Disneyland Paris, Walt Disney Studios Park, and resort hotels have postponed their 2021 reopening dates (again). This follows France’s announcement of a nationwide curfew and increased lockdowns in Europe. This post shares dates, details, and what to expect. (Updated March 12, 2021.)
The second closure of Disneyland Paris followed France’s second shutdown prior to the holiday season. The new measures will mean people have to stay in their homes except to buy essential goods, seek medical attention, or use their daily one-hour allocation of exercise.
Following a few weeks of that, France began to ease its strict restrictions, allowing non-essential shops to reopen. Other higher risk activities and businesses like ski resorts and theme parks have yet to have reopening dates established under France’s reopening plan. However, with new variants France has reintroduced a curfew and another lockdown is likely to follow…
Disneyland Paris has updated its website with an extension of the closure. This indicates that due to prevailing conditions and travel restrictions across Europe, Disneyland Paris will not reopen on April 2, 2021 as initially planned. Disney is optimistic that the parks will be able to reopen soon, and will share updates when possible. Please check back on the website for regular updates.
If you have a booking with Disneyland Paris, you will have flexibility to modify your arrival date or cancel your reservation without fees up until the last moment before your planned arrival. Disneyland Paris truly appreciates your continued understanding and cannot wait to welcome you again. For more information about temporary adjustments to booking and cancellation policies, see this page on DisneylandParis.com.
Given the current context, plans continue to evolve, and updates will be shared as soon as it is possible. As we previously pointed out, April 2, 2021 was simply the target date, and whether that was achievable depended upon Europe’s case numbers, vaccine distribution, and France’s reopening plans.
Case numbers have plateaued, but there’s a rising proportion of more transmissible variants, which has led to an increased number of people hospitalized in the ICU. If that trend continues on its current trajectory, hospitals could face a critical shortage of capacity by late March 2021.
Accordingly, France has imposed local weekend lockdowns, on top of a national 6 p.m. curfew, in northern and southern parts of the country. France’s government has so far resisted such measures for greater Paris, but is contemplating further measures–and will not be easing restrictions as previously planned.
France has been slower to vaccinate than the United Kingdom. Thus far, 4.54 million people, or 8.7% of the adult population in France have received a first vaccine and 2.16 million had also received a second shot, for a total of nearly 6.71 million injections. France aims to vaccinate 10 million people by mid-April, 20 million by mid-May and 30 million by Summer 2021.
At that point, the plan is for the hotels of Disneyland Paris to reopen in phases, beginning with the Disney’s Newport Bay Club Hotel and Disney’s Santa Fe returning simultaneous with the two parks. Disney’s Hotel Cheyenne and Disney’s Davy Crockett Ranch will then reopen on July 1, 2021 and Disney’s Sequoia Lodge on October 23, 2021.
The Disneyland Hotel will remain closed until further notice, with a rumored top to bottom refurbishment in its future that will keep it closed several years. Along those lines, there is no grand opening date yet set for Disney’s Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel. It’s unclear how much work remains to be done on that multi-year reimagining, which was originally slated to be finished by last summer.
This closure extension announcement comes as countries across the world tightened restrictions to fight a resurgence and more transmissible new strains. This is already occurring throughout the European Union and in the United Kingdom, as there’s a race to expand vaccine distribution to get ahead of another potential surge.
Renaud Piarroux, an epidemiologist at the Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital in Paris, said of the new curfew in France: “we will have to make big efforts like the English and even the Germans. I think it’s best to toughen things up now rather than later. We have to anticipate. I think a new lockdown is inevitable.”
(What follows is prior details about the second closure from when it began…)
The plan for Disneyland Paris tracks with what the French government has announced about the second lockdown. President Emmanuel Macron said the drastic measure was necessary to curb a second wave that has been deadlier than expected. In an address to the nation Wednesday night, Macron noted that cases are “spreading across France at a speed that even the most pessimistic did not predict.”
“As elsewhere in Europe, we are overwhelmed by a second wave that will probably be more difficult and deadly than the first,” Macron said during his televised address. “If we do nothing, within a few months we would have at least 400,000 additional deaths.”
France’s intended scenario is rather to have this lockdown period of one month, with the measures reassessed every two weeks thereafter. The government will look at the different types of markers and then to exit this through curfews and other less restrictive means that could continue thereafter.
For its part, Disneyland Paris has taken the lockdown in stride, likely erring on the side of caution in closing through April 2021. By accounts we’ve seen, attendance was relatively low over the summer and fall, which is corroborated by the fact that hotel closures and reopening delays had already occurred prior to this.
Despite that, it had appeared up until now that the reopening of Disneyland Paris had gone relatively smoothly with fan praise for the seasonal entertainment, upkeep, and horticulture. There were even some reports that the dining was better than normal (a low bar). From afar, it certainly looked like Disneyland Paris was going a great job post-reopening.
The aforementioned ‘temporary adjustments’ page on DisneylandParis.com covers everything to know if you have a visit booked. Essentially, refunds will automatically be given for those with dated tickets and shuttle reservations.
Those with vacation reservations are able to cancel or rebook at the current available rate for arrivals in Spring 2021 after the parks reopen. Alternatively, guests can rebook and take advantage of the Summer 2021 “Free Dine” offer by booking arrivals April 1, 2021 to September 30, 2021.
This is now the second Disney theme park complex to re-close, followed by Hong Kong Disneyland when a second wave was experienced there over the late summer. There’s also the fact that the opening date of Disneyland was cancelled when California experienced its own summer surge.
This might lead some to wonder what Florida’s future holds, and whether Walt Disney World re-closing is a possibility. One common thread throughout this has been that bold predictions never age well. It seems that every leader who has proclaimed their own success, superiority, or victory in reopening has had their own words come back to haunt them.
You might recall when Florida Entered Phase 3 and Fully Reopened. During a press conference, Governor Ron DeSantis stated that Florida would not shutdown again, and issued an executive order removing capacity restrictions on bars, restaurants, stores, theme parks, and more. That roughly coincided with schools going back into session, as well.
I’m obviously no expert on any of this, but I’m cautiously optimistic about Florida and Walt Disney World’s future prospects. Unlike many places, Florida experienced its surge over the summer. Additionally, with Florida’s weather getting nicer during the fall and winter months, the state should benefit from more people opting outdoors—the reverse of what’s happening in the Midwest, Northeast, Europe, and other places where cases are now spiking.
Now, this is not to say that multi-state family gatherings couldn’t pose serious problems going forward. However, it is somewhat reassuring that despite schools going back in session and most rules relaxed, Florida has only experienced a mild uptick.
Ultimately, no one can know for certain what will happen with the operating status of Walt Disney World. If a worst case scenario plays out, Florida could backtrack and shutdown again, despite statements to the contrary. Even absent that, Walt Disney World could choose to close the parks and resorts.
While I personally have a tough time envisioning that happening given what has already happened and the forward-looking weather forecast, I’ve learned better than to make confident predictions about any of this. If I were planning a trip right now, I’d still err on the side of caution and make sure my cancellation/modification policies were flexible.
What’s your take on the announcement that Disneyland Paris will stay closed until April 2021? Concerned that a similar scenario will play out with Walt Disney World, or do you agree with our assessment that Florida benefits from already having had a summer surge and now nicer weather on the horizon? Any other thoughts about this news, its ramifications for Disneyland Paris, France as a whole, or even Europe? 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!