Theme Park of the Day: Legoland California

Disneyland to Reopen on April 30

March 17, 2021, 10:42 AM · The Disneyland Resort announced today that it will reopen its Disneyland and Disney California Adventure theme parks on April 30. In addition, the Grand Californian Hotel will reopen the day before, April 29.

"The day all of us have long been waiting for is almost here," Disneyland Resort President Ken Potrock said. "We’re excited to have more than 10,000 cast members returning to work as we get ready to welcome our guests back to this happy place."

While the parks will return on the 30th, Disneyland said that it will preview the parks in the days leading up to the reopening for "cast members and members of the local community."

Advance reservations to visit will be required, and in keeping with California state rules, only California residents will be admitted to the parks. More information about the new reservation system will be coming soon, the resort said.

For visitors who wish to stay at Disneyland, the resort's hotels will be opening in phases, with Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa returning on April 29 with limited capacity. The Disney Vacation Club Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa will reopen May 2, as previously announced. And Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel and the Disneyland Hotel will reopen at a later date, to be announced.

California theme parks may reopen as soon as April 1, under new rules announced earlier this month. Theme parks' counties must be in the state's "Red" Tier 2 to reopen, which Disneyland's Orange County currently is. In the Red tier, parks may operate at 15 percent capacity. However, Orange County's average daily Covid case rate places it on the brink of entering the "Orange" Tier 3, which allows parks to operate at 25 percent capacity. If current trends continue, it is likely that Orange County will be in the Orange tier - or better - by the time the Disneyland parks reopen.

As for getting into the parks then, remember that Disneyland has ended its annual pass program, meaning that anyone who wants to visit the parks on reopening day will need to buy a new ticket to do so. That should help reduce demand for reservations a bit, but given how Disney sold out its "A Touch of Disney" merchandise event at Disney California Adventure (which starts tomorrow) in less than a day, expect a crush of fans on Disney's servers once tickets do go on sale.

And as for what the parks will look like when they return, Fastpass, Maxpass, Extra Magic Hour and Magic Mornings will not be available when the parks reopen, and parades and other certain shows and character meets will be closed for the time being. But it is expected that Disneyland will continue to use its virtual queue for the Star Wars Rise of the Resistance attraction and might use virtual queuing for other experiences around the resort. Mobile payment opportunities will be expanded, as they have been at the Walt Disney World Resort during its reopening period.

The revamped Snow White's Enchanted Wish dark ride will be open in Disneyland's Fantasyland when the park reopens, and Disney has teased that "new magic is coming to Haunted Mansion," too. Over at Disney California Adventure, the new Marvel-themed Avengers Campus won't be ready just yet, opening "at a later date."

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Replies (17)

March 17, 2021 at 11:08 AM

Had thought they would wait just a bit for a set date in case of a new bump in cases but the vaccine rollouts are doing well so guess they feel confident enough to try. Good to finally see light at the end of the tunnel.

March 17, 2021 at 12:49 PM

I wouldn't be surprised to see California step in and put the breaks on this. While Disney is confident enough to announce a date (and to start developing a reservation system), it won't stop California officials from finding ways to derail or delay the process. There has been some increase in transmission around the world (though most other jurisdictions have not pulled back on announced reopening plans - just delayed any further expansion), and I wouldn't be surprised if California "saw its shadow" and mandated another 6 weeks of winter.

March 17, 2021 at 3:55 PM

FWIW, Disneyland announced a July 17 reopening last summer. (Which, obviously, did not happen.) But the resort did not have official guidance from the state to do that then. This time, it does.

California has "pulled the emergency brake" before, with its regional stay home orders late last year. So there is precedent for putting all counties back in the Purple Tier 1, which would close the parks. But the situation in California right now is pretty good - by pandemic standards - and the parks have a solid safety plan in place. The key is keeping people from states with emerging outbreaks from visiting California... and keeping Californians from visiting those states.

Getting Disneyland to ourselves for a bit might help with the latter.

March 17, 2021 at 4:11 PM

Question that I don't think any of the parks have addressed yet...

How will parks be enforcing the California resident only policy? What sort of proof of residency will be required for park entry, not only at Disneyland, but also at other parks? Will it be more stringent than what is required at the polls?
https://elections.cdn.sos.ca.gov/regulations/hava_id_regs_from_barclays_3_3_06.pdf

March 17, 2021 at 4:13 PM

The fact vaccine rollouts are proceeding much better is a good sign they can stick to this opening date. As noted, it's keeping folks from getting the variants as that can cause a further bad spike.

March 17, 2021 at 4:30 PM

Robert, I'm curious what your timeline will be for returning to the parks? Will your decision be based on crowd levels, availability, safety, return of fireworks and parades, new attraction openings? It will be great to hear your first "boots on the ground" perspective after over a year absence.

March 17, 2021 at 4:39 PM

SFMM accidentally announced an April 1st opening but then took it down.

March 17, 2021 at 6:29 PM

@I64Trekker - Here's your answer (from The Orange County Register):
How California Theme Parks Will Enforce Out-of-State Visitors Ban

March 18, 2021 at 12:35 AM

Man, when I had to cancel my March 26, 2020 Disneyland trip, I thought I'd be scheduling later that fall. Here we are a year later, thank you god (and our excellent California state government leadership) that we're finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

Late August might be looking good!!

March 18, 2021 at 3:40 AM

Those associated with that “excellent California state government leadership” should get together and celebrate what they have accomplished. I hear there is a restaurant called The French Laundry that’s really nice.

March 18, 2021 at 12:54 PM

Heard on the local news that there will be a ban on screaming on rides. Is this really true, and if so, how would they enforce it?

March 18, 2021 at 2:00 PM

Heard that too, not sure if true or not. I know they were trying it in Japan but hard to see how you can enforce something that's usually an automatic response of people. Might end up being one of those "we discourage but we're not going to kick you out if you do it" things.

March 18, 2021 at 3:50 PM

The "screaming ban" is not a real thing and is the result of poor reporting. CAPA has asked parks to implement mitigation strategies to reduce the effects of screaming, such as requiring face coverings on rides and spacing out seating. Somehow, this got reported as a rule that screaming won't be allowed and everywhere picked it up before a correction was issued. Such a ban would be unenforceable and could actually be dangerous for riders in certain circumstances.

March 18, 2021 at 10:33 PM

@AJ Hummel: Yeah, it sounded like something blown out of proportion. Again, it'd be impossible to implement and of course, folks scream involuntarily all the time, figured it was one of those nutty things takes off.

Now wait for folks to keep reporting it as fact for months even after it's debunked.

March 19, 2021 at 12:48 PM

@TH Creative: "Those associated with that “excellent California state government leadership” should get together and celebrate what they have accomplished."

Agreed, and I'm sure they will, as will all Californians when this is over. Through our diligence, pragmatism and effective leadership, California has weathered the storm far better than hoped. We have a right to be proud.

March 20, 2021 at 2:45 PM

I live in Nevada, but am closer to Disneyland than some Californians. So I won't be able to go (to be fair, I'm not sure this is the right time to go anyway and I just used up the last of my vacation time until July so I wouldn't be able to go if it was allowed unless it was a one-day day trip on my weekend).

But Californians are visiting Nevada in droves. And Nevada wants them to come gamble, so the state has no problem with it (as long as they wear a mask).

I think I'm at a bigger risk of catching COVID-19 from a visiting Californian at my casino job than I am of getting it at Disneyland if the restrictions are similar to Walt Disney World.

But it is what it is, and I get the reasoning behind it (and Disneyland has a TON of local visitors anyway, so they'll likely be hitting their lowered capacity from day one).

Hospitality workers in Nevada become eligible for the vaccine on March 24th (finally -- I know there are people who needed it more, but many of those people frequent my casino and I don't want to give it to any of them if I catch it). I have my appointment on the 25th, with the second dose three weeks later. Just as I have waited my turn for the vaccine, I will wait my turn to get back to Disneyland once I feel safe to do so.

This has been one heck of a year or so, and I hope I'm right in thinking that we may be just a few months away from getting through all of this.

March 20, 2021 at 9:02 PM

Good luck, Kenny!

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