Today, Disney hosted an invitation-only virtual press conference to “update on how we’re making magic while we continue to promote health and safety.” We were invited to attend the conference.
Disney executives took today’s conference as an opportunity to give an update on the parks that have reopened and to call on California’s governor for guidance when it comes to the reopening of Disneyland. They assert that the longer Disneyland remains closed, the greater the repercussions are for the surrounding communities.
Disney World’s Reopening Has Gone Well
The press conference started out with comments from Djuan Rivers, Vice President of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Melissa Valiquette, Vice President of EPCOT, discussing the measures currently in place in Disney World. They presented the success of social distancing, face mask requirements, and capacity limitations in the Disney parks.
Valiquette noted that, according to data collected by Disney, guests have been cooperative and pleased with the health and safety measures. She explained that eight out of ten park guests consider the health measures “just right.” The conference went on to show guests from within the Disney parks discussing their experience.
Overall, the primary section of the conference served as an update on the success and lessons from Disney World before the subject matter turned to Disneyland, which has remained closed since March.
Similar Efforts Are In Place for Disneyland
Disney California Adventure and Downtown Disney Vice President Patrick Finnegan gave the update on Disneyland. He emphasized that the reopening of Downtown Disney has gone well and that the parks are ready to follow a similar plan to Walt Disney World — theme park reservations system, health and safety measures, and expanded mobile offerings — when they are allowed to reopen.
Finnegan also announced that Disneyland is currently working on a new program that would help their Cast Members have access to COVID-19 testing. He said, “We are in the process of finalizing a plan that would allow Cast Members to have access to testing in their own communities.”
Disneyland is Ready to Reopen, Pending Government Approval
Finnegan noted that talks with the governor’s office on the subject of reopening safely continue, but that “We are ready to reopen.” As we’ve heard in calls from the Disneyland President, the next step towards reopening the parks is in the governor’s hands. They are awaiting guidelines to help conduct a safe and prompt reopening.
These sentiments were then echoed by Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Josh D’Amaro. D’Amaro spoke the closing remarks for the conference noting that Disneyland’s ability to reopen is not just about Disney but about the communities that Disney helps to support. He remarked that the closure of the theme parks is drastically affecting the surrounding counties, saying that tens of thousands of livelihoods depend on Disneyland.
Addressing the California government, D’amaro made statements regarding employees and the community. I encourage you to treat theme parks like you would other sectors… Help us reopen. The longer we wait, the more detrimental it will be to Anaheim and the surrounding communities, and the tens of thousands of people who rely on us for work. He closed saying, “We’re ready, and more importantly, it’s time.”
Governor Gavin Newsom noted last week that information about the theme parks is coming soon. We’ve yet to hear any further news about the upcoming guidelines. Stay tuned to DFB for the latest updates.
What do you think of the comments made at today’s press conference? Tell us in the comments.