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The gates of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure will reopen on April 30, and while there’s no doubt the parks will be as magical as ever, there will also be new procedures that clients need to navigate before they can return to the Happiest Place on Earth.
“The day all of us have long been waiting for is almost here,” said Ken Potrock, president of the Disneyland Resort, last month in a statement. “We’re excited to welcome our guests back to this happy place.”
Bob Chapek, CEO of The Walt Disney Company, noted that there’s been no shortage of demand for reopening the California parks, and he expects guests will be even more confident about returning as more people become vaccinated against COVID-19.
“We’ve gotten pretty good at operating in a ‘COVID-19 world’ … where we can maintain the guest experience, have everyone have a wonderful time, and operate safely,” he said.
The most notable change to the Disneyland experience is that both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure will be using a new reservation system to manage guest capacity. Agents should also note that theme park reservations will be available online, in advance, for a specific date and are subject to availability. In addition, under current state guidelines, only California residents can visit the parks — and only in groups of three households or fewer.
“My clients are so excited to get back to Disneyland,” said Heather Coursen of MEI-Travel in Burbank, Calif. “I think because the new Park Pass system hasn't been done at Disneyland yet, there's a bit of hesitation at the unknown. But so far, I haven't seen it deterring anyone from visiting. If anything, it's made them all the more anxious to get their tickets ASAP so they can hopefully get those reservations booked for the first few weeks of reopening.”
Before they can enter either park, all guests ages 3 and up will need both a reservation and a valid theme park admission ticket for the same park on the same date (face coverings will be required for guests ages 2 years old and up). Guests with multi-day tickets need to make a separate reservation for each day they plan to visit the theme parks.
Clients who currently hold a one-day theme park ticket can check available days beginning April 9; however, the theme park reservation system will launch no earlier than 8 a.m. Pacific Time on April 12. At that point, clients with existing valid theme park tickets can begin making park reservations for the day(s) their ticket is valid. New theme park ticket sales will resume no earlier than 8 a.m. Pacific Time on April 15. Clients will need to link their valid theme park tickets in their Disney account before accessing the park reservation system.
“No one seems to be concerned that the capacity is limited,” said Lauren Eaker of Etiwanda Travel in Fontana, Calif. “I think the reservation requirement is a definite ‘pro,’ as this cuts down on the traffic of people trying to get into parks or having to wait in lines the day of. All in all, the discussion is a positive one at this time.”
I think the reservation requirement is a definite ‘pro,’ as this cuts down on the traffic of people trying to get into parks or having to wait in lines the day of.
Park hopping will be available for clients who have purchased Park Hopper tickets; however, “hopping” is not available until after 1:00 p.m. on any given day.
When making theme park reservations, guests with Park Hopper tickets will need to choose which theme park they wish to start their day in (pending availability), and then will be able to visit the other park beginning at 1:00 p.m. on that day.
Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa is scheduled to reopen April 29 (with reduced capacity); The Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa is scheduled to open for Disney Vacation Club Members beginning May 2. Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel and the Disneyland Hotel will reopen at a later date.
Hotel reservations for Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa will be available starting April 15 for stays beginning April 29; however, a hotel stay does not guarantee a park reservation. Clients who are planning to stay at Disney’s Grand Californian will also need to make theme park reservations — and according to Michael Ramirez, public relations director for Disneyland Resort, travelers should make theme park reservations before making hotel reservations.
- Daily park hours for Disneyland park and Disney California Adventure park are currently planned to be from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Theme park parking will be available at the Mickey & Friends and Pixar Pals parking structures.
- The contactless and cashless mobile order service on the Disneyland App makes it easy to order and pay at most quick-service restaurants inside the theme parks.
- Dining bookings will be available for select locations beginning on April 22, with limited capacity. Dining can be booked 60 days in advance online.
- Experiences that draw crowds — such as parades and nighttime spectaculars — will return at a later date, but favorite Disney and Pixar characters will greet guests in new physically distanced ways (and may even pop up in unexpected places).
The DetailsDisneyland Resortwww.disneyland.disney.go.com