Disneyland reopens and reemerges as a beacon of optimism

2 May 2021


At 8:06 a.m. Friday a cheer erupted at the Harbor Boulevard entrance to the Disneyland Resort. The gates of the theme park were not yet in sight for anyone in this line, where tall hedges brush up against Anaheim sidewalks, but a team of park staffers, armed with digital thermometers, had begun the temperature-taking process.

While no one was, of course, applauding the concept of a fever check, the claps and jubilant shouts made it clear that everyone knew what it represented. Amid our new reality in which the somewhat unpredictable threat of a virus may wane or rage with the seasons, at least one aspect of pre-pandemic Southern California was about to return: our desire to go to a place that encourages us to dream.

On April 30, after just over 13 months of closure, Disneyland celebrated its second proper grand opening since July of 1955, having closed only rarely and sporadically — and never for any extended period — in the prior 65-plus years. If there was one consistency Southern Californians could count on, it was that Disneyland’s Anaheim gates would open every morning. While the park shifts with the decades, it has also doubled down on its desire for cross-generational appeal, making it a place that for so many is one of habit and tradition.

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