A small fraction of Disneyland employees and fans gathered outside the iconic California theme park this morning to pressure Governor Gavin Newsom into allowing all of the theme parks to reopen. All of the theme parks in California have been shut down since the middle of March and Disney, in particular, has been sparring with Newsom in order to get their park open to the public. Currently, only the Downtown Disney area, which is made up of dining and shopping, is open to the public. The ongoing public health crisis limits how many people can be in the area at any given time.
Just over 20 Disneyland employees and fans (all wearing masks) showed up outside of the park to protest this morning. They all want Gavin Newsom to allow the park to reopen. The Downtown Disney portion of the park has been at capacity for weeks now, with people desperate to get any kind of Disney fix. However, Gavin Newsom has not had any interest in reopening the park, or any of the other theme parks in California, including Knott’s Berry Farm, Universal Studios, and Magic Mountain.
Things have started to get a bit ugly between Disney and Gavin Newsom over the past several months. Walt Disney World reopened back in July, and the plan was to do the same in California, but Newsom put a stop to it when cases started spiking again. Disney chairman Bob Iger resigned from the state’s economic coronavirus task force, which many believe was a power move done to pressure the California Governor, though it did not phase Newsom in the slightest as he claimed he saw it coming.
After Bob Iger left the state task force, Gavin Newsom revealed that he was in “no rush” to open Disneyland or any of the other theme parks in California. Disney then laid off 28,000 employees. Both Disney and the California Attractions & Parks Association criticized Newsom for being “unreasonable,” which may have resulted in his latest reexamination about opening the park. Newsom sent a team to Walt Disney World earlier this week to see how they were operating in order to bring back intel to possibly influence opening Disneyland.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek criticized Gavin Newsome and the state of California in a recent interview.
“It seems to me that the guidelines that are set up by the state of California are more stringent than any state across the country,” said Chapek. “If you look at the history of Disney and what we’ve been able to do during the reopening, rather than arbitrary standards set up without regard to actual fact, and what we’ve been able to do as a company, I think you’d come to a different decision about reopening Disneyland.”
Newsom has yet to respond to those claims or to the protest outside of the theme park this morning. The Hollywood Reporter was the first to announce the Disneyland protest.
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