Virus takes magic away from Disneyland's kingdom

Disneyland in California to close over coronavirus

 In this file photo Disney characters Mickey and Mini mouse pose on March 16, 2017 in front of the Sleeping Beauty Castle to mark the 25th anniversary of Disneyland. (Credit: AFP)

Disneyland will close its doors beginning Saturday after California called for large gatherings to be canceled to slow the spread of coronavirus, the resort said Thursday.

The giant 100-acre (40-hectare) attraction in Anaheim is the second-most visited theme park in the world, drawing tens of thousands of visitors each day, but will remain shut at least until the end of March.

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"After carefully reviewing the guidelines of the Governor of California's executive order and in the best interest of our guests and employees, we are proceeding with the closure of Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure," a statement said.

No cases of the virus had been reported at the resort, it added.

Disney will monitor the situation, and on-site hotels will remain open until Monday to give guests time to leave.

California Governor Gavin Newsom said Disney had "made the right call in the interest of public health and agreed to shut down their California parks."

"Expect more announcements like this shortly," he added.

The move follows a string of high-profile closures and cancellations in California including the Coachella music festival and several major sporting events.

Disney-themed parks in Asia have also closed due to the virus, although its Shanghai resort partially reopened this month after closing in late January.

Disneyland in California drew nearly 19 million visitors in 2018. It was recently expanded with a major new "Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge" attraction.

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