Disneyland Paris has not closed due to the coronavirus pandemic…yet. While the parks, hotels, and Disney Village remain open, there are a number of operational changes and cancellations due to COVID-19, plus bans on large gatherings in France.
This follows news reports that multiple backstage maintenance works at Disneyland Paris are confirmed to have contracted coronavirus. Disney has stated that these Cast Members have never been in contact with guests because they work overnight when the park is closed.
Disney reports that measures were put into place with employees after the confirmation of the positive tests. Moreover, the parks have taken other guest-facing precautionary measures to avoid the spread of COVID-19. We’ll cover those precautionary measures here, plus the impacts and adjustments Disney is making in light of coronavirus, and whether we’d still visit Disneyland Paris right now…
Precautionary measures at Disneyland Paris include increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfection in high guest contact areas and added hand sanitizer in the parks, hotels, back of house locations, and offices. In a press release highlighting some measures, Disneyland Paris stated that it has high standards of cleanliness and health and safety protocols in place.
Additionally, Disneyland Paris on-site health teams and leaders are communicating with Cast Members about illness prevention, including health authorities’ recommendations of everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses like coronavirus/COVID-19.
France is the second-worst affected country in Europe after Italy, which has effectively gone into lockdown to stop the spread of coronavirus. French President Emmanuel Macron has said that European nations will do everything that is needed to slow the disease’s spread, but also stated that “we musn’t give in to panic.”
With that said, Macron is scheduled to give another televised address to France at 8 pm on Thursday, as the death toll and number of COVID-19 cases continues to grow. There’s media speculation that the French government will move its coronavirus response up a gear to Phase 3, the highest response level.
If the French government lifts its coronavirus response to Phase 3, that means it considers COVID-19 to be circulating widely among France’s population, requiring extra countermeasures. It’s not clear what those new measures would be, but those could be what ultimately causes Disneyland Paris to close–something that could happen as soon as this weekend.
In the meantime, the French government has called for events with over 1,000 participants to be banned, although the power to implement such restrictions lies with local authorities. Disneyland Paris is acquiescing to this ban/recommendation, with the following operational changes…
These measures are listed as “Exceptional measures – Temporary changes to experiences and operations” that are effective between now and April 15, 2020. (Obviously, an extension beyond then remains possible/likely.)
That goes on to explain that Disneyland Paris is open and welcoming guests. Park management is in regular contact with the French authorities, and based on their direction, Disney has temporarily amended some experiences and operations.
Here are the other changes listed:
Disneyland Paris attractions continue to welcome guests.
The queue line capacities for rides have been adjusted to comply with France’s latest government requirements.
Indoor and Outdoor Shows
Theaters at Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios Park continue to welcome guests to enjoy the following indoor and outdoor shows: Mickey and the Magician, Frozen: A Musical Invitation, Lights, Motors… Action! Stunt Show Spectacular, and Stitch Live.
Capacities for indoor shows have been dramatically reduced to comply with the latest government requirements concerning large gatherings.
Parades and Outdoor Shows
Parades and shows presented outside are temporarily suspended.
This impacts 9 different major pieces of entertainment, most notably the daytime parade at Disneyland Paris and the park’s nighttime spectacular. Also cancelled are seasonal entertainment for Frozen Celebration and Legends of the Force: A Celebration of Star Wars.
Restaurants at Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios Park remain open.
The capacity of Cafe Hyperion in Discoveryland and Au Chalet de la Marionnette in Fantasyland has been reduced to comply with the French government’s requirements concerning large gathering. Likewise, Billy Bob’s Country Western Saloon in Disney Village has had its capacity reduced and dance floor closed.
All shops in Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios Park remain open. The capacity of World of Disney has been adjusted to comply with the latest government requirements.
Additionally, the capacity of Studio 1 building in Walt Disney Studios Park has been reduced to comply with the latest government requirements. (This likely impacts dining and retail in that building.)
Hotels & Resorts
All hotels at Disneyland Paris remain open and are operation as normal.
For arrivals between now and June 1, 2020, Disneyland Paris has waived all modification and cancellation fees; guests may act until April 15 to postpone their date of arrival until October 15, 2020. Any adjustments to cancellation and modification policies for arrival dates after June 1, 2020 will be determined at a later date.
There is local pressure on Disneyland Paris to close, including from unions representing employees at the park. “Given that Disneyland Paris site is the biggest employer in the Seine-et-Marne region, there is pressure to stay open,” said Denis Gravouil, a representative of the CGT union for the tourism and leisure sector told the Financial Times. “For the health of employees it would be sensible to close.”
Unfortunately, how individuals should respond to the coronavirus pandemic has become increasingly polarized. Our take here is pretty simply and straightforward: we do not recommend visiting Disneyland Paris right now. This advice can be offered while side-stepping the controversial aspects of it.
Quite simply, the guest experience at Disneyland Paris is so significantly impacted by the operational changes that it’s not worth visiting. Disneyland Paris is heavily dependent upon entertainment, and with all key pieces of that cancelled or dramatically reduced, it’s hard to justify visiting right now.
Beyond that, other aspects of the park that are integral to the experience have been scaled back or eliminated entirely. Disneyland Paris can be unpleasant and frustrating when it’s not firing on all cylinders, and that’s certainly the case right now. (The dining situation, which is bad on a normal day, sounds especially bleak now.) From a selfish perspective alone, we would not visit Disneyland Paris between now and (at least) April 15, 2020. If all of that isn’t enough to convince you, it’s hard to envision Disneyland Paris not closing at some point in the very near future.
Have you visited Disneyland Paris since the coronavirus outbreak began? Have you visited since the additional changes have been implemented? What was your experience? Would you still visit during this pandemic? Any feedback you can offer about the state of Disneyland Paris right now? Any questions? Hearing your feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts or questions below in the comments!