Taking a trip to post-pandemic Disneyland

Brock Uhl (‘22) poses with Mickey Mouse balloons in front of the Sleeping Beauty Castle. (Brock Uhl)

For the first time since September 11, 2001 (9/11), Disneyland closed its doors to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As it reopens and Amador DECA students, cheerleaders, and Disney fanatics alike flock to the park, students are left to wonder just how different the post-pandemic park they return to is.

“There weren’t really any set guidelines at the park. They didn’t disinfect seats between rides or enforce the mask mandate, but I was pretty indifferent– I didn’t feel unsafe, but I didn’t feel especially safe. I felt like I didn’t really have to follow any precautions. I would put my mask on if I was near too many people,” said DECA student Mirika Pohray (‘23).

Disneyland has only closed its doors four times: in 1963 after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, in 1994 after the Northridge Earthquake, and after 9/11 in 2001. According to Forbes, Disneyland lost over $13 million each day it remained closed. Following its reopening, students return with concerns for their health. 

“I would say about 70% of people, last time I went, were wearing masks, because that was in September when taking them off was still new, and inside it was still required. It made me feel safer that more people were wearing masks, but this next trip we’ll have to see how many people are masked. I know I, personally, will be masked most of the time, in crowded spaces more so, just because it makes me have more of a sense of security,” said Brock Uhl (‘22).

At the end of February, the Amador competition cheer team traveled to Anaheim for their nationals competition. The new mandate was released at around the same time- in February 2022- allowing vaccinated people to unmask indoors. Amador cheerleaders were able to witness a more lowkey, “post-pandemic” environment.

The lights, fireworks, and other nighttime entertainment bring vivid color to Disneyland in the evening, giving the park a spark of excitement.

“The overall Disney experience was awesome. Specifically, in Disney, we went one day with the team– hung out, relaxed, and had a really good time. There were definitely fewer cheerleaders there than in other years, but other than that, it was normal. Aside from that, we had our competition, which was a really great experience. Disney doesn’t have a mask mandate anymore, but in enclosed spaces, it would be better to wear a mask,” said Olivia Prevost (‘23).

So, exactly how different is a post-pandemic Disney? Dons with concerns that COVID-19 has left Disney for the worse can rest assured– it turns out, Disneyland hasn’t lost its spark. 

“The atmosphere has most definitely not changed. It’s still the most magical place on earth, the happiest place on earth, Disneyland, Disney World, all of the above,” said Uhl.