The happiest places on Earth are shutting their gates.
On Thursday morning, Disney confirmed the closure of Disneyland Park, Disney California Adventure, and associated Anaheim hotels due to worsening concerns about the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in California. Shortly thereafter, Universal Studios Hollywood did the same.
By Thursday evening, Disney opted to also shut down operations at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida and Disneyland Paris, as well as suspend all-new Disney Cruise Line departures worldwide.
Disneyland Park and California Adventure will go dark beginning the morning of Saturday, March 14 with plans to reopen at the beginning of April. Resort hotels will stay open through Monday, March 16 to allow visiting guests time to make travel arrangements.
Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris will cease operations at the start of business on Sunday, March 15 — also with plans to return at the end of the month — through hotels and some retail and dining complexes will remain open at both locations. Any Disney cruises set to depart after Friday are suspended indefinitely. Disney parks in China, Hong Kong, and Tokyo are already closed.
Finally, Universal Studios Hollywood plans to close its attractions on March 14. The park expects to restart operations on March 28. Universal CityWalk will remain open in the interim. At the time of publication, Universal Orlando planned to stay open and fully operational.
The news of these closures comes despite California Gov. Gavin Newsom deeming Disney Parks and Universal Studios exempt from mandatory gathering restrictions due to “unique circumstances” on Thursday morning.
“While there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 at Disneyland Resort, after carefully reviewing the guidelines of the Governor of California’s executive order and in the best interest of our guests and employees, we are proceeding with the closure of Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure,” Disney representation said in a statement via Twitter.
“We will monitor the ongoing situation and follow the advice and guidance of federal and state officials and health agencies.”
The development marks only the fourth complete operational closure in Disneyland history. The park previously shuttered following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the September 11 attacks, and the 6.7-magnitude Northridge Earthquake. Each unexpected closure lasted one day. Alternatively, Walt Disney World has had more closures due to Florida’s hurricane season.
“Disneyland Resort will work with guests who wish to change or cancel their visits, and will provide refunds to those who have hotel bookings during this closure period,” the company’s statement on Disneyland concluded. “We anticipate heavy call volume over the next several days and appreciate guests’ patience as we work hard to respond to all inquiries.”
Employees at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World will be paid through the hiatus.
“Domestic Walt Disney Company employees who are able to work from home are being asked to do so, including those at The Walt Disney Studios, Walt Disney Television, ESPN, Direct-to-Consumer, and Parks, Experiences, and Products,” the company’s said in their second statement of the day.
UPDATE: March 12, 2020, 3:57 p.m. PDT Updated with news about Universal Studios Hollywood.
UPDATE: March 12, 2020, 6:01 p.m. PDT Updated to reflect closures at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris as well as cancelations on Disney Cruise Lines.