California theme parks remain shut but hundreds flock to Disney shops

Disney's California theme park reopening may have been thwarted by coronavirus, but hundreds lined up early Thursday to buy Mickey Mouse merchandise from an adjacent shopping plaza.

Downtown Disney District -- which borders the world-famous Disneyland and Disney California Adventure theme parks near Los Angeles -- is the first part of the sprawling resort to reopen.

A couple waits in line to enter Downtown Disney in Anaheim, California the first day the outdoor shopping and dining complex has been open to the public since it closed in mid-March due to COVID-19 (AFP Photo/Robyn Beck)
It threw open its shops and restaurants to eager fans after almost four months of coronavirus-mandated limbo.

"I've personally been here since 11 pm," one woman told local news network KTLA.

Visitors, many wearing colorful Disney costumes as well as mandatory face masks, had their temperatures checked at the entrance, an AFP journalist said.

But with the theme parks still shuttered as coronavirus cases climb in the US state, visitors were restricted to the World of Disney souvenir store and a number of cafes and shops.

A scheduled July 17 reopening date for the rest of the park was scrapped last month, and no new date has been announced.

Disneyland is the world's second most-visited theme park, trailing only its sister park in Florida, and draws tens of thousands of visitors each day. It remains the only Disney theme park without a scheduled reopening date.

Shanghai Disneyland, Hong Kong Disneyland and Tokyo Disney have already resumed activities.

Disney's Paris and Orlando parks plan to start up within the next week.

California, the most populous US state, is recording more than 8,000 new COVID-19 cases each day, with nearly 290,000 infections confirmed to date.

Topics: Disneyland
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