2 Disneyland cast members share how they feel about the park reopening and how they expect their jobs to be different
Disneylandhas been closed for a year due to COVID-19. Its doors open today.
- The reopening - limited to
Californiaresidents only - will bring 10,000 jobs back to the region.
- Two employees shared how they feel, from excited to go "home" to anxious about crowding.
In early March, California officials revised the state's COVID-19 restrictions, allowing stadiums and theme parks to reopen as early as April 1.
Fans seem eager to return: When the company opened a virtual queue for tickets to a food and entertainment festival in early March, wait times stretched into several hours, with the event selling out completely that first day.The anticipated reopening of Disneyland will be bringing a reported 10,000 jobs back to Southern California - but the promise of a long-awaited paycheck comes with a potential minefield of health and safety concerns.
I'm a ride attendant who's been at Disneyland for 7 years. I'm excited to get back to some sense of normalcy.
I'm happy we're reopening, but I'm also a little wary. I'm anxious by nature, so the idea of being around thousands of people again seems off-putting after only seeing my roommates for the past year.
I'm not sure how my job will be impacted yet. I know attractions will be mostly working to adjust queues so it's all outside. I guess main impacts will be adjusting to all the changes for COVID-19 safety and trying to adjust guests to the changes as well. It will be hard because guests will expect us to have all the answers when we probably won't have them since it's all new to us, too.But I know the company will have plenty of safety protocols in place. At Disney, safety is always taught to be the number one focus for us in everything we do, so I know the company will be doing everything in their power to keep things safe for us.
At Disney from day one, we are taught the four keys to apply to our work every day: safety, courtesy, show, and efficiency (in that order). We need to always put safety at the forefront - for example, measuring kids to ride the attractions. While the courteous thing to do would be to let a kid that's almost tall enough, but not quite, ride because they're 'close enough.' Things like that.
Disney always has our backs, which is why I'm confident they'll be on our side if any COVID-19-related safety issues come up. I've also already had my first dose of the vaccine, so that definitely helps quell my fears.I'm actually not too worried about guests not following protocol. I'll be more in control of the situation when I'm at work. When I'm at the grocery store and I see someone without a mask, I can't tell someone to put one on. But at work, I'll have the capability to do that.
I'm a retail supervisor who's been at Disneyland for 3 years. Honestly, I'm a little nervous about the reopening, but part of me agrees that it's time.
When they first announced in June 2020 that the park was going to be opening for the park's anniversary in July, I was completely against it. The state that the country was in for the virus scared me to death and I found it extremely inappropriate that they were trying to open just to celebrate an anniversary. I was relieved when that was shot down and we stayed closed.Now, however, I find that things are improving. Looking at COVID-19 numbers, at least in my county, things are getting better. Vaccinations are also helping me feel a little more at ease about going back to work - and honestly, I miss the atmosphere.
So I'm a mixed bag. Overall, I'd say I'm nervous but excited to be going back "home."I know there are going to be hiccups and people aren't going to want to cooperate with specific procedures. I'm going to be worried about my fellow cast members that maybe aren't as safe as I would be in terms of health reasons. But I'm excited to be around my work family again and being able to make magic however I can. I know some things are going to be very different, and in some ways I'm not going to be able to provide the level of magic that I'm used to, but I'll find ways to make it work. It's just an added challenge I'm kind of excited to tackle.
Although there will be protocols in place (I'm not sure what they will be), I'm not sure how closely they will be acknowledged or followed. I'm not sure how I'm going to be able to respond or what I can do to make guests follow these rules. I just hope anyone that comes to the parks follows the rules.
I'm always worried about my friends and family. I'm worried about bringing anything home to my boyfriend or roommates.But this is also part of working at a theme park: colds, flus, stomach bugs - they spread. I'm a little less worried about bringing COVID-19 back because by the time we are all back at work (most of us work at the parks) we will all be fully vaccinated.
I'm curious to find out how my job will be impacted. The stores I work in are so tiny. I'm interested to see the capacity limits of the stores and how we are going to control that.
My area is normally a bit understaffed as well, so if there's supposed to be two cast members in each store, that's more than double what we normally have. It'll be interesting to see if entrance- and exit-only doors will be implemented and how that will work with the cast we will be provided. Plexiglass at all the registers is also going to look strange, and one person behind each counter is definitely going to throw me off.One store is very popular, so we usually need two cast members behind the counter, but that won't be an option due to social distancing guidelines. Also, if outdoor carts are still going to be run, how are we going to protect those cast members from guest crowding or anything like that? I have a lot of questions that I won't have the answers to until I go back, but I know my job will look differently.
They really did have it together and everything was organized and available to guests as well as cast members. Hand-washing stations spread out throughout Downtown Disney as well as hand sanitizer was clear and abundant. Cast members had masks and face shields where needed and they were also paying close attention to guests to spot anyone that may have not been wearing their masks properly. Everything and everyone were spaced out through markings on the ground, and cast members were ready to correct any guest behavior and step in to make sure social distancing was in effect. I felt more comfortable than I thought I would.I was also able to attend the cast preview of A Touch of Disney. That was a whole different experience. Mobile ordering food from each booth was an option, but the other option was to wait in line for a specific cashier booth to order food from. This caused more lines and crowding. Then, once ordered, more lines at the booths to wait for food caused more crowding. Though I believe the intent was to spread people out, I think that was just poorly executed.
I was impressed with Downtown Disney and A Touch of Disney, and I hope the same thing happens inside the parks when they open.This article was originally published on Insider March 29, 2021. It has been updated with new information.
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