This morning Disneyland opened its doors to the public for the first time in over 13 months. Both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure officially reopened today, April 30th, after an extended closure due to the covid-19 pandemic.
One of the many safety protocols in place is a capacity limitation, previously it was reported that the park would open at 15% capacity. This came from Disney CEO Bob Chapek in an interview earlier this year. However, Orange County’s covid numbers have improved drastically since then and the county has moved into the orange tier, this move allows large theme parks (like Disneyland and DCA) to increase capacity to 25%.
Disneyland President, Ken Potrock, confirmed in an interview with the official D23 podcast, that the Disneyland Resort would reopen at 25% capacity. It is good to remember that capacity limitations are set based on park capacity established by fire code. Meaning, Disneyland can allow 25% of absolute maximum capacity, not 25% of the average day. Also, remember that even when Disneyland (or Walt Disney World) have reached capacity in pre-Covid times during busy times around the Holidays, that capacity is still lower than fire code capacity. Disney would never fill their park to 100% of code, safety would be an issue and the guest experience would be terrible.
This all means that Disneyland at 25% capacity is still a good amount of people. Disney does not release park capacity numbers, but it is estimated that Disneyland can hold roughly 85,000 people at full capacity and averages roughly 51,000 visitors a day. That means that a normal day in Disneyland is approximately 60% full.
Over at Disney California Adventure, the maximum capacity is estimated to be 50,000, with an average of 27,000 guests visiting per day. (Of course these numbers are during pre-covid times.) Which means, DCA averages about 54% of park capacity.
Using these numbers, Disneyland’s 25% capacity means the park can hold around 21,250 people and Disney California Adventure can hold around 12,500 people. Notice that we said ‘people’ and not ‘guests.’ Capacity limitations also include cast members (Disney parlance for their Park employees). We can sit here and just randomly make up a number for how many cast members work a regular shift, but it would be pure speculation. The parks are not running a number of shows and rides, which means the number of cast members is reduced, but it also means the capacity goes down, since capacity is based off of square footage available, so if an area is closed, that reduces the capacity availability.
Taking into consideration cast members and the fact that Disney is most certainly keeping their numbers a bit below the maximum capacity of 25%, for safety and to avoid any bad press if the numbers got revealed, it is safe to assume that Disneyland is currently allowing around 20,000 guests in Disneyland and 10,000 guests in Disney California Adventure.
Using this back of the napkin math, it would appear that a sold-out day in Disneyland right now, would be about 39% of an average day and a sold-out day in DCA would be about 37% of an average day.
This sounds like a wonderful guest experience and one that, God-willing, will be short lived. A busy and bustling park is good for Disney’s bottom line, which is good for future expansions, and increased capacity allowance and increased guest interest means that the public health crisis is continuing to improve and the economy is strong. All of these are good things for Disney fans.