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Disney Parks in California, Florida and France temporarily closing amid coronavirus scare
Disneyland in Anaheim, California, Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, and Disneyland Paris Resort will temporarily shut down beginning this weekend as the coronavirus pandemic continues to delay, postpone, and outright cancel major public spaces and events around the planet.
Disneyland California's closure seemed inevitable after yesterday, when Governor Gavin Newsom called for gatherings of 250 people or more to be put on hold or canceled.
“While there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 at Disneyland Resort, after carefully reviewing the guidelines of the Governor of California’s executive order and in the best interest of our guests and employees, we are proceeding with the closure of Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure, beginning the morning of [Saturday] March 14 through the end of the month," Disney said in a statement obtained by SYFY WIRE. "The hotels of Disneyland Resort will remain open until Monday, March 16 to give guests the ability to make necessary travel arrangements; Downtown Disney will remain open. We will monitor the ongoing situation and follow the advice and guidance of federal and state officials and health agencies. Disney will continue to pay cast members during this time."
The resort has also promised to work with guests who want to reschedule or cancel their visits. Refunds will be provided to anyone who has hotel reservations during the closure period.
[UPDATED at 10:30 a.m. ET on March 12]
Disney Parks announced the Florida and Paris closures later this evening in a statement, along with the suspension of Disney Cruise Line departures:
In an abundance of caution and in the best interest of our guests and employees, we are proceeding with the closure of our theme parks at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland Paris Resort, beginning at the close of business on Sunday, March 15, through the end of the month.
Disney Cruise Line will suspend all new departures beginning Saturday, March 14, through the end of the month.
The Walt Disney Company will pay its cast members during that closure period.
The hotels at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris will remain open until further notice. The retail and dining complexes, Disney Springs at Walt Disney World and Disney Village at Disneyland Paris, will remain open.
Domestic Walt Disney Company employees who are able to work from home are being asked to do so, including those at The Walt Disney Studios, Walt Disney Television, ESPN, Direct-to-Consumer, and Parks, Experiences and Products.
We will continue to stay in close contact with appropriate officials and health experts.
Disney Parks in Shanghai and Hong Kong (the virus originated in China) have already been closed indefinitely. Japanese locations have been temporarily shuttered as well.
As Variety writes, this is only the fourth time in the Disneyland California's 65-year history that the park has closed. The other instances were the assassination of JFK in 1963, the Northridge earthquake in 1994, and the September 11, 2001, terror attacks on the World Trade Center.
Disney's feature film division is still moving forward with the wide release of Black Widow (May 1), despite pushing off Mulan, The New Mutants, and Antlers. The fate of the MCU project, which explores the origin of Scarlett Johansson's Natasha Romanoff, could certainly change in the coming weeks as the global health scare prompts more and more studios to delay their films.
Earlier today, for example, Paramount decided to push off the opening of John Krasinski's A Quiet Place Part II, which was only a week away from hitting theaters. Soon after, Universal announced that Fast & Furious 9 will be delayed almost a year, opening next April.