Disneyland hasand nearby business owners cannot wait for crowds to return to the theme park — and patronize their stores and restaurants again.
Safety protocols are in place and crowds will be thinner than beforeshut the amusement park down for more than a year, but business owners in the surrounding area say they will again be grateful for the foot traffic that popular rides such as Space Mountain and Dumbo the Flying Elephant typically draw.
"I swear to you, I'm doing cartwheels, you just don't see it!" Subway franchisee Rick Cerney told CBS Los Angeles affiliate KCAL9's Nicole Comstock.
The resort is open at 25% capacity, resulting in smaller-than-usual crowds. But any volume of business is meaningful to smaller operations, some of which have seen business dip so dramatically they have had to close.
"Right now we're at 100% of zero. So anything is better than zero," Cerney said.
He estimates it will take two years to recoup his pandemic-related losses. And he considers himself lucky.
Three of the eight small businesses located in the same Anaheim strip mall that borders Disneyland have already closed for good.
Hotels are also preparing to welcome Minnie and Mickey Mouse enthusiasts again.
Bharat Patel, owner of the 200-room Castle Inn Suites located half a mile from Disneyland, said the hotel has "been able to hold on" and survive a year-long closure.
"We're very fortunate. We're looking forward to better times," Patel told KCAL9.
Only California residents may visit the park under its phased reopening plan.
Patel looks forward to the day out-of-state visitors are invited back and meaningfully lift his profits.
"It's going to take a long time to make a basic living again," Patel said.
Cerney, the subway franchisee, said he'll need to bring on additional staff members to serve hungry guests.
"Now I'm in a position to say that I need to hire," he said. "That's a good feeling."