Coronavirus: Disney is closed, but you can still experience your favorite rides virtually

Morgan Hines, USA TODAY

The coronavirus pandemic may have caused Disney to close its magical gates indefinitely, but a YouTube channel, though unaffiliated with the Walt Disney Co., may be able to help lift the spirits of Disney-lovers everywhere.

Since 2016, the YouTube channel "Virtual Disney World" has been offering virtual reality rides through 360-degree videos. They are compatible with a virtual reality headset or a smart phone with a headset. 

"Virtually experience all of your favorite attractions within an interactive 360º video environment. 'Virtual Disney World' offers a complete immersive experience like never before," the channel's About page reads. "Relive the attractions and places you love anytime, anywhere!"

To date, the channel has garnered more than 46,000 subscribers and has had upwards of eight million views. 

The channel includes rides from Disney World's Epcot and Magic Kingdom, Disneyland, Disney's California Adventure, Universal and more.

Each video allows the viewer to experience one ride. The most recent upload, from two weeks ago, features The Great Movie Ride.

In the top left corner is a tool that viewers can use to navigate through the experience, which lasts for just over 22 minutes. And while the experiences are compatible with VR headsets, it is still possible to watch on a regular computer screen.

Disneyland and Disney World closed indefinitely due to COVID-19

Citing an "increasingly complex crisis," Disneyland and Disney World are going to stay closed "until further notice" due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Walt Disney Co. said Friday.

The company's decision dashes hopes that the fabled theme parks would reopen by next month, as had been previously announcedUniversal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood announced they were extending their closures through April 19. 

For Disney, the concern was about making sure park-goers and employees aren't exposed to virus.

"While there is still much uncertainty with respect to the impacts of COVID-19, the safety and well-being of our guests and employees remains the Walt Disney Company’s top priority," the company said in a email statement. It said the decision was "in line with direction provided by health experts and government officials."

USA TODAY has reached out to "Virtual Disney World" for comment.

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Contributing: Chris Woodyard and Charles Trepany

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: COVID-19: Disney is closed; experience your favorite rides virtually