What a few weeks! As the world chugs along, slowly reopening or at least planning to reopen, it is great to see some Disney News. Your ConciEARS family watch with bated breath like everyone else, wishing we had some extra-special, behind-the-scenes knowledge. We don’t have that, but we do have some insight on what you and your family can expect in the next few weeks!
Here is what we know as of the morning of April 5th!
The time is finally here! Disneyland is set to reopen in just a few weeks on April 30th. And that’s most of what we know.
Disney has not yet released information on how to purchase tickets as yet. You probably know that the Annual Passport program was discontinued earlier this year, likely to allow Disney some flexibility when the parks reopen. Initial reopening plans from the state would restrict Disneyland to 15% of its normal capacity. By the time the park opens, that could be upgraded if certain criteria are met along the way. Isn’t that the dream to be in Disneyland with so few other guests?
Ticket purchase guidelines are very specific. Disney will restrict the park to California residents at the start. Recent instructions state that guests will have to prove their party consists of three or fewer households. Sorry! You and your giant group of friends will not fit that bill.
Expect to see a reservation system, too. Disney World put one in place at the start of its reopening and they greatly improved it through trial and error. Disneyland is likely to be similar. Even if you have a ticket for the day, you will need to reserve your entrance to the park. There may even be a time component like the early days of Galaxy’s Edge. The one thing Disney made clear is that hotel reservations will not guarantee you a spot in the parks, unlike Disney World.
Speaking of hotels, where will you stay? If you are close enough, there is ample parking around Disneyland. Those coming from further away can spend the night at the Grand Californian Resort starting April 29th. Reservations open on April 15th. Disney Vacation Club members can book rooms in the resort’s villas for a May 2nd start date. Still no word on the Paradise Pier and Disneyland Hotels. Some of the Good Neighbor hotels around Anaheim remain open, but not all. Check with us first!
What Can We Do There?
California guidelines regulate the types of attractions Disney can open. It’s easy to imagine open-air rides like the Incredicoaster or the Mad Tea Party can open right away. The fully-enclosed dark rides like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride and Peter Pan’s Flight might have to wait a bit. What about Big Thunder Mountain Railroad or Radiator Springs Racing? Those have varying amounts of both indoor and outdoor activity. We’ll have to wait and see.
There will be no parades or fireworks at the start, just like Walt Disney World. You will find your favorite characters around the park, though! You will not be able to get up close and personal, but Mickey and his pals will be around, waving to their fans from a short distance.
We can look to Walt Disney World in Florida for examples. We know Disney requires guests wear very specific two-layer masks. No gaiters, no vents, no valves. They are not afraid to get bad press while they remove somebody from property. Want to take off that mask? Pull over with some food or drink and relax a bit. No more walking with a turkey leg or Dole Whip for now. Disney also requires temperature checks at park entrances, distancing while in line, and reduced restaurant capacity.
Getting in to the parks might look a bit different too. For those not using an Annual Passport, Disneyland has long been a paper ticket affair. Sure, they have a little magnetic stripe on them, but it’s no Magic Band.
Disney World unveiled a few different options in the last couple weeks. One involves a facial recognition pilot running through April 24th. Guests can opt into a different line at the park entrances where they receive a facial scan, sans hat and glasses but plus mask. Scan your Magic Band or park ticket and you are set for the rest of your stay. Not much else to say about this pilot for now, but it’s an interesting method of recognition even during these facial covering days.
The more obvious choice for Disneylanders is an addition to the My Disney Experience app. Disney World guests can now set up a virtual ticket inside their app. Customize the layout of your personal phone-based ticket and scan at the reader on your way in. Everybody (almost everybody) has a smart phone now, right? Let’s upgrade the tech here, Disney!
Even if this is not available for park entry, guests will want to have their Disneyland app updated and ready to go! Mobile ordering expanded to cover many of the dining options around the parks. In some locations, this will be the ONLY way to pick up food. Disney World reopened with this option and it greatly reduces the amount of people waiting in lines around food locations.
In Short . . .
Let’s round this up. What do we really know? Disneyland is opening at the end of April. Finally! If you live in California, you might be able to go there. Some restaurants will be open. You can ride some of the attractions. I bet you can buy merchandise, too!
That’s about it. Sorry to be so vague, but clearly Disney is working out details. Their rocky roll out of tickets to the Touch of Disney dining event in Disney California Adventure is evidence they still have some ticket sales issues to work on.
Your ConciEARS travel planning experts are here to work out the details so you don’t have to! We have plenty of experience creating plans for the Walt Disney World Resorts during the pandemic. We will stay on top of every Disneyland update too!
Give us a call or send a message today! We are excited to build the vacation of your dreams.