We have good news (ribbit!) and we have bad news (croak). The good news is that Downtown Disney reopened July 9. It felt so good getting close to those Disneyland gates again! The bad news is that Disneyland did not receive government guidelines for reopening the theme parks in time to open for Disneyland Park's 65th birthday July 17. We promise to update this post with the good news and new reopening date as soon as we hear it. We expect to hear more news soon. In the meantime, here is everything you need to know and what you can expect from the phased Disneyland reopening. Hop down to Downtown Disney District Reopening to see all the restaurants and shops that will be open initially.
Disneyland Reopening Dates and Details
Let's get down to business. Disneyland is opening in phases. Here are the proposed reopening dates:
July 9 — The Downtown Disney District reopened.
To open at a later date — Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, Disney's Paradise Pier, the Disney Vacation Club Villas at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and Disneyland Hotel.
To open at a later date — Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Parks
Opening at a later date than other hotels — Disneyland Hotel.
While we are literally jumping with anticipation for the parks to reopen, we know that the parks will look a little different for some time due to COVID-19. In order to promote social distancing, park capacity, parking and experiences will be limited. Operating hours may also be limited.
Not all experiences will be returning right away. Large shows, parades and character meet and greets will be temporarily unavailable at Disneyland. Instead, we can expect new ways to be entertained and delighted by characters in the parks. We have enjoyed catching a glimpse of the character cavalcades, boat trips and even horseback rides at the Disney World reopening, and we cannot wait to see what fun the characters will be up to at Disneyland.
New Disneyland Theme Park Reservation System
Out of all the changes we will have to get used to (such as wearing masks, practicing social distancing and doing without some of our favorite shows, parades and character hugs), possibly not getting in to visit the parks is the most stressful part. In order to comply with government requirements and promote physical distancing, Disneyland has to limit attendance. The only way to prevent too many people from showing up is to implement a new theme park reservation system.
Park admission is not guaranteed. All guests — including Annual Passholders (APs) — must acquire an advance reservation for park entry. The system is not in place yet, so keep hopping back for updates. In the meantime, Disneyland has paused new ticket sales and AP sales or renewals. Already have tickets or an annual pass? Be sure to link any existing tickets to your account in the Disneyland app so you'll be prepared to make a reservation when the time comes. Hop back for details!
Disneyland Resort Safety Measures
All of the changes we can expect are in the interest of safety, cleanliness, physical distancing and reduced contact. Disneyland wants to protect cast members and guests from COVID-19. If you want to visit Disneyland in this time, you will have to come to terms with these temporary changes. Many of the changes come from local and state governments, health experts and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The Disneyland site says that the reopening approach is deliberately fluid and phased because the COVID-19 situation is constantly evolving. Don't worry: We'll keep you updated through the changes!
Once you enter the parks, look for some guidance from The Incredibles to offer super tips for your role in staying healthy and preventing the spread of germs in the theme parks. Here's a quick look at enhanced health and safety measures, as well as what to expect during Disneyland's reopening period:
Phased reopening: Expect a gradual reopening and/or partial reopening of certain locations. Retail and dining locations in Downtown Disney opened prior to the theme parks.
Enhanced protective measures: Face coverings are mandatory for cast members and guests (ages 2 and up), with additional hand-washing stations and physical barriers, where appropriate.
Guest Experience Team: Keep an eye out for the new Guest Experience Team. Their job is to engage with guests and remind them to comply with all the new health and safety protocols. They are there to help guests follow the rules.
Temperature screenings: All cast members and park guests undergo temperature screenings prior to entering Downtown Disney and the theme parks. Cast members will have their temperature checked daily.
Enhanced security measures: After the contactless temperature screening, you will carry bags by your side or place them in your stroller for the K9 screening. The dogs may sniff your bags, and you are to continue to walk through unless told otherwise. The security screeners are separated from you by a plexiglass barrier. You will unzip and open bags for them to visually inspect. Then you will place bags on the table next to the metal detector and slide them forward before you pass through the metal detector.
Capacity measures: Advance reservations through a new theme park reservation system are required to visit the parks during the phased reopening.
Physical distancing measures: Disneyland has implemented physical distancing guidelines based on guidance from health authorities and the government. Technology may aid in these efforts, such as the Play Disney Parks App, Mobile Ordering and virtual queues. The parks have increased education and signage to direct guests on physical distancing in terms of where to sit or stand. The parks will temporarily suspend fireworks, parades and entertainment that allows crowds to gather. Expect spacing in queues and in ride vehicles. Character meet and greets will remain temporarily unavailable.
Limited-contact enhancements: Disneyland is encouraging cashless transactions and will reduce interactions between cast members and guests through the use of technology and other measures. You can expect contactless payments and expanded Mobile Ordering in the Disneyland app. Plexiglass partitions can add separation. Expect temporary closures of play areas. We've seen self-pay parking stations being installed near the Downtown Disney Simba lot (although parking remains free for a limited time).
Enhanced cleanliness and sanitization: You'll see increased cleaning and disinfection around the resort, especially for high-contact areas. You'll see increased sanitizing of ride vehicles.
Cast training: Disneyland is providing new training and reinforcement to emphasize a strong culture of health and safety among cast members.
Once Disneyland is closer to reopening, Disneyland will share more specific details on what to expect in terms of security changes, temperature checks, face masks, virtual queues and new restrictions on rides. In the meantime, here's what you can do to practice good health and wellness in theme parks.
Disneyland has added a COVID-19 warning to its site. It says:
"An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, senior citizens, and guests with underlying medial conditions are especially vulnerable."
All guests and employees must wear face coverings, such as masks. The facial coverings must cover the nose and mouth and fit snugly against the sides of the face. The covering must be secured with ties or ear loops. Gaiter-syle coverings, open-chin triangle bandanas, and face coverings containing valves, mesh material or holes of any kind are not allowed. Guests may remove masks to eat or drink when stationary. Signs and cast members will remind guests to follow the social distancing guidelines and wear a facial covering. If you somehow forget your mask, you can purchase a disposable mask from a vending machine for $2, so you can get into Downtown Disney. You can purchase Disney themed cloth masks at World of Disney and likely other locations once the parks reopen.
We've hopped about some of the Orlando theme parks as they reopen and have developed some tips for wearing masks at the theme parks. Sorry, those costume masks are not going to cut it. You have to follow the attire guidelines. You CAN, however, match your mask to your DisneyBound or outfit. Pair the mask with ears or a Disney shirt. Have fun with it, and make sure your face covering is roller coaster ready. Better bring a spare or two just in case! On hot days, masks can make your face get pretty sweaty, so it's nice to have a clean, dry mask to change into.
We've asked about masks for people with disabilities at Disney World (we do not know if this will differ at Disneyland). There are no exceptions for people ages 2 and up; masks are required for all guests at this time.
Downtown Disney District Reopening
The walking, shopping, dining and entertainment district that connects parking, hotels and the theme parks was the first thing to reopen at the Disneyland Resort. Downtown Disney is now open! Hop over to our guide to Downtown Disney at Disneyland to get a sense of the dining and fun to be had there.
Of course, Downtown Disney is operating with capacity measures in place, as well as limitations on parking and operating hours. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday through Sunday; however, individual locations may have different hours. Here's what you need to know before you go:
- Wear that mask (ears are optional)! Face coverings are required for guests, cast members and employees.
- Self-park in the Simba Lot (free for a limited time) or walk from Harbor Blvd.
- The Harbor Blvd. entrance is less crowded.
- Simba Lot is subject to closures to limit capacity. If parking is closed, and you cannot wait to get in, you can park at Garden Walk ($3/hour) and walk 10 minutes to the Harbor Blvd. entrance.
- Get dropped off to save time.
- Rideshare drop-off areas are at the Harbor Blvd. guest drop-off and pick-up location and at the Downtown Disney District guest drop-off and pick-up location on Downtown Drive.
- You'll be subjected to a temperature screening. Guests with a temperature 100.4 F or above and their party will not be allowed to enter.
- A plexiglass barrier separates guests from security bag screeners.
- Ground markings and physical barriers will promote social distancing.
- Cashless payment is recommended.
- Operating hours of each vendor may vary.
- Expect an increased focus on cleaning and sanitation with cleaning procedures in high-traffic areas such as handrails, benches, tables, handles, restrooms and more.
- Note the hand-washing stations and hand sanitizers in key areas.
- Keep an eye out for the new Guest Experience Team to explain new safety rules, answer questions and encourage guests to comply with the new rules.
- Join virtual queues (if offered) for World of Disney and Marceline's Confectionary right away. Provide your cell and name to receive a text when it's time to check in.
- Weekdays are less crowded than weekends.
Downtown Disney District Dining
Dining locations incorporate enhanced health and safety measures, including physical distancing, the use of appropriate face coverings by employees, cast members and guests, and increased cleaning procedures and limited contact. To promote physical distancing and touchless transactions, you'll see a number of changes to dining locations, including:
- Increased outdoor patio-style seating available at select locations.
- Very limited indoor dining.
- Parties seated at tables 6 feet apart.
- Digital or single-use menus available at many locations.
- Reservations for some table-service restaurants (Naples is using Open Table).
- People with proof of dining reservations may still get into the Simba parking lot even if the lot is closed for capacity.
- Physical barriers in select places where it is difficult to maintain physical distancing guidelines).
- Encouragement of cashless transactions — bring credit cards, debit cards, gift cards and mobile wallet options.
- Some dining locations use their own reservations system or virtual wait list.
- The entire party must be present before seating.
Here is a look at the restaurants that are open during the Downtown Disney reopening:
- Asian Street Eats
- Ballast Point
- Black Tap Craft Burgers & Shakes
- California Churro
- Earl of Sandwich
- Kayla’s Cakes
- La Brea Bakery Café
- Naples Ristorante e Bar
- Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen
- Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen Express
- Salt & Straw
- Starbucks West
- Tortilla Jo's
- Uva Bar & Cafe
- Wetzel’s Pretzels
- Wetzel’s Diggity Dog
Table-service locations may require reservations. Check with each individual location to confirm their reservation process. All members of a party must be present before seating, and hosts must bring the entire party to the table at one time. During the reopening, Orange County bars are closed, as well as indoor dining, so all restaurant seating is outside only. Additional outdoor seating has been added. Alcohol will only be served with food purchases.
Downtown Disney Shopping
Here's a look at the open shops:
- California Sole
- Curl Surf
- Disney Dress Shop
- Disney Home (may use a virtual queue)
- Disney’s Pin Traders
- LEGO Store (may use a virtual queue)
- Marceline’s Confectionery (may use a mobile wait list if lines get long)
- Pandora Jewelry
- Pressed Coin Machines
- Rinse Bath & Body Co.
- Sugarboo & Co.
- Sunglass Icon
- WonderGround Gallery (temporarily a Star Wars Trading Post with shipments from Batuu)
- World of Disney (may use a mobile wait list and dressing rooms are closed)
At times, you may make a reservation to do some Disney shopping in Downtown Disney. You can make an online reservation at the Disneyland site to purchase featured products in the former ESPN Zone.
What's Not Reopening Yet
The following experiences remain closed for now:
- La Brea Bakery Express
- Napolini Pizzeria
- Splitsville Luxury Lanes (bowling alleys are not permitted to reopen in Orange County yet)
- Taqueria at Tortilla Jo's
- The Void virtual reality experience (may be permanently closed)
Reopening of Disneyland Hotels
The Disneyland Resort hotels will remain closed and open at a later date. Disney's Paradise Pier, Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and the Disney Vacation Club Villas at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa were set to reopen July 23. But the Disneyland site now says they will remain closed and reopen at a later date, pending state and local government approvals. The Disneyland Hotel was originally set to reopen at an even later date.
Disneyland Dining Updates
Disneyland has not yet announced any changes to the Disneyland Dining Reservations system for the resort as a whole. We expect Disneyland character dining to be modified or unavailable for some time. We've tried to make a reservation and the system does not seem to be taking reservations ... at the moment. Being that you need a reservation to visit a park, we expect there will be some changes to come in terms of in-park dining reservations.
Expect to use Mobile Order via the Disneyland app at quick-service restaurants to reduce contact and reduce the transfer of cash. The system may be expanding to take different types of payment besides credit card, so that would be a definite improvement!
Are you excited about Disneyland reopening? Once ticket sales reopen, you can purchase your multi-day discount Disneyland Resort tickets through Undercover Tourist. You can also book discounted hotels, including the Disneyland Resort hotels and offsite hotels near Disneyland.