Disneyland Resort has reopened after more than one year of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the experience has been altered to account for social distancing, the Disney magic is still in full force. Masks are mandatory; temperatures are checked, and reservations are needed, but the Happiest Place on Earth still delivers a healthy dose of theme park fun.
To some, the new procedures, including capacity limits, are driving interest. Currently, both Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure are operating at limited capacity. This means fewer crowds and shorter wait times—two things that are intriguing many guests.
There are a few things that visitors should be prepared for when they are going to the parks that are much different than before, such as being prepared to walk to and from the parking lots and having some backup battery power for cell phones—the app is one of the most important tools visitors will need to have in order to navigate the park, order food and jump into the Rise of the Resistance virtual queue.
While visiting for the April 30 grand reopening, TravelPulse spoke to Tiffanie Sojourner of PlanDisney to find out some of the best ways to navigate the “new normal” in the Disneyland Resort. One of Sojourner’s top tips was to download the app.
“You can check availability for purchasing tickets, you can see the schedule and then when you get here, you can check wait times and you can use mobile order,” she said.
Mobile ordering is encouraged within the parks to avoid crowded eateries and restaurants but wait times can be long so Sojourner recommends ordering well in advance.
The app gives guests the ability to select their desired time frame for food pickup, and visitors who know what they want ahead of time can order when they arrive in the park for meals throughout the day.
“The app will have the time slot for the soonest available but you can select ‘more times’ and choose the time that fits,” she said.
Sojourner also highlighted the app’s map feature, which defaults to display wait times at rides but also shows where there are restaurants, restrooms and more.
“Using the drop-down features on that map is wonderful,” she said. “You can pinpoint what you are looking for and it will filter the map to show you.”
Some restaurants also take reservations, which guests can make via the app as well. If there are no spots available for a selected time, Sojourner pointed out that some restaurants take walk-ups, and visitors can ask if there are any available.
“I think it’s important to plan meal times. If at all possible, I suggest planning when restaurants are not busy,” said Sojourner.
She noted that because of social distancing, seating will be easier to find at off-peak hours.
For those visiting the parks—with little kids, especially—Sojourner recommends starting at Disneyland and enjoying the rides for younger children first and then heading over to California Adventure if you have park hopper tickets.
“I like to start at Disneyland and then hop over to California Adventure later in the day,” she said.
While the Disney experience does take a bit of planning in advance at the moment, the Disney magic is on full display throughout the park. Guests can look forward to fun character sightings with Mickey, Minnie and all their friends. Guests can visit with Disney princesses in Fantasy Faire. Most rides are operating, and lines hover around the 30-minute mark for wait times on the most popular attractions such as Space Mountain and the Haunted Mansion.
There are a couple of things that are not available at the moment. One convenience that many people are missing is the tram to and from the parking structures. There are also no fastpasses available right now; however, limited capacity means that lines are not too long.
Park hopping is also slightly different. When making a park hopper reservation, guests need to choose the park they wish to start their day in and then can move to the other park starting at 1 p.m.
Currently, the park is only open to California residents. Tickets must be purchased online in advance, and a reservation needs to be made for the date or dates a guest would like to visit.
One exciting announcement that came just days before the reopening was news that a brand-new Annual Pass option could be introduced by the end of the year.
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