Disneyland's reopening and thoughts... with a little Silver Dollar City and other parks

Edited: June 14, 2021, 10:25 PM

This is kinda a late trip report but I decided to wait til I also went to SDC so I could put my thoughts in here too. Also, I’ll put all the tips you’ll need to know at the very end of the DLR report if you’re too lazy to read all of this. Sorry if this is super long, just had a lot of thoughts.

Update 6/14- Do not attempt to enter through the Harbor side. Disregard anything I say positively about the Harbor entrance in this post. The security begins at 8am, 30 minutes after Mickey and Friends begins theirs, and with the opening of the Toy Story lot, the line will only get longer. Even though Mickey and Friends is $25, it is worth saving so much time.

I went to the DLR on Friday, May 14th, and have lots of thoughts. I found on “RatChat” (man if someone gets this joke) a coupon for discounted parking at the Anaheim Hotel that I've been using for DTD before the resort opened. I would be nice and put a link to the coupon in this thread but honestly, don't even try it. I arrived at the hotel at 8:30 am with a 9 am opening and it was completely full. All the other hotels in the area aren't really taking any all-day parking. Don't even try your luck with parking at the surrounding hotels on Harbor unless you want to arrive at 7 am. I've been monitoring the situation on social media and everyone says that the Anaheim Hotel lot fills up before 7:30 am. I drove around on Harbor wasting 25 minutes looking for other spots but nothing worked, so I had to drive all the way to Mickey and Friends and was met with an extremely long line. The line was backed up to the beginning of the bridge, so they directed cars to Magic Way to enter the structure at a different entrance, one that I never even knew existed. (Side Note- the other day the line got so long that they were giving away free parking vouchers so the line wouldn’t be so backed up. I didn’t believe it until I saw pictures of these vouchers, so hey maybe you’ll get one). Didn’t get to the tram route til about 9:30.

Many of you may know that the tram is not operational. Because of this, you have to walk the whole tram route which is about .75-1 mile long (hense why I wanted to park on Harbor). It’s filled with Benches and cute Disney signs though. Now what brought my interest was that if the Esplanade becomes too full, they will hold the people on the tram route from entering the area. Why they hold a huge group of people from entering a huge group of people is beyond me. The lines to enter DL was much longer than DCA, so try to find the shortest turnstile.

Avid readers of this site will know that Indy is doing a virtual queue… which sucks. We headed straight to Indy because they do not say when the ride enters a virtual queue. The app doesn’t give a notification and guests never know if it’s being used. The app says that the attraction is using a virtual queue if you tap on the ride icon on the map though, but other than that, guests have no idea unless you’re walking past the ride. You get a Boarding Group when you scan the QR code at the ride. Because of CA Covid rules, the line has to be completely outdoors, so the queue takes over the Jungle Cruise queue. While it does add to the theming, Jungle Cruise has these nonthemed construction fences in the queue to block from the refurb. Indy is still awesome I can;t stress enough to ask for the front. They have plexiglass barriers between each row so if you don’t sit in the front, I’d imagine your experience is greatly hindered.

The Pirates and Haunted Mansion lines create an even bigger bottleneck in the walkway. In the HM queue, once you walk through the Fastpass distribution stations, a CM asks if you’d rather take the elevator or the stairs. The stairs are used as a quicker method to bring people down to the load station. If you don’t need to watch the preshow (which now holds 5-6 parties at once, when it used to hold 3x that amount), then do the stairs and cut your wait shorter.

Space Mountain’s queue is entirely outdoors too, with barely any shade. Anyone who has been stuck in the SPM queue outside will know how unbearable it can get when it’s hot.

From what I’ve seen, once park-hopping starts at 1 pm, DCA becomes packed with the people from DL rushing over there. Soarin only allows about two parties per row so that’s about 18 parties per cycle, which when you actually think about, it is not very much. That’s why Soarin is currently getting long waits. After about 4 pm, the crowds began to die down and the wait times become even shorter. Even though I was in the park for 11 hours (before the new park hours, I’d always do DL from 8am-12am), I went on almost every major E-ticket with the longest wait being Space at 35 minutes. Now my trip was when the park was at 25%, now it is at 35%. From what I’ve seen, wait times are a bit higher at 35% but not by too much.

To add to being in the park for 16 hours usually, I realized something super weird. The longest I ever walked at DLR was 12.5 miles in 16 hours. With 11 hours, I walked 13 miles and I could really feel it. With waiting less in lines, I realized I was walking more and also standing less in queues, especially with 6 feet apart from each party in the queue, you really walk more. If you’re planning on spending the whole day there, try to take more breaks and sit down.

Now to the heartbreaking part… Rise of the Resistance. The experience is hindered. The Rey pre-show does not play so guests have no idea what they are doing and why they are there. The entire storyline behind it is tarnished. Rise was only open for 2 months before the park closed, so many locals weren’t able to ride. With this, the people who haven’t ridden and are finally riding it will not get the same experience as those who rode it before Covid. The ride vehicles also have plexiglass barriers in between so try to get the front row. I did Rise twice before it closed and had it at my #1 attraction, but I think Indy is back in its rightful place. Also, they are using the Fastpass queue instead of the regular queue so you skip out on all the neat details in the regular line.

Lastly, the Covid and social distancing enforcement were impeccable. Everyone was on their marker in line and I saw no one, I repeat no one without a mask. The only person I saw without a mask was me because it was so hot so I pulled it down for 5 seconds whenever someone wasn’t around. But yeah, super enforced.

Here are my takeaways and tips for a trip to DLR during these times-

- Just go to Mickey and Friends if you don’t plan to arrive at the Anaheim Hotel to park at 7 am.
- Everyone is arriving between 7:30 am - 10:30 am. There are no more passes so everyone wants to make the most out of their day and arrive early. Because of this, lines to get into DLR are longer than usual.
- The attraction lines look super long but move super fast so don’t let a long line stop you. Wait times, from what I’ve experienced, are pretty accurate
- Try to start your day at DCA then park hop to DL because DCA has lower wait times in the morning before 1 pm. DCA has a lower capacity than DL’s so DCA has fewer people that start out in the day.
- A lot of queues now are outdoors and most attractions were not build to handle outdoor queues, so a lot of lines are in the sun.
- Mobile Order is a huge thing now. They will literally force you to use Mobile Order if you have the app on your phone.
- Try to get the front row for Indy and Rise.
- Some restaurants have changed their menu so make sure to look at the menu on the app to make sure the usual items haven’t been changed.
- Make sure to ride Splash before it’s gone (it’s one party per log now so it’s more personal lol)

Before I end the DLR report, there was something that got me thinking when I was there. This doesn’t align with parks that have heavy covid restrictions, but this is what I could tell at DLR and Knotts. Ride throughput is no longer by people really, but by parties. Not sure if any other nerds do this but I like to check the accuracy of a line by how backed up it is in the queue. You can do that much easier now because it’s one party per social distance marker and Fastpass/ single rider aren’t a thing. Idk, it’s just a cool thing to think about if you’re a nerd.

While we’re at it, why not do a Cosmonaut quickie review (please someone get that joke) of some other SoCal parks too-

SFMM- long lines, no social distancing or mask enforcement, super long lines for food because not enough employees, and doesn’t even seem it’s at limited capacity. By the amount of parked cars, it seems like a normal pre-covid day. But hey, that’s Six Flags for ya so you pay for what ya get. Oh, there’s this new Mac and Cheese place that opened that looks good, has anyone tried it and if so, was it any good?

Knotts- only really applies to the season pass holder days which ends... Today so… I’ll say what I can. More social distancing/mask enforcement than SFMM but not as much as DLR and the food is still pretty good.

Okay, I promise I am almost done.

Went to Silver Dollar City today and am going tomorrow again. It was pouring rain but most of the coasters were still operational except for Powder Keg and another I forgot the name of but it wasn’t anything major. Here are my takeaways-

Time Traveler is my #3 coaster... but only in the back car. Man, I knew that first drop was special but I never knew it was THAT special. Did it 3 times in row 8, once in row 7, and once in row 1. I love how the coaster has a different experience every time. You could take each element a different way and at a differing amount of force depending on which row you’re in.

Outlaw Run was the biggest disappointment. Did once in the back then the front. Out of all the RMCs I’ve done, Outlaw Run is the worst. It had such a bad rattle that the back row gave me a headache. I wanted to give it the benefit of the doubt and try the front row. While it provided some amazing views, the rattle was still there.

Wildfire was surprisingly smooth but too short. The layout was weak but was also just was a product of it’s time. Back when B&M just focused on inversions, it’s just inversion after inversion. I love B&Ms but find the older ones to be forceless in excitement, and most times forceful on hurting my body.

Only had a few hours in the park so going again tomorrow. Anyone have any tips or stuff I should do/ know about for my visit tomorrow?

Any thoughts on the reopening of DLR or any of the SoCal parks in general? I’m glad that they’re all open again and hope to see them running regularly soon.

Replies (2)

May 21, 2021, 11:41 AM

Thanks for the report, been seeing videos and glad to see not just Disney enforcing distance/masks but folks keeping to the rules well.

I always thought it'd be tricky as Disneyland a lot more packed in lines and such than WDW so figured they'd have to navigate it better but sounds good so far.

Edited: May 21, 2021, 9:15 PM

Update-

My day at SDC was still a bust because it rained all day. Really wanted to try Powder Keg but it never opened, so I guess I'll be back sooner rather than later. I rode Time Traveler a total of 9 times... I really love this ride.

I'll have to say that I think SDC is missing sustained floater and a good woodie from their lineup. A B&M hyper would work perfectly in the trees and a woodie could work well too. I could imagine a Mystic Timbers type coaster but more immersed within the trees and environment.

@MlkeW- Yeah the guests were very compliant with the rules, so much so that I didn't see any enforcement occurring or needing to occur.

Also, I forgot to bring up something in the report- the CM issue. Two things about Castmembers that I noticed were a general lack of enthusiasm and joy and the abundance of them in inefficient places.

First, I'm not sure if some were upset about not being on unemployment anymore, but some CMs were just rude. It was a week ago so I cannot remember certain instances but I remember leaving the park feeling a bit weird at some of their behavior.
The second was an abundance of them in inefficient spaces. I saw so many CMs just standing in the stores or near food places just talking to each other. I'm not sure if many people take their breaks at the same time or what, but with the number of people I saw just standing around, I'm sure they could be used to operate more food carts, more turnstiles, etc. I know that some attractions can't operate because of Covid, and it would save some money not opening restaurants due to the expenses, but come on. Too many CMs standing around not working.


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