The gates are finally open! After being closed for over a year, Disneyland is open again!!!!
Disneyland closed on March 13, 2020, due to Covid 19, and the gates opened up again on April 30, 2021. Now, the happiness and magic we all needed are back in the world…even though the world still looks a little different.
Kevin and I were able to be back in Disneyland for opening day which was truly a dream come true. A lot is different and changed in the parks. I have to say, with all the changes, new rules and yes, even with wearing masks, none of the magic was lost, gone, or missing.
Ticket and Reservation Information- (as of May 30, 2021)
To enter the parks you need a few things:
1- a theme park ticket (discounted tickets available from GetAway Today)
2- you need to make a reservation for the park you wish to visit or start your day with a park hopping ticket
3- a valid CA ID/ proof of CA residency
*as of now, only CA residents are allowed in the parks. Disneyland will be open to everyone starting June 15, 2021
Theme park reservations will be available about 120 days in advance and be released on a rolling basis.
Theme park reservations can be made for up to 10 people, comprised of no more than 3 different households. Please, note that all of this information can change at any time so make sure to keep checking the Disneyland website and the Disneyland app for any new updates.
Tickets can be purchased on the Disneyland app, or via third-party sellers like GetAwayToday (which is where I like to get my tickets for a discounted price)
After you have a valid ticket, you must make a reservation. You can scan your tickets or manually enter them into the Disneyland app and use the tickets in your app to make your theme park reservations for the days you would like to attend. Make sure to check the calendar to see what dates are available. Since the parks are at such a low capacity, tickets for certain days, especially on the weekends, are going fast. I have heard Disney keeps releasing more tickets, so keep your eyes open and keep checking the calendar because the day you want might just become available.
Park hopping is available and you can start park hopping at 1 pm (depending on capacity). There is no guarantee you can switch parks so I recommend before leaving either park, check with a cast member and see if the other park is full first. Kevin and I did one day in each park. (which is what I recommend)
If the dates you want to go show that Disneyland is full and you have a park hopper ticket, you can always go into California Adventure first, and try park-hopping over to Disneyland after 1 PM.
Remember, you need to buy a ticket first, then make reservations because both a ticket and reservation are required at the gate for entry into the parks. All of this information can change at any time so again, for the most up-to-date information, it is best to keep checking the Disneyland app and website for any new changes regarding capacity, reservations, and new or changed restrictions.
Some Extra Details to Keep in Mind Before Heading to The Parks
Masks are required for all guests ages 2 and up at all times, only to be removed when you are sitting down in a designated dining location while you are actively eating and drinking.
To enter the parks, all guests ages 3 and up will need a theme park ticket and theme park reservation
Both parks are at limited capacity and only open for CA residents (until June 15), and have shortened hours. No magic morning or early morning for hotel guests at this time.
There is NO Fastpass availability at this time, however, they are always using a Virtual Queuing System for Rise of the Resistance and as needed for Indiana Jones if demand requires it.
Lockers inside each park were unavailable at the time of our visit and are still unavailable at this time, however, we did notice that the lockers outside of the park were open and available.
Parking will be available at Mickey and Friends and Pixar Pals parking structure only.
A tram is not available or running to transport guests from the parking structure to the gates at this time.
Dining and Food Tips, Tricks, and Reminders.
You can make dining reservations for any sit-down restaurants. Check the Official Disneyland App for Reservation Availability.
If you do not have reservations for a sit-down meal, mobile ordering is key.
- Make sure you mobile order your favorite foods early in the day. This can all be done in the Disneyland app. Plan ahead and pick the time you want to pick up your food. Mobile Ordering Return Times fill up fast, so I recommend placing your orders for meals right away to lock in your return time to pick up your food.
- “I’m here, prepare my order” is what you push when you arrive to pick up your food. You may still have to wait in line once you arrive to pick up your food so please just be patient.
- At some locations you can walk up to order, however, that option is not always available. Cast members are always around to help out if you have any questions.
- You can be added to a walk-up waiting list for sit-down restaurants, which doesn’t guarantee you will get in, but if something opens up you might be able to dine at that location.
- To make all dining reservations ahead of time, or to see what is available, click HERE.
Note- eating at “off” times may make finding a table easier as well as help with getting your food quicker and somewhat easier. Make sure to place those mobile orders at the start of your day too. Remember all of this info is subject to change at any time as well.
Not all popcorn and churro carts are open and some stands can sell out and close early. IF you want popcorn, don’t wait until the very end of the night. The carts might be closed or sold out. The popcorn cart on Mainstreet was all closed up by 6 pm on opening day.
Cast members are not currently allowed to take photos for you on your phone or device, but you can purchase a photo pass. This option is a great way to have cast members take photos for you. You can pre-purchase the photo pass and have it ready to use in your Disneyland app or you can choose to have the photo pass photographers add the images to your account by scanning the QR code in your app and deciding to purchase a photo pass after you check the pictures to make sure that you like them. If you do choose to purchase a photo pass don’t forget to add all of your ride photo codes to your app because all attraction photos are also included with the photo pass.
Photo pass is currently $19.99 per day and you can purchase this on the Disneyland app. After you have photos taken, the cast member can scan the Disneyland app on your phone and add photos to your account.
Before arriving at Disneyland, make sure to link your old Disneyland annual pass to the app. Make sure to show your legacy pass when you are making purchases at retail shops and dining locations so you can get your discount.
After our Opening Day visit the Alfresco Tasting Lounge was opened up as a Legacy Passholder Exclusive experience so make sure to get a reservation if you are a Legacy Passholder and want to experience this Passholder exclusive menu of food and drinks. We were not able to experience this for opening day but look forward to checking this out if it is still available on our next trip to the parks.
When should I arrive
Opening Day was a little crazy because so many people were so excited to get into the parks…and many people wanted to be first.
The park opened at 9 AM and Kevin and I arrived at the Harbor entrance around 7:15 am and the line was pretty long to get in. After they opened the gates, the line moved very quickly and we were inside the park within 30 minutes.
It seemed like if you arrived right at 9, people were walking right in.
I loved being there early, so we could get into the parks ASAP. It all depends on what feels best for you and everyone in your group. When we were there for the opening day, temperature checks were required, followed by going through security, yes they go through your bags and still make you walk through a metal detector. If everyone cooperates it all goes pretty quickly and as smoothly. I heard Disneyland will stop temperature checks soon, but of course, you will still need to go through security. Disneyland has also been making updates to hours of operations so the parks will most likely be opening earlier and staying open later. Yay!
Character interactions are a bit different but I honestly loved them. I feel like you get more time with each character as you get to talk to them and hang out and get to see them be silly, dance around, and have fun with them. You can take videos, pictures, selfies and hang out with them. We saw so many different characters come out to say hello which is also really fun. Make sure to keep your eyes open and you will see several characters throughout the day in several places throughout each park.
Toon Town is open but you can not go into the character houses. Characters do make appearances at their houses and throughout toon town which is really fun.
Rides and attractions
Click HERE for a list of rides and attractions that may be open or closed during your visit.
- As of now, the Disneyland railroad has been closing early. So if you want to ride the train, do it first or early in the day
- The Snow White ride has been reimagined so make sure to check that out. I would also recommend doing this early in the day.
- Lines may look super long, but do not worry. Because of 6 ft social distancing from others it makes the lines look super crazy and long but they move pretty quickly. The longest we waited for any attraction was about 35 minutes for Snow White.
- There is no eating or drinking while waiting in line for an attraction.
- Make sure to stay spaced by using the dedicated markers in line to be respectful of the 6ft rules and other guests.
- There are no fast passes right now.
- Virtual queues are being used for Rise of Resistance. Disneyland has been testing virtual queues for Indiana Jones so virtual queues may be used for this attraction depending on the demand for this ride.
Rise of Resistance
This might be my favorite ride at Disneyland…well one of them. You will need to virtually get a boarding group to ride this attraction.
To get a boarding group you have 2 chances if you are starting your day in Disneyland.
7 Am and 12 Pm
You need to have a valid theme park ticket and reservation for that day.
For the 7 am release you do not need to be inside the park, but like before you must be on the app right away to get a boarding group. All of the 7 am Boarding groups were gone in only a few minutes. If you miss getting a boarding group at 7 AM you can try again at 12 PM. If you happen to be using a park hopper ticket and start your day in California Adventure your only opportunity to get in a boarding group will be at the 12 PM release. I will link my previous blog HERE which shows exactly how to get a Rise of The Resistance Boarding Group.
With Indiana Jones, the process for getting a ticket is similar to Rise of the Resistance. We have heard that if go straight to Indiana Jones that the standby line is sometimes available. As demand for the ride increases, they transition to a virtual queuing system. If you see that there is a virtual queue in place make sure to get into a boarding group because time slots go quickly after moving to the virtual queuing. SO make sure to get into the virtual Queues if you see them available and be sure to check if other rides are adding the virtual Queue.
Marvel Avengers Campus will be opening on June 4 which I am so excited to see. The Spider-Man ride will also have a virtual Queue, and you cannot hold a pass for both Rise of the Resistance AND Spider-Man ride at the same time.
Health and safety
Disney did a great job at following guidelines and creating systems to keep guests and cast members safe.
They have designated eating and drinking areas throughout the park with tables and benches spaced far apart from others.
They have handwashing stations all over as well as hand sanitizer that was easily accessed.
Cast members are cleaning tables and chairs between each party at most locations
Bathrooms were constantly being cleaned and closed several times throughout the day for deep cleaning. Be mindful that IF you have to use the bathroom do not wait until the last minute because the closest restroom may be closed for deep cleaning. Kevin and I both noticed that what used to be typically crowded or busy bathrooms were almost always empty and we never found ourselves standing in line to use the restroom. This may not always be the case but thought it was very interesting that we never had to wait to use a restroom.
Make sure you take breaks to hydrate. You can get cups of water from quick-service restaurants throughout both parks but I recommend bringing reusable water bottles and filling them with ice and keeping cold water with you at all times. They do have water refill stations throughout the parks as well.
A Few More Reminders
Be patient. Follow the rules. This is an adjustment for everyone, including cast members. Know the rules before, expect to have some things not go as planned, and be ready to go with the flow. You are in Disneyland…things might not go exactly how you want but everyone is doing their best. Following the rules, being respectful, and being kind to others make it so much easier and enjoyable for everyone involved.
Even though the parks feel empty with the lowered capacity, I found you still can’t get everything done. Make sure to prioritize your time, do what you really want to do first, and don’t wait to do your must-do rides until the end of tonight. If you really want to go on a certain ride, do it first.
Shopping can get very crowded and busy towards the end of the night. The lines can get long to get into other stores. If you can, shop earlier in the day. With no lockers, you may need to carry it, otherwise, be prepared to wait for a while in line at the end of the night because they have limited capacity in stores as well.
Things take longer because you can not snack while you walk around or in line. Scheduling times to eat, sit down and not be on the go is key. Like I said you might not be able to do it all, so get the snacks, EAT THE FOODS AND RIDE THE RIDES THAT YOU WANT MOST FIRST!! The park may also seem more crowded but remember, everyone is outside, the lines are all outside. They cannot have as many people in the shops, in indoor lines, or indoor dining…as of now. It may look like a lot of people or that it is getting crowded but for the most part, those long lines move pretty quickly.
There are no parades, nighttime shows, or character dining right now. I will try to keep you posted when these do come back or when they become available.
Take time to sit, rest and take it all in. The magic is back, and even if things might look and feel different- you are still in the Happiest Place on Earth- so take it all in!
I hope these tips help you plan your magical trip back to the happiest place on Earth. The gates are open and I am not so sad anymore and I cannot wait to get back for my next visit.
If you have questions, need help leave a comment down below I would love to help in any way that I can.
As I mentioned, I love getting tickets with GetAway Today, you can get discounted tickets and probably get them as a packaged deal with your hotel if you like.
In terms of Hotels, Kevin and I have been staying at the newly renovated Howard Johnson which is right across the street. It is less than a 10-minute walk to the gates and I highly recommend it.
GetAway Today for discounted Theme Park Tickets and Hotel Packages – HERE
Book Directly with the Newly Renovated Howard Johnson Anaheim – HERE
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