'Happiest place on earth' takes on grim role amid pandemic

The ‘happiest place on earth’ will partially open for the first time since the Covid pandemic took hold of the US to administer vaccinations for the deadly virus.

California’s Disneyland Resort will be repurposed amid the country’s battle with Covid as a Point-of-Dispensing (POD) site to provide locals with a vaccine, Orange County announced on January 11 (local time).

Images show large white tents lined up in Disneyland’s Toy Story parking lot, southeast of the theme park.

COVID-19 vaccination tents are set up in the north of the Toy Story parking lot at the Disneyland Resort on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, in Anaheim California
Images show large white tents lined up in Disneyland’s Toy Story parking lot, southeast of the theme park. Source: Getty Images

The decision appears to bring a different meaning to the resort’s slogan of ‘happiest place on earth’.

“The Disneyland Resort, the largest employer in the heart of Orange County, has stepped up to host the county’s first Super POD site – undertaking a monumental task in our vaccination distribution process,” the acting Chairman of the county's Board of Supervisors, Andrew Do, said.

“We truly appreciate the support of the Orange County Fire Authority, our cities, and our residents as we continue to rollout Covid-19 vaccinations throughout the county.”

The five ‘Super POD’ sites, like Disneyland, will be able to vaccinate thousands of people every day, county officials said.

A map of the vaccination site's location.
The vaccination area is set up in a parking lot outside of Disneyland. Source" Twitter/DisneyParksNews

The locations of the additional sites have yet to be announced.

“It's important to vaccinate as many willing people as possible for Covid-19, and we need the space to do it,” Supervisor Donald P. Wagner with the Third District said.

Disneyland is “proud” to help out Orange County and the City of Anaheim, Disney Parks said on Twitter.

“After a year in which so many in our community have faced unprecedented hardship and uncertainty, there is now reason for optimism with the administration of a vaccine,” Dr. Pamela Hymel, Chief Medical Officer, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products said according to the tweet.

Port-a-loos seen lined up ate the vaccination site.
The Disneyland parking lot will be one of the five large Point-of-Dispensing (POD) sites. Source: Getty Images

Orange County is taking a “phased, tiered” approach to administering the vaccines, as established by the state government’s health department.

Orange County has reported 193,700 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and more than 2,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins data.

The state of California accounts for some 2.79 million cases of the country’s total of more than 22 million since the start of the pandemic.

The US leads the world in both confirmed cases and deaths and infection rates remain at record highs in many states.

People ‘excited’ to get Covid vaccine at Disneyland

Numerous people took to social media after the news was broken, with many making light of the situation.

“My dream is to get the Dolly Parton Vaccine in Disneyland. That’s what I want,” one person said on Twitter, referring to Ms Parton’s funding towards the Moderna vaccine.

“What ride are you guys getting your vaccine on at Disneyland?” another person asked, to which someone responded the boat ride named It’s a Small World seemed “about right”.

Large crowd seen at Disneyland
Disneyland closed in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Source: Getty Images

A Disneyland pass holder inquired if they’ll be able to cut the line as usual.

However, someone else pointed out an opportunity had been missed.

“Who dropped the ball and didn’t refer to vaccines @Disneyland as ‘Magic Shot’???” the Twitter user asked.

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