Disney Parks Chief to California Governor: "Help Us Reopen"

"We need guidelines that are fair and equitable," says Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences & Products.

The Walt Disney Co.'s parks chief on Tuesday made it clear to Gov. Gavin Newsom that the company wants clearance to reopen the Disneyland Resort. Now.

Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences & Products, did not mince words during his time as he closed out a stakeholder webcast to give an update on park operations.

"Help us reopen," he said, addressing the state. "We need guidelines that are fair and equitable." He went on to say that the "longer we wait" the more "damage" would be done economically to the local economy and furloughed employees. 

D’Amaro pointed to the reopening of Walt Disney World as proof that the company knew how to handle the safe reopening of Disneyland.

Currently, every county in California is assigned to a tier based on its test positivity and adjusted case rate, which is what the state is using to allow businesses to reopen. Orange County's current tier allows for indoor shopping and outdoor dining, which is how the Downtown Disney shopping and dining district is allowed to operate.

Disneyland has been shuttered since mid-March. A plan was in place to begin reopening Disneyland in July, but that was all sidelined when novel coronavirus cases skyrocketed statewide, forcing state and local officials to roll back business operations permissions.

Disney fans may not be able to visit the Southern California theme park, but plenty are flocking to nearby Downtown Disney.

Since reopening in early July with strict new health and safety measures in place, that portion of the resort has, on multiple occasions over weekends, had to temporarily close parking lots in order to tamp down the flow of people coming into the area to ensure the new (undisclosed) capacity is not exceeded.

"Downtown Disney Update: Due to limited capacity, we are occasionally pausing parking and entry into #DowntownDisney. Guests with dining reservations will be accommodated during this time. General entry will resume as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience!" reads the announcement, the most recent of which was posted Sept. 20.

Patrick Finnegan, vp Disney California Adventure Park and Downtown Disney District, said Tuesday during the presentation update, "The reception we've seen has been incredibly positive." 

He added, "We continue talking to the governor's office about how we are operating our business. We are ready to open and hope we have guidance soon."