Disneyland Paris Closing Until 2021
Disney has announced that Disneyland Paris, Walt Disney Studios Park, Disney Village, and resort hotels will close again due to a second wave hitting Europe. This follows France’s announcement of a nationwide lockdown through at least early December. In this post, we’ll share some dates, details, and more. (Updated November 25, 2020.)
France’s second shutdown is similar to its previous one in the spring. 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. Cafes, restaurants, and shops will shut down unless they are selling essential goods, such as supermarkets and pharmacies.
Unlike during the two-month lockdown imposed last spring, students up to high-school level will continue to attend schools. Excepted from that is universities, which have been the source of several outbreaks since resuming in-person classes; those will go online-only. Factories, farms, public services, and a variety of other businesses will also be allowed to operate to limit the economic damage that would come from shutting down the country completely.
November 25, 2020 UPDATE: France will begin to ease its strict restrictions this weekend, allowing non-essential shops to reopen, President Emmanuel Macron said in a televised address. This will allow retailers and other businesses to reopen in time for the holiday shopping season and allowing people to travel up to 20 kilometers for outdoor exercise.
The reopening of movie theaters and museums could possibly follow on December 15, 2020, followed by bars and restaurants on January 20, 2021 depending on the status of new cases and other metrics in France. Other higher risk activities and businesses might be able to open on a similar timeframe, or have to wait until a later date, per tentative details of France’s reopening plan.
While this is a positive development for France as a whole, it’s bad news for Disneyland Paris as theme parks are not among the businesses included in the potential December 15, 2020 reopening.
In response to the news, Disneyland Paris updated its closure announcement, issued additional refunds, and issued the following statement:
Prior to this, Disneyland Paris had been taking reservations for travel dates from December 19, 2020 through January 3, 2021 in anticipation of celebrating the Christmas season based “upon prevailing conditions and government guidance at that time.” While conditions are improved, guidance is unfavorable. Accordingly, Disneyland Paris will remain closed through at least February 12, 2021.
Disney issued details about its closure in a banner on top of DisneylandParis.com, which leads to a full page detailing temporary adjustments to booking and cancellation policies. This indicates that in line with latest direction from the French authorities, Disneyland Paris will continue its current closure.
(What follows is prior details about the closure from when it began in November 2020…)
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.”
The new nationwide lockdown would be enforced initially until December 1, 2020. The lockdown might start to ease once new cases fall back to around 5,000 per day from around 40,000 per day at present.
France is now reporting more than 350 new weekly cases per 100,000 people, 18% of its tests are coming back positive, and that’s probably a massive undercount due to insufficient testing. (Graphic below via BBC.)
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 through December.
The goal is to have less restrictive measures for the Christmas and New Year’s Eve holidays. However, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stated, “we are deep in the second wave…this year’s Christmas will be a different Christmas.”
For its part, Disneyland Paris has taken the lockdown in stride, likely erring on the side of caution in closing through February 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 from February 13, 2021 to March 31, 2021. 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 about a month ago 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.
In the weeks that have followed, Florida’s daily new cases and positivity rate both have trended slightly upwards. Additionally, Florida now has a rolling 7-day average of 18.6 daily new cases per 100,000 people as of October 29, 2020. That’s up since early fall but way down since the peak. It’s also a far cry from France’s 350 new weekly cases per 100,000 (or 50 per day) number.
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 for Thanksgiving and Christmas couldn’t pose serious problems (even in Florida, those will be indoors). 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 during the holidays, 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.
For the basics of planning a visit to Disneyland Paris, check out our Disneyland Paris Trip Planning Guide. Want to see more photos or read about Disneyland Paris in agonizing detail? Check out our Disneyland Paris 20th Anniversary Trip Report or our Disneyland Paris 25th Anniversary Trip Recap!
What’s your take on the announcement that Disneyland Paris will close until February 2021, with the possible exception of Christmas? 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!
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