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Disneyland's Reopening Is Delayed and Disney World Might Be Next

Even some Disney devotees demand a delay.

FLICKR/ANDY CASTRO
FLICKR/ANDY CASTRO

When Disney shared plans to reopen its Florida and California parks in mid-July, they came with a host new safety rules. Masks were required, firework shows were sidelined, and hugs with Prince Charming were canceled.

But the company just announced that, because the state of California has "indicated" that it will not issue theme park re-opening guidelines until after July 4, no guest's dreams will come true on the originally scheduled July 17 reopening date. Dream-come-trueing will have to wait until Disney hears from the government. 

“Given the time required for us to bring thousands of cast members back to work and restart our business, we have no choice but to delay the reopening of our theme parks and resort hotels until we receive approval from government officials,” Disney said in a statement posted to its website Wednesday. 

As the shoulders of a hundred lonely Disney characters slumped, protesters across America rejoiced. A petition was launched last week on Change.org, intended to delay the reopening

"Health officials have stated that the 2nd wave of Covid-19 will be worse," petition organizers wrote. "So reopening before the 2nd wave even hits us is irresponsible and greedy." 

The petition currently has more than 51,000 signatures, and comes at a time when California is setting records for new coronavirus cases.

"As an Annual Passholder I was disappointed to hear they'd be reopening so soon because I am not entirely comfortable going back yet due to the virus," one petitioner wrote. "But I don't want to cancel my AP! I'm also worried for my [cast member] friends who will have to be exposed to such large crowds when they go back to work." 

Disney employees, or, "cast members," have had their own union-facilitated battle with the company. Last week, the Coalition of Resort Labor Unions, which represents thousands of employees, sent a letter to California Gov. Gavin Newsom saying it was way too early to reopen. 

"We have had positive discussions and are very pleased to have signed agreements from 20 union affiliates," Disney wrote in a press release. "The signed agreement details plans that include enhanced safety protocols that will allow us to responsibly reopen, and get thousands of our cast members back to work."

Walt Disney World has its opening date set for July 11, but Florida is still experiencing COVID-19 case surges, and a petition against the park's reopening plan has collected over 10,000 signatures so far. It's certainly looking like the Dole Whip will have to wait. 

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Ruby Anderson is a News Writer at Thrillist. Send your tips to randerson@thrillist.com.