On October 20th, the state of California released its reopening guidelines.
Although Disneyland has not released a reopening date yet, we can’t help but wonder what the west coast parks will look like when they do reopen. Based on the guidelines, this is what we expect Disneyland’s reopening to look like for guests!
Before You Go
Park Pass Reservations
To enter a reopened Disneyland, it is likely that you will need a Park Pass Reservation. This system was initially introduced at Disney World’s reopening, however, based on the guidelines, this will be a necessity over in California. When Disneyland does have a reopening date, this should be one of the first systems they put in place for guests.
Before you go to the parks, you will need to purchase a ticket online and choose a date and the park you would like to go to. This will reserve your spot in the park that day. While it is possible to grab a reservation day of, we’ve seen certain parks fill up over in Disney World, so it’s best to grab one as soon as your trip is planned. Guests should be able to change/cancel their reservations.
It is possible that reservations could fill up on the reopening day of Disneyland. This system helps keep track of how many people are in the parks at once. While the system may look slightly different for Disneyland, we think it will be the same concept.
Entering the Parks
Based on the California state guidelines, guests will have to go through a temperature check or a symptom screening. While the rules did not elaborate on what a symptom screening entails, we expect Disneyland to use a similar temperature process to the one in Disney World for guests entering the parks.
The process is quick and simple. Cast Members hold a device up to guests’ foreheads, the device reads the temperature, and if you are under 100.4 degrees, you are good to go! It takes just a few seconds per person. If your temperature happens to be above the limit, guests may cool off in a shaded area (often a cool down tent provided by Disney) and try again. But, if the temperature is still is above 100.4 degrees, Cast Members will not allow you or your party into the parks.
Since Disney World’s reopening, bag checks have looked a bit different. Previously, guests would stop at a table while a Cast Member inspected every pocket of the bag. With the new system, we’ve seen, and are likely to see in Disneyland Resort, the process is much simpler.
When you go to enter the theme parks, Cast Members would have guests walk through the metal detector WITH their bags. Something with metal like an umbrella may set it off, but even cell phones don’t set off the new machines. If you do set it off, however, Disney will check your bags by hand.
One rule we definitely expected from the guidelines was the requirements of face masks. Guests must be wearing a face-covering properly to be allowed in the park.
Those who are not wearing a mask properly will be asked to leave the parks. We’ve seen several warning signs around Disney World that guests are bound to see in a reopened Disneyland. The guidelines also shared that Disneyland Resort can permit access for those who are exempt under the appropriate guidelines.
When guests book a park reservation, the guidelines highly suggest that Disneyland Resort will be reaching out to guests 24 hours before their reservation. There will be a small survey with a series of questions about if the guest or someone they live with has coronavirus symptoms. If you answer yes to any symptom questions, Disney is supposed to cancel the reservation for your party.
If you still show up to the parks, Cast Members will be told to turn you away. While this was a strong suggestion on the guidelines, we can definitely see a system like this put in place for Disneyland.
In the Parks
California theme parks must open with no more than 25% capacity. For guests going back to Disneyland Resort on the first day, it will seem very empty compared to before the reopening.
Based on our experience in Disney World, the parks may be extremely empty at the beginning of the reopening and then slowly gain more crowds. The first day of Disneyland Resort’s reopening could look a little emptier than anticipated, but honestly, it could be maxed out at 25% on opening day. It will really depend on when Disneyland and DCA are able to reopen.
Although parks in Disney World are said to be at 25%, they do feel quite congested sometimes. Disneyland Resort may experience the same thing upon reopening, especially due to the park’s size.
Distancing Markers/Traffic Arrows
Disneyland Resort guests will have to pay attention to distancing markers around the park. These will be in queues for attractions, in lines for quick-service restaurants and even in shops.
In the guidelines, Disneyland is required to mark walkways with arrows to keep traffic flowing in one direction. This is especially true for narrow pathways or small shops/restaurants. This is something guests will definitely have to deal with on reopening day.
The theme park guidelines emphasized the importance of cashless payment in the parks. Guests will be asked to use a credit/debit card or gift card over cash if possible. This is to keep contact between guests and Cast Members at a minimum.
Shops will be set up so that guests can swipe their own cards to further minimize contact. Disney will also encourage guests to buy merchandise online rather than in the parks.
In a reopened Disneyland and DCA, guests will be highly encouraged to use hand sanitizer and wash their hands throughout their visit. To make this easier, Disneyland Resort will have tons of automatic hand sanitizer dispensers and handwashing stations set up around the parks.
We recently heard that Disneyland is installing over 23,000 health and safety measures to prepare for reopening and these stations are a huge part of that.
One aspect of attractions that the state of California highly encourages is the use of virtual queues. This will most likely be put in place for the busier attractions that draw a lot of people. This is to keep people physically distanced and ensure capacity limits.
We’ve seen virtual queues for shops, but no additional ones for attractions. This is with the exception of Rise of the Resistance which has had a virtual queue since the ride’s opening.
Guests in a reopened Disneyland Resort can expect to make virtual queue reservations throughout the day for attractions. As we get more details on this after Disneyland sets a reopening date, we will have a better idea of what this system will look like.
Perhaps one of the strangest requirements on the guidelines, all attractions must have an outdoor queue. Indoor queues are not allowed for any ride or attraction.
This will likely be a challenge for Disneyland and DCA because of how close attractions are to each other. We’re very interested to see how Disney makes this change happen. We believe this will make it confusing for guests to find the end of the line for the attraction they want. But we will have to see what the situation is like when the time comes.
Not only will this be difficult to navigate, but the temperature could pose a problem for guests. On cold days, guests will be stuck out in the cold, and on hot days, guests will be stuck in the sun. This is something to keep in mind when visiting Disneyland Resort in the future.
Currently, in Disney World, attractions go through a cleaning every two hours. This policy is required by the guidelines over in California.
This will affect wait times for guests because the Cast Members must clean every ride vehicle and run it through to dry before allowing guests back on. While an attraction may have a certain wait time, it could be longer depending on when it must be cleaned.
As Disney stated in their health and safety additions to Disneyland, plexiglass will be on many rides and queues. Zig-zag areas of the queue where people would normally be close will have plexiglass.
Many loading zones and ride vehicles will have plexiglass so that more guests can experience the attraction. The plexiglass allows guests to be closer than 6 feet safely.
Limited Capacity in Restaurants
A major requirement from the guidelines is that indoor restaurants are limited to a 25% capacity. Tables will be spread out or marked off so that parties do not sit too close to each other.
For table service restaurants, it may be harder to grab a reservation because of the capacity limit. This significantly limits the number of people a restaurant can serve in a day. It may also be harder to find a table at a quick-service restaurant because of the lack of available tables.
More Dining Locations Closed
As we’ve seen in Disney World, many dining locations are closed. We expect this to be true for Disneyland Resort as well. Several small quick-service locations or kiosks are closed or only open on weekends or holidays.
This will limit your options for dining in the parks, so you’ll want to check and see what restaurants will be open when Disneyland reopens. As soon as that information is released, we will update you all immediately.
When Disneyland reopens, guests are gonna have to get used to Mobile-Ordering. In a new statement about the health and safety procedures, Disney said Disneyland Resort is preparing to add a lot more locations to Mobile Order.
To Mobile Order, guests can go into the Disneyland app and choose which restaurant they want to order from. You can add the food items you want and then checkout and pay on your phone. When the order is ready, you will get a notification to go pick it up! It’s a simple process and will minimize contact significantly.
Disneyland Resort will most likely require guests to Mobile Order at any location that offers the service, with the exception of guests with allergies or dietary needs.
Character Cavalcades/Distanced Meet & Greets
Entertainment in Disneyland and Disney California Adventure will look much different than before the closing. To avoid causing crowds, parades will likely be replaced by character cavalcades like we’ve seen in Disney World.
If we’re lucky, Disneyland Resort will also offer distanced meet and greets on the first day back in the parks. Whether they are waving from the train station or frolicking in a field, we are hoping for some character experiences in Disneyland!
Another one of the most peculiar reopening guidelines is the suggestion of performance reservations. Although Disneyland Resort has not given any indication of what entertainment will look like when reopen, any theatrical show is encouraged to use a reservation system.
Disneyland Resort has announced that Frozen and Mickey and the Magical Map will not be returning, however, this rule will affect any live performance that occurs in the park. We predict it will look like the park pass reservations where guests choose a time to see the show. This is also done to keep crowds under control and limit capacity in theaters.
For guests coming to Disneyland Resort, this will be another reservation to keep up with on top of park pass reservations and virtual queues.
This is what we’re looking at as far as experiencing a reopened Disneyland Resort. It may not be the same as before the closures, but it is still the Happiest Place on Earth. In the meantime, we will be waiting patiently for a reopening date for Disneyland. Until then, stay tuned to DFB for the latest news on Disneyland’s reopening guidelines.
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What do you think about the Disneyland reopening guidelines? Let us know in the comments.