Happiest Pandemic on Earth?
During the early days of the pandemic, California required theme parks to close — and, like everything else associated with the pandemic, the shutdown lasted much longer than expected. It was also unprecedented. Disneyland had shut down only three times before: after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, right after the Northridge earthquake in 1994, and following the 9/11 attacks. But those were just one-day closures. This time, Disneyland was shut down for 412 days — and it wasn’t alone. Universal Studios Hollywood, Legoland, Knott’s Berry Farm, and Disneyland’s sister park California Adventure were all closed for over a year. When they reopened, there were new rules — and a very different experience. I went to Disneyland, California Adventure (including the new Avengers Campus), and Universal Studios Hollywood in June and late May, before the Disney parks dropped most mask requirements and social distancing. Here's what that once-in-a-lifetime experience was like, for better and for worse.