I was invited to attend the Disneyland reopening. All opinions are my own.
The magic is back! The magic is here. To say I was excited to be invited to the Disneyland reopening on April 30th is an understatement. We have been patiently waiting for more than a year to be back at Disneyland. Literally a week or two before we received our invitation, my kids were reminiscing about all their favorite things at Disneyland and talking about how much they miss it. Prior to the closure, we had visited only a week before and got to experience the Magic Happens parade. Some of our fondest memories in the parks happened right before the closure, so we were beyond excited to be back.
As we walked through the gates on re-opening day, I was so overcome with emotion. I actually teared up as we saw all of the Disneyland staff waving at us and saying ‘welcome home’. It truly did feel like a very special homecoming. Since we moved to Los Angeles in 2018, Disneyland has become like a second home for us. It’s the few days in the year where we all feel truly joyous and it is magical family time that I don’t take for granted.
What to Expect at the Disneyland Reopening
1. Be Prepared to Walk A Lot
One of the most unexpected things about the reopening is that they are not currently offering the tram service from the parking lots. During the entire day, we walked over 23,000 steps. I would anticipate the walk from the parking lot to the entrance was about a mile or a mile and a half. Thus, make sure to wear comfortable shoes and if you have younger children, definitely bring a stroller.
2. Download the Disneyland App
The Disneyland app is really important for your time at Disneyland because you will need the app to be able to pre-order food and also reserve some of your rides, such as the rise of the resistance. Plus, it’s so easy to have your tickets linked directly in the app so you can go between the two parks. The app is also great if you have any of the Disneyland photographers take your pictures because the photos will be saved directly in the appl. There is also an interactive map that shows you the wait times for the rides, which is super helpful to avoid longer lines.
3. Pre-Order Your Meals
Disneyland is offering contactless dining so all of your meal orders can be placed directly in the app. When your meal is ready, the app alerts you and you can pick it up. The entire contactless dining experience was so convenient and simple to use. We ordered our lunch and our snacks through the app and the entire process was a breeze. You can also reserve seated dining through the app. The reservation system opens at 7 am on the day of your attendance. Unfortunately, we missed this window so we didn’t get any of the seating dinings. However, we did still enjoy the fast-casual dining near the Autopia ride.
4. What to Expect for Rides
Because the parks are only allowed to have 25% capacity right now, that means the lines for rides are generally very short. For example, there was literally zero lines for us to ride the Incredicoaster. It was our first time on this ride, now that Gigi is tall enough, so it was pretty exciting not to have to wait at all. Space Mountain is another one that had absolutely no wait. It was so amazing to get to walk on rides so easily.
During the year’s closure, the Snow White ride was renovated. If you want to visit this ride, I would suggest you make sure to get in line for this one before 1 pm when people from California Adventure are allowed to come over to Disneyland. We mistakenly did not make it to this ride in the morning, and by the afternoon, the line was so long, we chose not to wait. Given that there were hardly any lines anywhere else, we just couldn’t bring ourselves to miss out on all of the other great rides to stand in line. We will definitely check this one out the next time we visit.
Rise of the Resistance
This is the one ride that requires a virtual queue. This must also be done in the Disneyland app. The first time to gain access to the queue is at 7 am. We weren’t aware of that, so the next virtual queue was at 12 pm. Luckily, we were wait-listed during that second period. The app informed us that we would be notified if a slot opened. At 4:45 pm we got a notice that our ride time would be 5:46, so we were able to finally ride the Rise of the Resistance! Let me tell you, it was totally worth the effort. This was such a fun multi-part ride. I never knew what was coming next, and it was a really fun, immersive experience. It might even be my new favorite ride at Disneyland.
5. How to Meet Disney Characters
One thing I was really curious about with Disneyland reopening is how they were going to handle the character greetings – one thing my kids truly love. Although there are no close-contact meet-and-greets with Disney characters, you can still see and take photos with your favorite characters. They have the characters on roped-off stages so that you can still take great photos but the characters are a safe distance away. I was surprised by how many characters I saw. We met Jack Sparrow, saw two different Mickey and Minnie characters, Goofy, Pluto, and more. As you can see above, we still got a great shot with Mickey, even though the kids were sad they couldn’t hug him.
6. Other Disneyland COVID Safety Protocols
Masks are required at all times, except for while sitting to eat in designated dining areas. I would personally suggest that you bring an extra mask for each family member, just in case you lose one. They are selling Disneyland masks, if you happen to misplace yours.
Hand Sanitizing Stations
There were hand sanitizing stations all over the park.
Many of the lines in the rides and even within some of the rides there are plexiglass dividers to ensure proper social distancing. All of the eating establishments also have additional screens for protection.
Taped Off Social Distancing
Each of the rides and lines to enter the park had clear designations for social distancing.
7. California Residency Requirements
At least for now, Disneyland reopening is only open to California residents. Several people have asked me how Disneyland is verifying this. First of all, all tickets must be reserved online. Thus, you would need an in-state billing address to reserve your tickets. I’ve also read that Disneyland is using geo-coding and other online security systems to ensure the person purchasing the tickets is, in fact, in the state. I’ve also read that Disneyland may require proof of identity either by seeing your state-issued CA identification, or other proof of residence, such as an electric bill.
Overall, we had the most amazing time at the Disneyland reopening. We are so glad that they have reopened and we can’t wait to go back! If you have any questions about what to expect, please leave me a comment and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!