After a year-long closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the “Happiest Place on Earth” is re-opening. Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park will re-open at 15% capacity on April 30, 2021. Ticket reservations are available now.
Unfortunately, the experience is going to be different from what you remember. Thanks to COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines, the world of Mickey Mouse and his friends may bear little resemblance to your happy memories.
If you’ll be staying onsite or simply visiting the Disneyland Resort (which includes the popular Downtown Disney district), you’ll soon notice a few changes. There will be temperature screenings, face mask requirements (except when eating or drinking), and other changes intended to promote social distancing and reduce contact.
So, what can you no longer do at these parks and what do you need to know going in? We’ve got the full story on what you can expect.
No more FastPass
As fun as Disneyland rides are, they usually involve a long wait. To combat this, Disney had previously introduced the FastPass system. FastPasses let guests access certain rides without waiting in a long line.
Unfortunately, all of the FastPass options (including the standard FastPass, and the MaxPass) have been suspended. And if you were planning on using the Single Rider line option to cut down you’re wait time, you’re out of luck. Disney is suspending that option as well.
You won’t be able to meet Mickey
The magic of Disneyland was never limited to just the famous rides. On top of those attractions, visitors to the park could enjoy things like amazing parades and breathtaking fireworks shows.
Sadly, these events have been temporarily suspended to help encourage guests to practice social distancing. And this is also why the different character experiences (where fans can meet their favorite characters) have also been temporarily suspended.
New reservation system
Earlier, we touched on the fact that Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park will be limited to a 15% capacity when they first re-open. In order to enforce this, the parks have introduced a new reservation system.
For guests who are three years old and older, having a ticket is no longer the only requirement to entering the park. After you have a ticket, you need to access the new online reservation system to verify which park you will be visiting.
This helps Disney keep track of how many guests are in different locations, allowing them to keep attendance under the reduced capacity. But what if you have a Park Hopper ticket? You can still take advantage of it after 1 p.m., though you’ll need a reservation for both parks before entering.
Only California residents can attend for now
In addition to the reduced capacity, there is one really major attendance restriction in place. Only California residents will be able to visit these parks, and Disney may require proof of residency before you purchase a ticket. This is on top of another unique restriction saying that groups of guests must be limited to no more than three households.
This is bad news for those outside of California who want to plan a Disneyland vacation. However, this particular restriction may not last long. Once California’s economy fully re-opens, Disney can do away with those restrictions. That could happen as early as June 15, but there is no way to guarantee such a date at this time.
The bad news for California residents and other regular visitors is that Disneyland has suspended its annual pass program. And those who are staying onsite at one of the Disneyland Resort hotels will not be able to enjoy Extra Magic Hours at night or the Magic Morning when they wake up. These extra park hours are temporarily suspended while Disney tries to manage park capacity.
Certain rides and attractions will be closed
It’s bad enough that the fireworks and parades are temporarily suspended. But California residents visiting the parks will soon notice that certain rides and other attractions are remaining closed for now.
The reason they are remaining closed is simple. California’s very specific rules about re-opening theme parks specify that these attractions must be limited to 15 minutes indoors. So, any ride that lasts longer than that (including guests waiting in line inside before riding) must remain closed. Some attractions are also closed simply due to refurbishing.
Disneyland rides and attractions closed on April 30:
- Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
- Chip ’n Dale Treehouse
- Davey Crocket’s Explorer Canoes
- Disneyland Monorail
- Donald’s Boat
- Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage
- Frontierland Shootin’ Exposition
- Goofy’s Playhouse
- Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln
- Jungle Cruise
- Main Street Cinema
- Matterhorn Bobsleds
- Mickey’s House
- Minnie’s House
- Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island
- Sailing Ship Columbia
- Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough
- Star Wars Launch Bay
- Storybook Land Canal Boats
Disney California Adventure rides and attractions closed on April 30:
- Animation Academy
- The Bakery Tour
- Golden Zephyr
- Grizzly River Run
- The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure
- Red Car Trolley
- Redwood Creek Challenge Trail
- Sorcerer’s Workshop
- Walt Disney Imagineering Blue Sky Cellar
You’ll spend most of your wait time outdoors
Because of that 15-minute rule, there is another major change you can expect. There will be a whole lot of waiting in line outside!
Previously, popular rides such as Space Mountain would allow guests to beat the heat and queue up inside. And guests only had to wait outside if the inside queue had too many people.
Now, rides are going to limit the amount of time you can queue indoors in order to follow restrictions. So, make sure you have enough water and anything else you need to fight the high temperatures outside!
Limited dining options
One thing frequent Disneyland visitors love to gush about is the awesome food. And while many of your favorite restaurants and other dining options will re-open, the experience is going to be very different.
First of all, the restaurants that will be open will have a lower seating capacity. This makes it safer to dine in but may make it harder for you to get a reservation. And there will be no character dining experiences for the foreseeable future. This is a big change from the way things were before.
Secondly, Disney is really encouraging guests to start using the Disneyland app to streamline dining experiences. Not only can you use the app to make restaurant reservations starting on April 22, but you can use it to order food from quick-service eateries throughout the park. This is the safer option because it reduces how much you are interacting with the staff while COVID-19 is still an active threat.
Ultimately, the best way to dine at Disneyland is to make your plans in advance. Try to order from quick-service places about an hour ahead of time and make restaurant reservations as soon as you can to avoid a long wait for your favorite food.
Disneyland restaurants closed on April 30:
- Alien Pizza Planet
- Blue Bayou Restaurant
- Carnation Cafe
- Daisy’s Diner
- Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo
- Edelweiss Snacks
- The Golden Horseshoe
- Harbour Galley
- Kat Settle’s Kettle
- Maurice’s Treats
- Oga’s Cantina
- Pluto’s Dog House
- Rancho del Zocalo
- Refreshment Corner
- Royal Street Veranda
- Tiki Juice Bar
- Troubadour Tavern
Disney California Adventure restaurants closed on April 30:
- Bayside Brews
- Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta
- Carthay Circle’s indoor dining
- Clarabelle’s Hand-Scooped Ice Cream
- Corn Dog Castle
- Fillmore’s Taste-In
- Jack-Jack Cookie Num Nums
- Lucky Fortune Cookery
- Mendocino Terrace
- Pacific Wharf Cafe
- Paradise Garden Grill
- Señor Buzz Churros
- Wine Country Trattoria