The self-proclaimed "Happiest Place on Earth" finds new meaning as a super-sized COVID-19 vaccination site.

By Rachel Chang
January 12, 2021
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While the Disneyland parks have remained closed since mid-March, the Southern California attraction has found new purpose as a COVID-19 vaccination site. 

The Anaheim resort will serve as Orange County's first large Point-of-Dispensing (POD) site, and it's being dubbed a "Super POD" because of its scale. Thousands of residents will be able to receive vaccines each day at the site. Four other Super POD locations in the county will also be announced soon.

"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," acting Chairman Andrew Do, First District, said in a county release issued on Monday.

Much like the rest of California, where residents have been urged by health officials to stay within a 120-mile radius of home, the coronavirus pandemic has reached a dire status in recent weeks in the county — patients in intensive care units hit a record high over the weekend, NBC Los Angeles reported. Orange County has had 191,861 cases and 2,120 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to data from the Orange County Health Care Agency.

"Residents in my district have been highly impacted by COVID-19," Orange County Supervisor Doug Chaffee said in a statement. "These Super PODs are absolutely critical in stopping this deadly virus." 

Disneyland Resort entrance
Credit: AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

The county is following California state guidelines for a tiered approach to prioritize vaccinations, with law enforcement first responders in high-risk communities and those ages 75 and older currently eligible in Orange County, according to the release. Most of those eligible will be contacted by their employers to schedule an appointment. Walk-ins will not be accommodated. (Orange County residents can get more info here.)

The site at Disneyland will open later this week. "Coronavirus has brought both a public health crisis and economic devastation. With this super site, we will begin to overcome both," Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu said in the release. "Every vaccination done in Anaheim will help to save lives and speed the reopening and recovery of our city."

While select parts of the Disneyland Resort have started a phased reopening, with takeout food services that cannot be consumed on property, the hotels and two theme parks — Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park — have remained closed. According to state records reported in The Orange County Register, Disneyland laid off 11,572 employees last month, stemming from the resort's shutdown since March.