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The Disneyland Debacle

Disneyland has only closed it’s gates three times since its opening in 1955. However, since it’s opening this is by far the longest time the park has been closed, having shutdown on March 13th, 2020. The first closing of the park was for the mourning of President John F. Kennedy on November 23rd, 1963. The second time in the park’s history was for the Northridge Earthquake in January 1994. The park was also closed on September 11th, 2001(opening again the next day). Each of those only caused the park to close for no more than a day. Though it seems COVID-19 has caused the famously ‘never closed’ park to stay closed as of October 29th, 230 days.

Due to this extended period of closure Disney has had to lay off 28,000 employees. With only a small portion of those receiving severance packages. Cast members as you can imagine were thoroughly disappointed and negatively impacted by the sudden loss of income amidst a pandemic. If you have ever visited the ‘happiest place on earth’ you can talk to any cast member and immediately tell they love what they do. A quality you only really see at Disney theme parks. According to CBS news Disney lost about $500 million dollars for every two weeks the attractions were closed. Though currently Disneyland is pushing for reopening the California Government is keeping all attractions closed for the time being.

On October 17th, Cast Members both present and past along with park goers and fans gathered outside of the park to protest it’s closure. According to a USA Today Article on the topic where they spoke to the co-organizer of the protest “Cast members don’t want to loose their dream jobs…It’s better to have Disneyland open just like all the other ones are and allow the cast members to choose if they want to return or not, instead of not having a choice at all and being laid off.” They started this protest in hope that Disneyland may be reopened and those who loved working there may get their beloved jobs back. Though the media is seen to be critiquing the protesters as those who miss taking pictures at Disneyland. Rameriez the co-organizer of the event was said to have denied that statement.

In September, California Governor Gavin Newsom stated that theme parks such as Disneyland could open “very, very shortly.” A statement that was contradicted in early October. “Disneyland and surrounding large theme parks wouldn’t reopen anytime soon.” With the state putting the theme park reopening guidelines in the back of their to-do list. Though the California Attractions and Parks Association states that there was no reason to keep the parks closed when they could reopen safely. Though, when that that day comes Disney CEO Josh D’Amaro stated that “We’re Ready” to the Travel Association Group in August.