The happiest place on Earth is about to get a whole lot happier.
In a blog post on Wednesday, Disneyland Resort announced that both Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park will open with limited capacities on April 30, more than a year after their closure due to the COVID pandemic. The resort’s hotels will also begin a phased reopening, with Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa opening on April 29 and Disney Vacation Club Villas opening on May 2, while Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel and the Disneyland Hotel will reopen at a later date.
“The day all of us have long been waiting for is almost here,” said Ken Potrock, president of the Disneyland Resort. “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.” Disney emphasized those cast members as essential to the reopening, suggesting that their beloved characters will pop up in new and unexpected ways as they remain mindful of physical distancing. Indeed, cast members will be invited to the parks in advance of the April 30 reopening to be the first guests back.
Of course, the reopening will see a number of changes from pre-COVID times. Enhanced health and safety measures include physical distancing guidelines, so don’t count on seeing any parades or nighttime spectaculars until a later date. A number of dining locations within the park will have moved to mobile ordering on the official Disneyland app as the primary way to order food and drinks. On the brighter side, returning guests will be the first to enjoy the newly reimagined Snow White’s Enchanted Wish. Unfortunately, the Avengers Campus, originally slated to open in July 2020, will not be ready at reopening but is set to reopen later this year.
The most important changes regard park capacity, which has led the resort to adopt “a new theme park reservation system that requires all guests to obtain a reservation for park entry in advance.” Guests will need both a park reservation and valid admission for the same park on the same date in order to enter. And, as per state guidelines, only California residents will be able to visit the parks for the time being.
The announcement comes after earlier plans to reopen in July of last year were scrapped as California guidelines shifted. These new plans seem to be on firmer ground, as California theme parks can reopen starting April 1, and Disney California Adventure already has their sold-out “A Touch of Disney” special event set to run from March 18 through April 19. Here’s hoping vaccine deployment keeps those plans a reality.
Disney reiterates that attractions and other offerings may be modified or unavailable, or will have limited capacity upon reopening, so encourages would-be guests to check their website for the most up-to-date information on what to expect. Things won’t quite be back to normal, even at Disneyland, but this is a big step in that direction.
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