Are you one of the many California families planning to head to Disneyland now that it’s re-opened? Whether you are rescheduling a long-awaited trip or making a more last-minute decision to visit to enjoy the smaller crowds and California residents-only period afforded by current conditions, there are a few things to know that will be helpful before you go. My family and I visited Disneyland on Thursday, May 6th, at the end of its first week reopened since COVID, and here are my 10 best tips for visiting Disneyland this Spring!
1. First, you will need to check this calendar for availability of reservations at the park(s) you’re interested in. Then purchase tickets online, and make your date reservations in the final stages of your ticket purchasing. At the moment, dates are booking out into July, though there is a chance you might get a spot sooner if another ticketholder changes their reservation (which you can do in the Disneyland app).
2. If you want to park hop, you’ll need to make a reservation based on which park you’d like to start with, and on which day.
3. Character meet and greets are not available at this time, however, in a way its nice because you can actually see the characters stationed throughout the park waving, dancing and engaging with guests in other ways. Though you can’t hug your favorites, there are still lots of photo opportunities.
4. You will need to purchase food in the park via the Disneyland app. You’ll be able to view each eatery and its menu on the app. Make your selection, pay through your phone. and select your pick-up time window. Once you arrive at the eatery of your choosing, the app will provide you with your order status and the window number for pick up when it’s ready. Once you use this system once, I think you’ll find it quite convenient and more pleasant than waiting in line.
5. When its time to enjoy your food, you’ll need to eat in designated eating areas, (at least as of this current date) as masks are required everywhere except in these defined areas when you are directly eating or drinking.
6. Speaking of masks, depending on the weather when you go to the park, you may find you get fairly sweaty under the mask, especially on more humid days or during the mornings when its naturally more humid out. I personally felt a disposable KN95 or surgical mask was more comfortable than cloth for longer wear, and it wouldn’t be a bad idea to bring a few masks per person, so you can switch to a fresh one if you do get sweaty, or wet on rides like Splash Mountain.
7. Go for comfort over style when it comes to shoes! Since crowds are smaller than usual, lines are shorter and you’ll be able to cover much more ground in a Disney day than you normally would which means LOTS of walking. I logged over 20,000 steps on our one day in the park, and that was arriving at the park around 10:30 and leaving when they closed at 7pm.
8. If you’re planning to ride the new Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance ride, you’ll need to grab a spot in the virtual queue either at 7am or 12pm. For best results, have one party member load everyone’s tickets onto their account, then make a reservation for everyone together (this can be done from the main page in the app). You’ll be assigned a group number, and when its your group number’s turn you’ll show your queue barcode and be able to get into the real line at the ride. Don’t worry – it gives you a window of time to get there if you’re across the park when its your turn. The actual physical line doesn’t take long once you’re in it, either. We missed the 7am reservation time, so we made our reservation for the queue at 12pm (we set an alarm on our phone so we wouldn’t forget, which I recommend) and were assigned group 141. Group 141 ended up being called around 4:30pm, and the process was smooth. The ride is AMAZING and like nothing I’ve every experienced (and to be honest, I’m not even a Star Wars fan – please don’t hate me) and I highly recommend you try to ride!
9. The park’s safety precautions include hand-washing and hand-sanitizer stations throughout the park, frequent ride, seating area and table cleanings, and social distancing on rides and in lines (can we keep line social distancing forever please? Having a personal space bubble in Disneyland was a welcome change!). In general Cast Members are quite vigilant though kind in enforcing mask and social distancing rules. The only time we felt a little less safe Covid-wise was leaving the park – as we left at close when there was a mass exodus out of the park. Hopefully, since that first week, they’ve opened additional exit paths. Our family has been very Covid cautious in general and felt our park visit was as safe as it could be given the current conditions.
10. If you’re looking for an affordable place to stay that’s clean, secure, and offers free parking, our family stayed at Hotel 414 Anaheim. It’s around $125/night, has very kind customer service, and updated rooms. It’s easy to access off the 5 freeway, and they are very nice about allowing you to leave your car if you have a park day after checkout as well. If you’re the type looking for a very fancy stay, this isn’t the place for you – but it is very clean, the beds are comfortable, it’s a 22-minute walk to the park, a $5 Uber/Lyft ride to the entrance gate and we’ve had a positive experience there twice now. The hotel is family-owned, and they are not sponsoring my post or even aware I’m writing this – just wanted to share because it’s been a win for our family more than once now, and it may be helpful for yours.
If you head to Disneyland soon, I hope you find these tips helpful and you have a MAGICAL trip!
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10 Tips for Visiting Disneyland this Spring
10 Tips for Visiting Disneyland this Spring