By Cassidy Reyna
As the economy slowly starts to open up, many theme parks including Disneyland are opening up with COVID mandates in place. I was recently able to go to the “happiest place on earth” for my younger brother’s birthday, and I was quite surprised with the regulations around the park.
Due to pricing of tickets and attending opening week, I was only able to go to Disneyland Park and not Disney California Adventure, so I can only speak for Disneyland Park.
Prior to attending, Disney parks sent out an email a few days before our reservation to make sure we knew that if we needed to change our date due to COVID or for any reason we may do so.
Luckily for my family and I, we are fully vaccinated, aside from my brother, we have been following guidelines so we were set to go.
Before anything else, at 7 a.m. I made a boarding group reservation to get on the ride “Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.”
These boarding groups were in place prior to COVID due to the high demand to experience the ride. However, now more than ever it is good that Disneyland has these boarding groups in place.
Once we parked, all attendees headed to screening and bag checks. At that point there are no trams to transport people from parking lots to the parks.
The walk was about 10 to 15 minutes long and there wasn’t much regulation aside from trying to stay in our group and not get too close to others.
Needless to say the walk is tiring especially when trying to get into the park as fast as possible.
Disney made it known that it is California residents only who can go to the parks, however, I.D. checks weren’t mandatory, although some parties are randomly selected for I.D. checks. Getting on each ride, there were ‘6 feet apart’ markers every single step of the way.
Cast members allowed us to take a drink of water or any beverage in line, especially on the day we went as it was warm, although if a guest isn’t actively drinking a beverage and has their mask off, cast members will ask you to put on your mask.
On the day that I went, Disney was at 25% capacity, and when you’re walking it’s not very crowded compared to days before COVID.
Some areas may seem a bit “tight,” but in those areas there are many tables and benches to sit and are “designated dining areas.”
Some rides I was able to get on, like “Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance” and “Indiana Jones Adventure,” had a row skipped in the ride vehicle with plexiglass dividing parties of four. Whereas “Star Tours – The Adventure Continues” had small plexiglass dividers between every two seats.
Before and after going on rides, there are hand sanitizing stations. Although what was a bit absurd was the fact that cast members weren’t enforcing guests to sanitize their hands.
Also, when I went on rides, I didn’t see cast members pausing to clean holding rails on the ride vehicle before guests got on.
I understand to prevent longer wait times they don’t do this, but it defeats the purpose of protecting guests.
Of course every guest is different when going to theme parks. Some will actually make sure they stay as clean as possible, whereas others don’t care.
You would think that with Disney being such a wealthy company they would enforce hand sanitizing.
Then again, Disneyland is in Orange County where many citizens are conservative and of the far right, who might think COVID is a hoax or Trump is still President.
At that point, it’s to each their own as far as cleanliness and staying safe.
To play devil’s advocate, you could say that all guests run the risk of contracting COVID and at the end of the day the guest is liable because they chose to attend, knowing the risks of contracting COVID.
However, I know for a fact that Universal Studios Hollywood does enforce hand sanitizing and has each guest, before riding, sanitize their hands.
Although I have not attended, I have seen so many videos of those who have attended Universal. Their employees have a bottle of spray sanitizer and have guests sanitize both hands prior to entering ride vehicles.
With Disneyland on the other hand, you could say Disney does “enough” and allows it to be up to the guest.