Many have questioned when the Disney Park experience will return to “normal.” However, we still have a bit longer for the true Disney Park experience to return.
Return to “Normal”
Each week it appears that more and more signs point to the return of “normal” in the Disney Parks. This week a HUGE milestone was met on our pathway to “normal” when Disney announced that non-distanced character meet and greets will return. This was one of the biggest “reopenings” that many Disney Guests looked forward to.
Recently we have also shared that Disney entertainment would return to pre-pandemic levels with Finding Nemo set to return, the return of the Tumble Monkeys at Festival of the Lion King, and the return of Fantasmic.
Guests were overjoyed to hear that a favorite dinner theatre show would be returning. Check out the return date for Hoop-Dee-Doo HERE. These are great signs that the magic of Disney is returning, but according to Disneyland President, Ken Potrock, Disney Parks still have more work to return to pre-pandemic levels.
Halfway to Phased Reopening
Recently, Disneyland President, Ken Potrock, shared his view of the phased reopening of the Disney Parks with Orange County Register. Ken Potrock became president of Disneyland in May 2020 which was a rather turbulent time for the entertainment industry.
The prolonged closure of Disneyland was difficult for Cast Members, Guests, and the Disney Company. Check out Potrock’s encouraging note to Cast Members during the pandemic closure HERE.
“We’ve embarked on this legendary comeback. We’re more than halfway through it, but we’ve got another year.”Jeff Potrock
Potrock shares, “We’ve embarked on this legendary comeback. We’re more than halfway through it, but we’ve got another year.” This seems surprising that another year is still needed for the Parks to be fully reopened. Check out his reasoning for this statement.
Two Major Focuses
For the reopening of Disney Parks, Potrock shares, “We focused on two things. One was we were very focused on a common enemy — the pandemic. Then we had a common objective which was survival. That meant we had to be unified, quicker to market, and innovative. We needed to recreate the Disneyland experience without losing the heart of it.”
The first focus towards the pandemic was met with health and safety protocols. For quite some time social distancing protocols have been removed. We have seen plexiglass removed from Disney attractions and queues as well. With face masks now optional, it appears that the first focus was met.
Shifting to the second focus to bring back the heart of Disneyland. The biggest piece to the return of Disney magic lies with the Cast Members. During the Park closures, the Walt Disney Company announced massive layoffs. The Walt Disney Company and Walt Disney himself shared that the true magic of the Disney Parks are the Cast Members.
Disneyland offered to rehire 85% of their furloughed Cast Members as Disneyland officials stated back in August 2021. Even with the return of furloughed Cast Members Potrock shares, “We’re still not staffed up all the way. We are hiring every single week.”
We focused on two things. One was we were very focused on a common enemy — the pandemic. Then we had a common objective which was survival.Jeff Potrock
The need for additional Cast Members appears to be present at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Cast Members are truly the magic the Disney Parks. In April, Potrock will share more during the “State of the Disneyland Resort” presentation.
Potrock shares that in this presentation, “We’ll be able to announce a bunch of things that are continued improvements, opportunities and experiences. We’re going to talk about the impact that we’re having on the community and how we’re using our economic engine to rev up the economy here in Orange County and Anaheim in particular.”
What do you think? Do you think the Disney Parks still have another year to return to “normal”? Do you feel the part of the Disney magic is still missing in the Disney Parks? Share your thoughts with us on our Facebook Page.