THE DISNEY MAGIC RETURNS: CHAPMAN STUDENTS REACT TO THE DISNEYLAND REOPENING

A masked Princess Aurora facing a caution-taped Sleeping Beauty Castle while COVID-19 virus particles float around in the air. Illustration by Julia Petty.

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo, America’s favorite sleeping castle has awoken. But this time around, it comes with a warning label.

Enter Disneyland’s caution-taped gates to see semi-empty streets, your favorite parades gone, and an abundance of safety procedures—all thanks to COVID’s spell. No more packed lines or feeling like you’ve entered one of the most crowded places on Earth. 

After over a year in hibernation, Disneyland officially reopened its gates to the public on April 30. With a little trust, and a little pixie dust, Disneyland aims to respark the Disney experience for anyone who enters its fortress. While some Chapman students are over the moon about Disneyland’s reopening, some remain cautious. 

According to Disneyland’s official website, all visitors will now be required to obtain a reservation for park entry. Only California residents are allowed to visit the parks, and in groups no larger than 3 households. 

As for safety implementations, face coverings will be mandatory for all visitors ages 2 and up, cast members, and other employees. Temperature screenings will also be required to enter certain locations. Certain attractions that draw large crowds, such as parades and nighttime shows, will return at a later date. 

Junior public relations and advertising major Joy Manion was ecstatic about Disneyland’s recent reopening. 

“Living in SoCal, you realize how much Disneyland is a part of SoCal culture,” she said. “Here the news updates constantly like ‘Downtown Disney is open,’ ‘Disneyland is open’…” 

Even with all the COVID safety precautions, nothing would stop her from enjoying the Disney magic.

“It’s definitely going to be another step you have to do, but at this point, I’m so used to it after a year,” she expressed. “If I have to do these extra steps to go to Disney, and to have a day to have fun at Disney, it will be worth it to be wearing a mask all day and social distancing.”

Senior sociology major Isabelle Fabrizio, who’s also an attractions cast member at Disneyland, described work protocol.

Isabelle Fabrizio having fun in front of the red car trolley when Downtown Disney was open. Photo courtesy of Isabelle Fabrizio.

“There are increased safety procedures including cleaning for high touch areas; places where guests go and also places where Cast Members go,” she explained. “Everything from hand washing stations all throughout the park, hand sanitizers…You won’t be able to do those days where you go in and get onto every single ride and see every single show. That’s not going to be your reality anymore.”

She provided updates regarding the infamous annual pass:

“They got rid of the annual passes,” she said. “Everyone who already had an annual pass got turned into a Legacy passholder; we don’t know what that means yet.”

A new Land will be opening soon as well, according to Fabrizio.

An artist concept of the upcoming Avengers Campus projected to open June 4th. Photo from Google.

“It was announced that Avengers Campus, which is a new Land in California Adventure, will be opening this summer, June 4th, which is their projected opening date,” she said. “It’s something they were planning since 2017 and it was supposed to open last summer, but ya know, the world kind of shut down.” 

Junior animation major Ellen Mowat said she felt hesitant about the reopening of Disneyland.

“I’m definitely more on the side of like, just being super safe and cautious when it comes to COVID,” she explained. “I’ve not been in many places where there’s been a ton of crowds, so it would make me feel scared to be at a place like Disneyland if they were to open it up at max capacity.” 

Like Mowat, senior film studies major Ethan Williams had similar thoughts regarding Disneyland’s reopening.

“Personally, I don’t know if I’m going to go back yet,” he said. “I feel until we’ve reached a point of herd immunity, then I think I’ll be comfortable going to a place like the Disney parks where there’s a lot of people touching stuff; it’s so crowded there all the time.” 

He continued by saying:

“I know safety is important but, one of the things about Disneyland is sort of escaping reality. Having their restrictions limits that, so I don’t know if it’s better just to wait until people are able to safely have all the freedoms that they had before.” 

Although things look different now, Isabelle Fabrizio hopes that she can make the beloved theme park a place for people to make everlasting memorie

“[Disney] has always been a part of my life,” she said. “Being able to be part of making that magic for other people, to make other people as happy as Disneyland has made me, is a dream come true. It really is.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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