It’s still unclear when the Disney theme parks in Anaheim will reopen, but the House of Mouse hopes to appease its most ardent fans by hosting a food and drink festival on the grounds of its California Adventure Park in March.
To help kick off the festival, Disney announced it would recall around 1,000 employees who were laid off or on leave after Disneyland and California Adventure Park closed last March as the COVID-19 pandemic swept across states. -United. 350 more Disney employees have returned to work with the recent reopening of restaurants and stores in the adjacent shopping district known as Downtown Disney.
The food and drink festival, tentatively scheduled for mid-March, will invite guests to stroll the park, shop for food, drink and souvenirs, and experience what Disney calls ” unique and carefully designed entertainment ”. Dates and ticket prices have not yet been announced, and no entertainment details have been released.
“This past year has presented extraordinary challenges, but it has in no way restricted our ability to move forward with a spirit of optimism,” Disneyland Resort President Ken Potrock said in a note to employees on Monday. .
State restrictions prohibit theme parks from operating attractions, but the Downtown Disney retail area next to the parks has been operating its shops and restaurants since July. In November, Disney also opened the shops and restaurants on Buena Vista Street, a main artery of Disney California Adventure. Al fresco dining offered in downtown Disney and Buena Vista Street were temporarily closed in December when Governor Gavin Newsom issued a stay-at-home order in response to the surge in coronavirus cases. The governor lifted the order last month, allowing restaurants to once again offer outdoor dining.
Food and drink festivals are an increasingly popular event at Disneyland Resort, such as the Lunar New Year Festival, which featured stalls scattered throughout Disney California Adventure offering traditional Chinese food and drink, as well as live entertainment. musicians and dancers.
It’s unclear how Disney will deliver entertainment during its March festival without allowing park visitors to congregate in violation of social distancing guidelines.
Disneyland executives, along with other theme park operators in the state and the mayors of cities that are home to theme parks, have been lobbying the governor for months to create health protocols that allow the parks to reopen. soon. He hasn’t moved.
In October, Disney laid off 28,000 employees in its Parks, Experiences and Products division; approximately 10,000 of these layoffs occurred in Anaheim Disneyland Resort parks, hotels and stores. Another wave of layoffs followed in November.
Two state lawmakers, Assembly Members Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton) and Suzette Valladares (R-Santa Clarita), introduced a bill last week that would speed up the reopening of all parks in the state by moving them to a less restrictive level. on the governor “Blueprint for a more secure economy.” If the bill passes, Newsom is unlikely to sign it.
Newsom’s guidelines tie the reopening of parks to infection rates and the number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 people in the counties that are home to the parks, as well as a yardstick of fairness. If the spread of the virus in a county decreases sufficiently, the theme parks in that county may reopen.