We’re getting close to the end of the pandemic (hopefully, knock on wood) and both Disneyland and Walt Disney World are experiencing some growing pains.
On the west coast, Disneyland is prepping for their April 30th opening date, while over on the east coast, Walt Disney World has been open for many months, but encountering hiccups along the way. Let’s break down how the Disney parks are going one week into April 2021, over a year after the pandemic shuttered both parks in an unprecedented manner.
Disneyland is still on track to open on April 30th, and we have a ton of new information about tickets, reservations, and which rides will be open.
Firstly, you’ll need a reservation, which we kind of already knew. But now we know that that system will be opening on April 12th, so just 5 days from now. You can visit the reservation system here. Here are two relevant tidbits from the reservation page that you’ll need to take into consideration while planning your trip to the parks:
All Guests ages 3 and older must have a theme park reservation and a valid ticket to the same park on the same date. Theme park reservations can be made up to 60 days or more in advance, subject to availability. To accommodate as many types of ticket holders as possible, reservations for select dates may be made available on a rolling basis. Check for updated availability.
Until further notice, only California residents may visit the parks, and in groups no larger than 3 households, in line with current state guidelines. Proof of residency may be required. Visit https://covid19.ca.gov/ for current state orders and updated information. Guests who are under isolation or quarantine orders must not enter the Disneyland Resort.
And there’s also this:
- Guests with Park Hopper tickets may visit the other park after 1 PM. Learn more about Park Hopper tickets.
- A park reservation must be made for each day of entry. If you have a multi-day ticket, you will be required to make a park reservation for each date of your visit.
- Limit one theme park reservation per Guest, per day.
- Theme park reservations cannot be modified, but can be cancelled by visiting My Theme Park Reservations. If you’d like to cancel an existing reservation and book a new one, please first check on the availability of reservations for your new desired date and/or park.
It’s a lot of hoops to jump through, but it all makes sense. If you want the joy of going to the park, you just need to keep track of all the details, dot your i’s and cross your t’s, and, oh, don’t forget you’ll need a mask! Of course. I mean, a year into this that should be a given to all of us, but some people still don’t quite get the mask thing yet, so please remember to bring one with you!
Not all attractions will be open on April 30th, however. According to a list published on the OC Register, the following rides will be closed:
Closed Disneyland attractions
- Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
- Chip ‘n Dale Treehouse
- Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes
- Disneyland Monorail
- Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln
- Donald’s Boat
- Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage
- Frontierland Shootin’ Exposition
- Goofy’s Playhouse
- Jungle Cruise
- Main Street Cinema
- Matterhorn Bobsleds
- Mickey’s House
- Minnie’s House
- Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island
- Sailing Ship Columbia
- Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough
- Star Wars Launch Bay
- Storybook Land Canal Boats
Closed Disney California Adventure Attractions
- Animation Academy
- Bakery Tour
- Blue Sky Cellar
- Disney Junior Live on Stage
- Golden Zephyr
- Grizzly River Run
- Red Car Trolley
- Redwood Creek Challenge Trail
- Sorcerers Workshop
A lot of these closures make sense. They involve tight indoor locations (Finding Nemo’s Submarine Voyage, Main Street Cinema, Mickey and Minnie’s House) or extremely close interactions with other guests not in your party (Goofy’s Bounce House). Others are closed for other reasons, however. The Bobsleds go down so frequently it’s often a coin flip if they’ll be open on any given day I choose to visit. And then we have the Jungle Cruise, which is going through a revamp to remove a lot of the offensive content.
Overall, this is looking like a good opening plan. I hope it rolls out well and people can experience a bit of magic safely.
Walt Disney World
Meanwhile, Walt Disney World is going through some things. Let’s start with the incident heard ’round the world. One guy really hated the rules in place at a Disney Springs restaurant and chose to pitch a complete fit about it. Per a local news station:
A Louisiana man who said he spent $15,000 on a Disney World vacation learned to his misfortune that “the most magical place on Earth” has very real rules to maintain public health during the coronavirus pandemic.
Kelly Sills, 47, of Baton Rouge, was arrested on Feb. 13 after he refused to get his temperature checked at a Disney Springs restaurant, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office told news outlets. He later pleaded not guilty to trespassing.
An arrest report said Sills skipped the restaurant’s temperature screening tent, refused to go back to be tested and wouldn’t leave the property once asked to by Disney and the deputies.
Some internet sleuths have discovered that this guy has a history of being a really terrible person, so this behavior tracks with his record, it seems.
This obnoxious incident notwithstanding, there are some signs that things will be gradually changing at Walt Disney World in the very near future. They will be updating their mask policy so that guests may remove them for pictures. They’ll also be opening up a vaccine site for their cast members, so hopefully, that’ll help balance out any potential risks from the brief maskless moments they will be encountering. Good for them! Though I wish the cast members had an opportunity prior to this to get vaccinated, at least it’s going to happen soon.
I won’t be going to any Disney parks for a while. But for those of you who do, make note of these changes and please please be kind to cast members trying to keep your experience safe.
Author: Angel Wilson
Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. They earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. They have contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. They’ve also written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. They identify as queer.
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