Oh hoppy day! Disneyland reopened April 30, 2021, after 412 days of closure. The Frog Family was there for this historic event and we've hopped back a few times since to stay on top of the changing situation. We are in frogciting times! Capacity is still limited via the theme park reservation system, but the parks have so much entertainment now. Almost every ride is open and Disney Genie is here as of Dec. 8, 2021! We still greet characters from a distance but are able to have a ton of spontaneous fun with them (find Undercover Tourist on TikTok to see what I'm talking about.)
Character cavalcades have been rolling through the park (now with dancers), and the Main Street Electrical Parade returns for its 50th birthday at some point in 2022. We are experiencing that Disney magic we all missed during the pandemic and temporary park closures, and it's toadally keeping us smiling. In more good news (especially for our flippers), the Monorail is back and parking trams return in Feb. 23, 2022. Fireworks returned last summer, and Fantasmic! (and World of Color at Disney California Adventure) returns in sping 2022!
What Is Disneyland Like Right Now?
We all have different comfort levels and health risks right now. But you should be aware that physical distancing is no longer regulated by the park. Ride vehicles are filled to capacity. However, Disneyland face covering policies are ever changing, so hop over to our mask policy post and our Disneyland reopening post for the latest information.
Disneyland is feeling a lot more like it did pre-pandemic. There are still a few differences though, the biggest one being that you still need to make a park reservation to visit. We have seen sad visitors being turned away at the turnstiles because they did not purchase tickets in advance or make a park reservation. It breaks our froggy hearts. So read on to learn what to know when visiting Disneyland right now. We update this post almost weekly to keep up with all of the changes.
The Disneyland Band, Pearly Band, Dapper Dans, Bootstrapers, Straw Hatters and more have returned! Even during this reopening period, Disneyland lives up to its nickname as "The Happiest Place on Earth!" Can we just say that we are loving the new fun character interactions? We love to catch characters playing in a grassy area near the hub. So fun!
Speaking of characters, character cavalcades appear daily on the parade route. You can generally catch them in the early afternoon at 12, 1:30 (for Mickey and pals), 3:10 and 4:10 for Frozen. The cavalcades run from Town Square to "it's a small world" or later in the opposite direction at times when there is not a parade. Check in with cast members as the times are subject to change. Look up Mickey and Friends Cavalcade times in the Disneyland app. If a cavalcade starts on one end of the route, it can take about 15 minutes to get to the other end of the parade route.
This is a unique time when visiting Disneyland is a whole new world for all of us. We're sharing important information such as the best time to arrive, how to plan your day with the new Disneyland Genie service. Did you hear the news? Free FASTPASS will not return. A new paid program, called Genie+ replaces MaxPass. Hop over to our Disney Genie post to read all about the new planning features and how to skip the lines using the new Lightning Lane entrance.
We will go over when to hop on those new-and-improved rides and where to find your favorite foods! One thing to be aware of is that there is not as much scheduled entertainment ... yet. But more returns all the time. Here’s what to know when visiting Disneyland during this frogciting reopening period.
As if Mickey reopening those gates wasn't exciting enough, there's more to look forward to at the Disneyland Resort in the coming weeks and months! Single Rider has made its way back, but is no longer hoppening at certain rides, such as Space Mountain. Almost all rides are open too. Character dining at Plaza Inn — Minnie & Friends Breakfast — has returned! So much good stuff is hoppening on a daily basis.
For locals, the new Magic Key annual pass program debuted Aug. 25, 2021! Magic Key holders need to make park reservations early (up to 90 days in advance) as reservations fill up faster than the pool of reservations for regular ticket holders. The top two Magic Keys are sold out.
Before we get started, here's a look at what it was like to hop back through Disneyland's gates and be welcomed back by cast members lining Main Street U.S.A. It gives us chills just thinking about it!
What to Know When Visiting Disneyland During the Reopening Period
The face covering policy changes as CDC guidelines change, but everyone should expect to wear a mask on park shuttles. Unvaccinated guests are required to mask up indoors. Physical distancing is now up to guests to manage if it concerns them. Ride vehicles are filled. Hand-washing stations, floor markers and most plexiglass dividers are gone (but hand sanitizer stations remain). We will leave those tedious (but still important) details in our Disneyland reopening post. It's a good idea to hop back to that post for the most up-to-date information prior to your trip. All guests still need valid admission and a Disneyland Theme Park Reservation to visit, which we'll get into below.
This post is all about how to maximize your time, find the most characters, and get your favorite Disneyland foods in your belly. FYI, the breakfast chimichangas are back! But get one early as these popular items do sell out early.
As we visit and get used to the new operations, we will continually update this post with our tips and advice to make the best of your journey. Oh, it feels so good to be back!
Arriving at Disneyland
Gone are the days where annual passholders could just hop into the park whenever they felt like it, or visitors could arrive, purchase tickets at the booth and visit whatever park they felt like hopping into. Disneyland continues to limit capacity through advance ticket sales and a new reservation system.
Disneyland Tickets, Passes and Reservations
You can find all the hopful details in our Disneyland park reservations post. But the key takeaway here is to plan ahead. The booking window is 120 days. For Magic Key holders it's 90 days.
The Key Holders and regular ticket holders have separate reservations pools, which means that weekends and holidays could be full for Magic Key holders while ticket buyers still find plenty of availability. But buy and reserve early as every day typically sells out.
Make sure you have a ticket and acquire a reservation for the same day your ticket or pass is valid. You will choose a theme park to visit when you make your reservation. If park hopping, you will choose the park you wish to visit first and then you may hop to the other park after 1 p.m. While park hopping is subject to availability, we have not heard of any problems. Park hoppers may line up at separate turnstiles before 1 p.m. so that other guests may enter the parks. Then at exactly 1 p.m. the park hoppers may enter the other park (and can then hop back and forth).
Multi-day tickets are the easiest to deal with because they are good any day 13 days after first use and have no blackouts. They also save you money, especially if you purchase discounted Disneyland Resort tickets through Undercover Tourist! Weekend days fill up the fastest. Do not wait to purchase the the ticket booths as most days sell out and have no reservation availability.
Here are the key links you may find hopful as you plan to return to the magic:
- The 1-Day Ticket Tier Calendar to find out which days which 1-Day tickets can be used. If you are going with multi-day tickets, you do not have to worry about this link. (This calendar does not show if the days are still available, though, so you'll also need to hop over to the next link.)
- The Park Availability Calendar: On popular days, one or both parks may be full for reservations. Check this calendar before purchasing tickets. One thing to note is that Park Hopper tickets generally have more availability than 1-Park tickets. If you do not see any availability for Disneyland Park when you want to visit, here's a workaround: Purchase a Park Hopper that starts in Disney California Adventure Park and hop over to Disneyland Park after 1 p.m. You can do so much in Disney California Adventure Park before you hop!
- The Magic Key Holder Availability Calendar shows blockout dates as well a which days are already full for reservations.
- Once you have tickets and are ready to reserve (or if you want to view your existing reservations), head to this link: StartYourDisneylandExperience.com.
- Multi-day tickets for the best savings.
Parking, Hours and Arrival Changes
You’ll want to arrive early to make the most of your day. Disneyland is usually open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. or even 12 a.m. But check the hours before you visit as there are some earlier closing times and later starts. Keep an eye out for early closures due to Disneyland After Dark parties. You can stay to shop in Main Street, U.S.A. until an hour after park closing.
There is no Extra Magic Hour or Magic Morning at this time. Rope drop is back, which means if you arrive before park opening, you will only get as far as Main Street, U.S.A. Then at 8 a.m. cast members will drop the ropes and you may head to your first attraction. Disneyland usually opens up the gates 30 minutes early each day. It's toadally worth arriving early. We head straight to Rise of the Resistance or Indiana Jones to knock those popular rides out before the crowds arrive.
There is big parking news! The parking trams return Feb. 23, 2022! Until then it's a hike to get between the parking structures and the park. You definitely feel it at the end of the day! That's why we've been parking at theToy Story Lot, which has buses.
Guests must wear a face covering on the bus/park transportation. In the morning (at least before 11 a.m.) you can go through security screening in the Toy Story lot before you hop on the bus. Then you can breeze past the Harbor security in a separate lane after exiting the bus and head straight to the theme parks!
The Monorail is back too! That means hotel guests can skip the walk to the park entrance and enter in Downtown Disney as well as anyone else entering from that end or walking over from the parking structures using the pedestrian walkway from level 2 of Pixar Pals. You'll want to keep an eye on Monorail closing time. If you leave after 7 p.m., don't be counting on a ride back to Downtown Disney.
The parking structures and Toy Story lot open at 7 a.m. Disneyland says parking opens 60 minutes prior to earliest theme park opening time. You may usually line up 15 minutes prior to the lot opening. The Pixar Pals structure is generally less crowded than Mickey and Friends, but you can usually only enter before 11 a.m. We prefer the Pixar Pals for times when we want to use the pedestrian bridge to Downtown Disney and the Monorail.
You can now purchase Disneyland parking in advance. Parking prices just increased to $30. You can pay to upgrade to Preferred Parking at the toll booth if you want to park closer to the elevators and escalators in the structures. The elevators allow one party at a time, so prepare for a long wait. Likewise, allow a good chunk of time to park and get into the theme park (up to two hours)!
If you want to avoid parking, or you want to be the first person in the park, there are two guest drop-off areas: One outside Harbor Boulevard security and one by Downtown Disney. Harbor Boulevard has the shortest walk but may have the most people. If you are staying at a hotel near Disneyland, you can skip the parking structures and walk to the Harbor security area or the Downtown Disney security entrance.
People line up at Harbor about 6:30 a.m., but this is not necessary. Harbor security lines are shorter now and can move quickly. The security checkpoints open about 7 (By Downtown Disney) or 7:15 a.m. at Harbor, depending on the crowd level. If some hotels on Harbor have extra parking, you may be able to park there, but they do fill up early. Anaheim Hotel is also worth checking out but it does fill up early. Anaheim GardenWalk has a new Anaheim attractions flat rate of half-price parking for $12.50 per day. You must text 949-532-8293 right after you park. Text your parking ticket number and "AA" to get the rate. Payment is completed upon exit.
If there's one "don't" for your morning, this is it: Don't park at Downtown Disney unless you wish to pay the $66 maximum daily parking/lost ticket fee! Hotel parking prices also went up.
Locker areas are open inside the park. If you want to store a droid or lightsaber you purchased in the park, you may store them at Pioneer Mercantile or Droid Depot (or even ship them home from First Order Cargo or Pioneer Mercantile). The stroller shop will also hold purchases for you. You'll need to bring them there yourself, though.
Wheelchairs, ECVs, Strollers and DAS
The Disability Access Service (DAS) is available and changes are here! Guests may register in advance of a visit and make DAS selections in the Disneyland app. Our post on using a wheelchair at Disneyland has options, tips and advice for using a wheelchair or ECV at Disneyland and renting off-site. Disneyland strollers now have Mickey and Minnie on them!
Disneyland Attractions, Wait Times and Touring Advice
We have developed new touring plans. Keep in mind that a few rides may be on everyone’s must-do list, especially with new enhancements to enjoy! These rides need a strategy:
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (Disneyland’s newest and most immersive ride is testing a standby line. But if the wait is too long you can buy your way out with individual Lightning Lane selections. We have a whole post on the best way to ride this ride with the shortest wait.
- Splash Mountain (people want to take a farewell cruise over the falls before this ride is re-themed to a Tiana-based ride): The wait will grow as the day goes on especially for hot days. Ride early. It undergoes an annual refurbishment in January.
- Snow White’s Enchanted Wish (Snow White’s Scary Adventures got a happily-ever-after makeover): This line actually moves pretty quickly.
- Pirates of the Caribbean is on everyone's list, as well. We usually ride in the morning or save it until the line drops in the evening.
- Indiana Jones Adventure is also a fan favorite to hit early or late in the day.
- Jungle Cruise reopened with some new scenes and more dry humor. Wet humor too.
- Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage returns this winter.
- Check the Disneyland refurbishment calendar before you visit.
Now that FASTPASS and MaxPass are retired, you can keep an eye on ride wait times in the Disneyland app to follow the shortest wait times. If you see everyone on the west side of the park, go east. You can find our updated list of rides that are open or closed in our post on what's open at Disneyland. A new service called Disney Genie can offer suggestions as well.
Now that Single Rider lines have returned, we have enjoyed skipping some lines for popular rides such as Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. We are hoppy to once again be adding that to our line-skipping tool belt (although we might have waited just as long in the Single Rider line at Matterhorn Bobsleds as people did in the standby line!).
Put your scheduling energy into making Mobile Order selections (or reservations) for meals in advance. But with more dining options, mobile order and walk-up ordering has improved too, and we still find plenty of yummy options. Our post on what's open at Disneyland has the complete and updated list of what's open, including restaurants and rides.
If you have small tadpoles who do not meet the height requirements or are too scared to ride, you can use Rider Switch. If someone in your party has disabilities that make waiting in a standard queue very difficult, talk to Guest Relations about Disability Access Service (DAS).
Here's a look at Snow White's Enchanted Wish:
You'll want sun protection and to stay hydrated (it's still a good and green idea to bring your refillable water bottle with you — refill stations are open!)
Usually, the first hour and last hour of park opening have the shortest lines. You can get a lot done at the end of the day at either park! On nights with fireworks, the lines go down while people wait for the show.
Crowds are shifting over to Disney California Adventure Park now that Avengers Campus is open. The land has a new ride, WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure.
Character Experiences During Disneyland's Reopening
Disneyland always keeps us on our toes with character experiences. The reopening did not disappoint! We saw new and creative ways to meet and see characters while keeping everyone safe. Here's what we experienced:
- There are character cavalcades making their way down the parade route.
- Mickey and friends are at the Main Street, U.S.A. Railroad Station. We recently caught up with Cruella to the right of the station or wave to her on Main Street vehicles.
- Mickey's Toontown closes in March for a refurbishment. We expect it to reopen when Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway opens.
- Give a royal wave and talk to princesses in Fantasy Faire. We have met Anna and Elsa there — a rare Disneyland treat! Mulan, Belle, Gaston, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Ariel and Elena came by as well! Rapunzel and Flynn Rider posed and gave us the smolder in Fantasy Faire as we exited from visiting with the other princesses. Another time we caught the Snow White with the Evil Queen in that spot! They all move around.
- Also look for princesses on the path to the left of the castle. We had great talks with Ariel, Belle, Mulan and the Evil Queen and Elena there.
- Keep an eye out for Tiana, Captain Jack Sparrow and Redd on New Orleans Square balconies and staircases. Sometimes they chat with guests in line for Pirates!
- Catch intermittent appearances by Miguel from Disney and Pixar’s "Coco" at the temporarily closed Rancho del Zocolo restaurant in Frontierland. Look to the balcony above the Golden Horseshoe to spot Woody, Jessie or one of the Three Caballeros.
- See if you can spot Rey, Chewbacca and Vi Moradi above or in the speeder garage at Black Spire Station in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. Chewie has been seen repairing the Millennium Falcon.
- Watch out for stormtroopers, along with Kylo Ren, patrolling the platform in front of the TIE Echelon starfighter. We recently saw stormtroopers walking through the land on the ground, so that was an exciting development as the parks move back to a normal state.
- On the raised area in front of "it's a small world," see if you can spot various Disney friends. How fun to see the characters interact with other characters from other stories!
- We caught up with Tinker Bell outside Pixie Hollow.
- It was so much fun to see Alice and the Cheshire Cat playing in a grassy area between the Hub and Tomorrowland! We've also seen Pooh back in Critter Country.
Our Disneyland characters post will have all of the updated details on meeting characters.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland
This newest and largest land is almost like visiting another planet. There are some important changes to note.
- Savi’s Workshop — Handbuilt Lightsabers reservations are open now (you can reserve up to 60 days in advance):
- Droid Depot is open and reservations to build a droid are open now.
- Oga’s Cantina is open.
- Ronto Roasters, Docking Bay 7 and Milk Stand are open. Mobile Order is the best way to get acquire food and drink.
- Droid Depot will store large purchases for you until before park closing.
- First Order Cargo will ship items to your home.
- You'll find characters up on platforms, balconies and stages (or inside the speeder garage). we've started to see them walking around too! R2-D2 was rolling about recently.
There were two Disneyland Resort attractions that utilized a virtual queue, but both are operating with standby lines right now. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is testing a standby queue.
Dining During Disneyland's Reopening Period
Most restaurants are open but some have more limited hours and meals, as well as more limited menus. However, more and more options are opening all the time. You can find the complete list of open and closed restaurants in our post on what will be open when Disneyland reopens. Another hopful post is where to find breakfast at Disneyland.
You can look up the menus ahead of time online or through the Disneyland app. You’ll see an expanded number of Mobile Order locations to help you limit contact and maximize time. We have seen a lot more walk-up availability returning and some of the Mobile Ordering options being removed as some restaurants return to walk-up-only ordering (such as Tropical Hideaway and Plaza Inn). So you have options.
Here are a few highlights, plus items that are not usually in those locations (so you can spot some favorites that may be found in new spots), as well as things you need to know:
- New Mobile Dine Walk-Up List for table-service restaurants are available in the Disneyland app (you must be near the restaurant).
- New Mobile Check-In is now in place at table-service restaurants.
- New Mobile Order locations in place, such as French Market and Little Red Wagon.
- You can now mobile order treats from the candy shops!
- Blue Bayou reopened with adults drinks. Beer, wine and themed drinks such as Hurricanes are available. For tadpoles and non-drinkers, we can look forward to seasonal Mint Juleps!
- Dole Whip flavors available on a rolling basis at Tropical Hideaway (plus yummy new menu items have appeared) — no more Mobile Order here, but Tiki Juice Bar is back open with Mobile Order.
- All table-service restaurants have reopened but may offer fewer meal services.
- Plaza Inn breakfast character dining returned but with modified service and different characters.
- You can make Disneyland dining reservations up to 60 days in advance about 3 a.m. but times can vary so check hourly. If you do not see your restaurant choice listed, try typing the name in. More times may pop up. If you do not see a lunch or dinner time, try checking hour by hour. You might see a reservation become available. Sometimes reservations open after 60 days, so keep checking.
- Find your Clam Chowder in a bread bowl at Harbour Galley (Yum!) with more seating at Pelican Landing.
- Eat breakfast before you arrive. Market House has breakfast sandwiches and Jolly Holiday Café has muffins, croissants and cinnamon rolls. You can get a breakfast Ronto Morning Wrap or Ronto-less Garden Wrap at Ronto Roasters. But few restaurants are offering breakfast hours or selections at this time. Galactic Grill serves breakfast. Carnation Café is open again, including for breakfast.
- Breakfast chimichangas have returned to Ship to Shore Marketplace.
- Find some of your favorite Disneyland snacks and hot foods all around the park again.
- Food may look different during Disneyland's reopening period. Café Orleans now serves a half portion of the famous Monte Cristo sandwich served with a side of the equally famous Pommes Frites (but for the same price as the full portion). And you cannot order the fries separately. The only way to get them is by ordering a Monte Cristo.
- Look for specialty churros.
Order Food Early
Here is our advice for Mobile Order: Do not wait until you are hungry to order food. Popular locations could mean that available return windows are up to an hour or two away on busy days. This is definitely improving, but plan ahead what you would like to eat earlier in the day. Order it. Choose a return window that works for you. If you need to cancel, or modify the timing, you can. But at least you will have a guaranteed meal or snack at the time you set. Do not wait until you arrive to tap, “I’m here. Prepare my order.” It takes some time to prepare food. Tap it before you walk over and screenshot the order number in case your food is ready well before you get there. This will cut down on any wait times.
Shopping During Disneyland's Reopening
Most shops are open. Contactless payment methods such as credit, debit, gift cards, Apple Pay and Google Pay are preferred, but shops will accept cash.
You may want to delay shopping on Main Street, U.S.A. until the park is closing. The larger shops and Candy Palace are open for an hour after the park closes. The app lists store hours. That way you do not have to carry your items around and can make better use of your time while the park is open. Consider it a bonus hour!
Disneyland Reopening Tips and Tidbits
Here are a few tips during this transitional period:
- Wear sunscreen and sun protection!
- Wear comfortable walking shoes.
- Parking trams return in February!
- Bring a sweatshirt for the evening.
- Bring a face covering and a back-up.
- Get your park ticket and park reservation in advance.
- Download the latest update of the Disneyland app.
- Read up on Mobile Order.
- Check-in online at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa up to five days in advance. The same goes for Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel and the Disneyland Hotel.
- Bring cashless forms of payment (Apple Pay, dining cards, gift cards and credit or debit cards), but cash is accepted.
- Use the Disneyland app to check wait times. The little tear drop at the bottom pulls up the park map.
- Get Genie+ to include all your PhotoPass downloads for the day.
- Be aware that VIP Tours are the only tours available.
- Know that Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is closed for makeovers but open for shopping.
- Bring water. Fill stations and drinking fountains are open.
- Mobile Order food before you get hungry.
- Fireworks are back on select nights. Projections shows take place during the week.
- Visit Disneyland's Know Before You Go site for the most up-to-date details before your trip.
Are you as excited as us that Disneyland has reopened? Hopfully, you have better idea of what to know when visiting Disneyland during this time. Remember to purchase your Disneyland Resort tickets in advance and also make a theme park reservation. With limited capacity, some days are already full. Keep hopping back as we visit, learn more and share hopful tips and what to know about visiting Disneyland at this time.