Disneyland and Disney California Adventure is finally reopened after over a year of closures due to the pandemic. Disneyland was CLOSED for OVER.A.YEAR. (It still seems unreal even though we lived through it, right?)
I went to Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure (DCA) to stock up on fairy dust AND to see what it’s like in 2021. There are a lot of changes and new guidelines for visiting now. Luckily, most of the changes are good and some of the changes are just part of Covid-19 safety precautions that are to be expected. Overall, it was a great experience and I’m very happy I went.
Now I’m sharing the top 11 things you need to know before you visit Disneyland or DCA below. Keep in mind – things are changing fast. Check their website and app for the most current info.
And remember – the guidelines during the pandemic in California where very different from Florida. And the rules for Walt Disney World are very different from Disneyland right now. This info just applies to my experience going to Disneyland and DCA in Anaheim, CA.
I’ll link to resources for more information at the bottom of this post.
11 TIPS You Need to Know Before You Go To Disneyland in 2021
Disneyland Tickets AND Reservations
You need a ticket to Disneyland and/or California Adventure (you can get a ticket to one park or a park hopper ticket that allows entry to both) *AND* You need a reservation to get in. So you must check that there’s availability for the day and park.
If you get a Park Hopper Pass you have to choose 1 park to enter first then you can go to the other park after 1pm. I got a Park Hopper ticket but by the time I went to make a reservation California Adventure was the only option to start my day. Around 1pm I headed to Disneyland and got in no problemo.
See the Disneyland website for more info.
2 New things about the Parking Structure
There’s a temperature screening outside the parking structure (before you get to the park entrance). If you park in the big Mickey & Friends parking area cast members & signs guide you to a security check point. (This used to happen outside the theme parks, not here.)
There’s also a temperature screening check point here. There were several cast members with temperature devices and I barely had to pause as they checked.
The major difference from before is there were NO TRAMS to take you from the parking area to the theme parks and Downtown Disney. Everyone had to walk the route the trams used to drive. It’s not that long, but there are no attractions or distractions so it feels a lil boring.
Tip: Make sure you wear comfortable shoes. You’ll be doing a lot of walking around Disneyland and California Adventure. If your feet hurt before you even get to the theme parks – it’s going to be a long day.
Face Mask Rules at Disneyland and California Adventure
You must have your face mask on at all times unless you’re actively eating or drinking in a designated area. Yes, we’re all used to masks by now but rules are getting more and more relaxed in public places, but not at Disneyland. Cast members and signs will remind you to keep your mask on as you’re walking around and in line.
And this means = NO eating or drinking while in line for rides. So you’ll have to eat that churro in a corner or a designated eating area. You also have to keep it on during rides.
Disney Characters and Social Distance
There were a lot of Disney character photo ops, but you have to keep social distance.
Limited Capacity… but it doesn’t look like it.
The parks were only at 35% capacity when I went. I thought was was going to feel like they were empty and I’d be running straight to the front of all the lines and have tons of awesome photos without 100 other park goers behind me… nope.
It didn’t seem that empty because all the open attractions, stores and restaurants required social distancing. So the lines for rides are spread out. Then, rides maintained social distance by only using every other row (like on Pirates of the Caribbean and Star Tours) OR only putting 1 group on a ride at a time (when we went on Radiator Springs Racers – it was just us in the car which left the row behind us empty).
Some attractions and restaurants aren’t open yet.
Some rides, attractions and restaurants are closed due to social distancing logistics and some are closed for regular maintenance. This changes often so double check before you go!
You Need the Disneyland App
Download the Disneyland App and make sure it has your information (sign on and credit card) BEFORE you go to Disneyland or DCA. This is the only way to order food at many of the restaurants, but it’s very convenient and easy to use.
You also need the app to get into a Virtue Queue, basically their new ‘Fast Pass’ system. And you MUST do this if you want to ride Star Wars : Rise of the Resistance. You can’t do standby for that ride and must get into a ‘boarding group’ using the app.
The Disneyland App has a lot of other helpful features too. You can double check what’s open, park hours, look at photo pass photos, shop using the app and more.
Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure Hours
The parks currently have limited hours, but this is changing often so double check before you go. Then, plan your day around park hours, and what you want to see most.
And Disneyland will be open to out of state guests starting June 15th.
Get a Disney or other fun Face Mask BEFORE you go
Consider buying a Disney inspired face mask BEF ORE you go. You’ll be wearing a face mask in most of your photos so you’ll want it to be a fun one! They sell a few Disney character masks but not a huge variety and you may have to wait in line to get into some stores. Don’t let that cut into your time enjoying the park! AND Kids 3 & over have to wear masks too. So if you’re little one isn’t used to it or doesn’t have one that fits tiny faces – make sure you get one before you go.
Disneyland and California Adventure 2021 Reopening Safety tips
There’s hand sanitizer stations and signs reminding you to keep social distance all over the park. But cast members don’t wipe down the wipes in between guests. So, keep this in mind if you or someone in your group has compromised immunity.
Open attractions, park capacity and guidelines change often as we move forward from the pandemic – so double check the website and app often before you go!
The most important reminder is to HAVE FUN!!! It’s exciting that Disneyland is back open and life in southern California is getting back to normal after over a year. Enjoy it! Focus on all the things you can do.
I posted all these Disneyland Tips on Instagram Reels too. Follow @RunEatRepeat for that!*
My Must Haves for a Day at Disneyland
A cute Disney inspired tee or tank – I love these…
Disney themed face mask – get more than one. Here are my faves:
- Kids Face Mask Disney – 3 pack
- Kids Face Mask Mickey Mouse – 3 pack
- Adult Face Mask My Happy Place for Disneyland and Disney Vacations
- 3 Pack Disney Face Masks for Adults & Kids (Mickey Mouse & Marvel designs)
Reusable Water Bottle (yes, you can bring it in and there are stations to refill your water). Here are some Disney inspired water bottles if you want to go all in:
- Mickey Mouse insulated water bottle
- Little Mermaid Insulated Water Bottle
- Frozen Water Bottle bpa free plastic
Follow me on Instagram @RunEatRepeat – Check out my Insta Reels for short video versions of all these tips! DM me or leave a comment below with any questions.