After a more than two-year-long closure following the pandemic and a storm that damaged the road access leading to Hearst Castle, the landmark is reopening its doors this week.
“Two years is a long time. We went through the pandemic in 2020 and then the road closure. I am excited to get this place open again," said tour guide Michael Davis.
This has been the castle’s longest continuous closure since it opened and staff at the historic monument are ready to welcome visitors once again on May 11.
“Us guides are ready to go. We are ready to get people up here," Davis said.
“I can not wait for the first busload to pull up and to greet the people back to their park," said Cara O'Brien, Hearst Castle Museum Director.
California State Parks said the road closure was a huge impact.
“There was approximately $32 million revenue lost to the castle just here on the ground," said Dan Falat, California State Parks SLO Coast District Superintendent.
The staff is hopeful that some of that lost revenue will be regained as summer approaches and especially on Memorial Day.
But whether you are a first-time visitor or a returning guest there are new changes to know about.
“We are running just bus to bus now and so what this means is, before we were having where the guest would come up and after the tour, they could roam the grounds. But now we’re keeping it a little more consolidated," Davis said.
There is also a new two-hour Julia Morgan tour about the architect who worked with William Randolph Hearst for 28 years to make his vision come to life.
There are just over 2,000 tickets available for opening day and guests are encouraged to make reservations in advance online. There are no COVID-19 restrictions as of now, but workers say people should check the castle’s website the morning before visiting as there could be changes.