Disneyland’s re-opened after being shut down for over a year due to the pandemic. I was apprehensive to go. How much would change? What would be open? Would it be worth it?
Anyone who has tried to keep a tired kid entertained while waiting in a long line in the hot Southern California sun knows it’s not always the most magical place. Like many other spots reopening after being shut down due to covid, I was worried about wait times. Would they have limited staff, meaning we’d have to wait in long lines even though capacity was low? Would it be hard to get food? How much of the park would be closed still?
My apprehensions were put at ease as we easily went through the temperature screening and bag check. If anyone knows how to organize a massive crowd, it’s Disney!
Purchasing tickets and making reservations online meant no long wait in line at the ticket booth. Getting through the gate was a breeze. We started at California Adventure since all we could get were park hoper tickets. It meant we couldn’t get into the Disneyland park until 1pm.
California Adventure does have it perks like beer and wine and wine for the adults, plus a lot of kid friendly rides. Minnie and Pluto were right out front, ready to take pics with us just as we entered the park. Crossed that photo op off our list right away! We couldn't get close since they were socially distanced behind a short fence but it didn't seem to bother our kids. They still got to wave to them from six feet away.
We hit the Carsland rides and Pixar pier. Wait times were very manageable, 5 - 15 minutes max. We walked on quite a few Pixar pier rides that we hadn’t got to do before because the lines were always so long. A great start to the day!
I made a reservation for lunch at Downtown Disney. It really wasn't necessary. I was worried we might have a hard time finding food but the mobile ordering inside the park was super easy. No lines to wait in. I hope they keep this moving forward.
***TIP*** Make sure you download the Disneyland app before you go and add in your credit card so you can easily do mobile orders. It even worked with ice cream! Which by the way, I highly recommend stopping for ice cream on main street on your way out. It made for a meltdown free exit from the park with out kids when the day was over.
Then we headed off to Disneyland. We were able to do so many rides. Honestly fit in a whole day of rides in one afternoon! The longest wait of the day was 30 minutes for Pirates of the Caribbean and the second was Indiana Jones for 20 minutes. The lines look long but in reality all the wait is outside. Once you hit indoors you are walking to the ride. No lines inside! Again highly recommend the Disneyland app so you can see wait times.
The kiddie rides in fantasyland that normally have terribly long wait times were all easy to get onto, many which we were walking on. Except the tea cups... I don't care how short the line is..I'm not going on those spinny cups of terror! One of my kids' favorite rides of the day was Dumbo. Ethan was really excited he got to ride all by himself on that one.
Tomorrowland is looking a little sad these days. Not much going on but worth stopping by for Autotopia and Star Tours. Autotopia was another favorite because they could actually drive the car! We basically walked on that one.
All and all we had a great day! Kids and us parents. It was our best trip yet!
Plan for about an hour to park and get to the park. There was a wait to pay for parking, then after that it was smooth sailing but it still was a journey to get a spot, pack the stroller, walk to elevator, bathroom break and then temperature scan, bag check and then the mile (i didnt actually measure but it felt looooong) to the actual park. It was really well organized. If anyone knows about crowd control, its Disney!
Download the disneyland app and add your credit card for easy mobile ordering.
Wear your masks! The staff was great about enforcing the mask rule. No matter how you feel about mask mandates, it took out any of the personal interpretation and made it fair for everyone.
Know your ticket number so you can make your reservation on Rise of the Resistance Star Wars ride quickly. Again, another reason to download the Disneyland app. I set an alarm for the reservation time but was too slow selecting our ticket numbers because I had multiple loaded in the app. The good news is we made it on, even though we were in a stand-by boarding group.
Make your reservations!
It was absolutely worth it to go to Disneyland during this time. It was one of our family's all-time favorite trips. I'm looking at the calendar for when we can make our next reservation!
PS. Hey Disneyland, can we make some of these changes stick? The lower capacity really did make it the happiest place on earth!