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Disneyland reopens April 30, 2021! The two amusement parks — Disneyland and Disney California Adventure park, both located in Anaheim, California — have been closed for more than a year. Here’s everything you need to know about the Disneyland reopening 2021 style.
Florida’s Walt Disney World reopened in mid-July 2020, armed with a solid safety plan that seems to have worked well for visitors. Meanwhile in California, Disneyland remained closed, awaiting guidance from the state of California. The only part of Disneyland that was able to reopen was the Downtown Disney District, Disneyland’s outdoor shopping and dining area, which includes a section of Disney California Adventure park.
However the amusement parks and rides remained closed, per orders of the state government. Orange County’s coronavirus numbers have been declining, which is good news for California and for the theme parks.
After a full year closed, Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek announced in mid-March that California had approved its reopening plan and that the theme parks would reopen on April 30, 2021.
Much of what worked for Disney World during its reopening is expected to be put into use during the 2021 Disneyland reopening. This article outlines some of these anticipated safety protocols and regulations.
TravelingMom Tip: Bookmark this post and return, as it will be updated regularly with the latest information on the Disneyland reopening.
What are the Rules for Disneyland Reopening 2021?
Travel changed dramatically in 2020 and Disneyland is changing too. Here are some of the ways visiting Disneyland in 2021 will be different:
- Park reservation system. Anyone holding a valid park ticket may make a Disneyland park reservation beginning April 12th.
- Advance ticket purchase. Disneyland will open for new ticket sales on April 15th.
- Locals Only. Reservations will be open only to California residents for now. Proof of residency will be required.
- Park Hopping. Will be available daily after 1 pm.
- Touchless temperature screenings before entry. If anyone in your traveling group displays a fever of 100.4 or higher, the entire group will be denied admission. Best to check temperatures yourself before you head to the parks!
- Face coverings (see next section for additional details).
- Physical distancing adjustments that may include Plexiglas barriers, directional markers, arrows, and notices to direct guests where to stand and sit (and where not to stand and sit). Expect to see and hear many reminders about allowing for more personal space between park guests.
- No walking while eating or drinking. Guests must be seated or stationary before they can remove their face covering to eat or drink.
Are Masks Required at Disneyland?
Both Disney World and Disneyland’s reopening guidelines stress that guests 2 years and up must wear face coverings at all times. This includes all public locations on property and in the parks.
And no more walking around eating that ice cream cone or sipping a soda. The minute you remove your face mask to eat or drink, you must be sitting at least six feet away from other groups.
Face masks are required at all other times, including while taking part in attractions and on rides, even when you’re taking pictures, including Disney PhotoPass. In fact, if someone in your group is not wearing a mask in a picture, the PhotoPass image will be deleted.
When are Masks Not Required at Disneyland?
Here are the people and occasions when it will OK not to wear a mask inside the Disneyland parks:
- Children under age 2, including babies and 1-year olds.
- While seated in a designated “relaxation station.” These are areas located throughout the parks that are designed for just this purpose — to let families take a break from their masks while maintaining physical distancing from other groups.
- While swimming at a Disneyland Resort hotel, while maintaining physical distancing from other hotel guests.
What Kind of Face Covering is Required at Disneyland?
Disneyland is also very specific on the type of facial covering that is permitted: no gaiters, costume masks, bandannas or masks with a valve or holes.
Face coverings must consist of 2 or more layers of breathable material that secures with a tie or ear loops.
They must fit snugly against the face to completely cover the nose, mouth and chin.
Who Will be Able to Get Tickets When Disneyland Reopens?
The popular Disneyland Annual Passholder program was “sunsetted,” with the promise of a new system to be announced. Passes were refunded to these newly named “Legacy Passholders.” This left many who continued to hold onto their passes throughout the closure without park tickets.
Some guests have held on to their unused Disneyland theme park tickets, hoping to use them upon reopening. Tickets that expired during the closure were extended. Those who hold a valid park ticket will be given the first opportunity to make their park reservations, April 12th.
All new Disneyland ticket sales were halted in 2020 and will resume on April 15th for California residents only. The reservation window will be open 60 days out. Guests with a multi-day ticket will be permitted to make multiple, separate reservations.
Where to Buy Disneyland Tickets
Traveling Mom recommends Get Away Today for discounted Disneyland tickets and vacation packages. Book your hotel reservations with Get Away Today now to lock in travel dates. When Disneyland ticket sales open, Get Away Today can add these to your hotel package.
Get Away Today also offers price monitoring and complimentary concierge service that’s invaluable to travelers during pandemic times. After you buy your tickets, someone from Get Away Today will reach out to answer any of your Disneyland vacation questions or help you create and book your itinerary.
Open to California Residents Only
Because the state of California still has travel restrictions for out-of-state visitors, only California residents will be allowed to visit Disneyland upon reopening.
It’s to be expected that the state will lift the out-of-state restriction at some point, but the date hasn’t been made public. We will update this section as soon as we hear more.
Will Reservations Be Required?
Yes, Disneyland will require a day reservation attached to each ticket. When Walt Disney World reopened in July 2020, it operated under a new reservation system called Disney Park Pass. A similar structure will be implemented at Disneyland to limit capacity at the parks and stay within state guidelines.
Both an advance park reservation and valid ticketed admission for the same park on the same date are required for anyone age 3 and up. Park Hopping between Disneyland and Disney California Adventure park will be allowed upon Disneyland reopening in 2021. This feature will open at 1 pm each day.
Due to the popularity of Disneyland with locals, it’s expected that theme park reservations will be a challenge to come by. This is especially true since no priority will be given to Legacy Passholders.
More Changes to Expect for Disneyland Reopening 2021
Similar to the Disney World changes for 2021, these are the modifications that guests should expect to see at Disneyland reopening 2021:
- Extremely limited capacity of guests allowed inside parks, to encourage physical distancing.
- Limited park hours (9 am to 7 pm)
- No Magic Morning or Extra Magic Hour.
- No FASTPASS and Disney MaxPass reservations at either Disneyland park.
- Slower load times on rides to allow cast members to clean seats, handles, railings and other high-touch areas between rides.
- Touchless transactions. Disneyland will encourage guests to use debit, credit and gift cards rather than cash for purchases and to use mobile ordering for quick service meals. You’ll be able to use gift cards to pay via the Disneyland app under a change to the system.
- Changes at some dining locations. Those would include buffets and Disney character dining experiences.
- Virtual ride queues. This could be similar to what was used for Rise of the Resistance at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, with guests securing their ride reservation via mobile device.
- No single rider queues.
- Physical distancing in ride vehicles including spacing between groups to separate parties.
What Will be Missing When Disneyland Reopens in 2021?
Certain attractions are likely to be missing during the Disneyland reopening 2021. While some of these haven’t been officially announced for California, it’s likely the Disneyland changes will mirror those at Walt Disney World, where some things still haven’t returned.
Here’s what we believe will be missing when Disneyland reopens:
- Attractions that generally draw large crowds. This may include parades, performances and indoor shows, fireworks and nighttime spectaculars (namely Fantasmic! and World of Color).
- Children’s play areas, including those in Mickey’s Toontown like Goofy’s Playhouse and the Gag Factory.
- High-touch features inside ride queues may be unavailable or temporarily removed.
- Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique make-overs.
- Intimate character meet ‘n greets including autographs and up-close photos ops. However this doesn’t mean you won’t still see your favorite Disney characters in and around the park! Surprisingly, socially distanced character greetings have been a highlight of the Disney World reopening. True, it’s not the same as giving Mickey a hug. But Disney has been very creative with the use of character cavalcades and unique ways for famous friends to say hello.
What Will Be NEW When Disneyland Reopens?
There will be a lot that is new when Disneyland reopens. While most of these adjustments are procedural, some are exciting changes everyone should be looking forward to!
Snow White’s Enchanted Wish
While Disneyland was closed, the company completed remodeling this Fantasyland attraction and it will be available for guests upon reopening.
Replacing Snow White’s Scary Adventures, this new dark ride promises a re-imagined look with updated technology and a happier ending.
Improved Mobile Ordering
I’m a huge fan of mobile ordering and glad to see that this time-saving Disneyland app has been expanded. More quick-service locations will be participating when Disneyland reopens in 2021.
And for the first time, guests will be able to use a gift card as payment! For Legacy Passholders that had their pass scanned into the Disneyland app, the applicable membership discount will still apply to dining purchases. The appropriate deduction is automatically taken during mobile ordering.
This new Disney California Adventure land is expected to open later in 2021, but no firm date has been given yet.
Experts are looking towards a grand opening in the early fall season for this highly anticipated Marvel-themed area.
Disneyland Resort Hotel Reopenings
In a phased reopening plan, not all of the Disneyland Resort hotels will be available immediately.
Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa plans to reopen on April 29th, 2021 with the Disney Vacation Club Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa following on May 2nd. Hotel reservations for the Grand Californian will open on April 15th.
Neither Disney’s Paradise Pier hotel or the Disneyland Hotel have announced a reopening date.