fun, so that's what we're really looking forward to," he added.
Cauwels said he's meeting up with even more people from the Central Valley
Guests who have reserved park hopper passes will need to decide in advance which park to start in under the new safety guidelines.
You'll be able to enter the other park starting at 1:00 pm the day of your trip.
Among the many changes at the parks, anyone planning to refuel with food or drinks or do anything that requires removing your mask along the way will need to stop at a designated seating area that is spaced six feet apart from other guests.
This week the parks hosted a soft opening for cast members and their family and friends.
Those magic makers were the first to experience Disneyland and California Adventure under the new COVID safety protocols.
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