After more than a year of being closed, Disneyland has finally reopened to the public. The famous park had shut its doors on March 14, 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic and reopened on April 30, 2021. While some changes have been made to maintain safety standards, the park’s spirit shone just as bright as usual.
Die hard fans would stop at nothing to be part of this momentous occasion of the park reopening after the longest closure in its 65 + year history. Hopeful Disneyland guests had waited over 5 hours on a virtual queue to purchase tickets for Disneyland two weeks ago when they first went on sale.
Those lucky enough to snag reopening day tickets would be able to step back into The Happiest Place on Earth as early as 9AM on April 30. However, crowds of guests lined up in front of the park gates well before its 9AM opening time in an attempt to get a jump start on the day they had been waiting over a year for. These early birds were met with a pleasant surprise when Disneyland allowed guests to begin entering the park at 8AM.
While the park had made statements earlier in the month about requiring proof of residency or California IDs in order to enter during their phased reopening, parkgoers were pleased to see that these credentials were not checked. Guests with an eligible ticket registered on their Disneyland app were able to scan and walk through the ticket gates without providing any further documentation. Guests planning to return to Disneyland should be sure to have the appropriate credentials handy as Disneyland may decide to request them at any time.
Once past the tickets, guests were welcomed by cast members lining Main Street, USA. Standing and waving along the street, the cast members seemed just as excited to be back at Disneyland as guests did.
As Disneyland is only allowing California residents to purchase tickets at the moment, queues and crowds were manageable, even on reopening day. Many popular rides had steady queues throughout the day of 30 minutes or less, including factoring in the extra social distancing protocols.
Due to COVID-19, experiencing Disneyland will not be exactly as it was prior to the pandemic. The park has instituted safety protocols such as temperature checks before entering the park, mask requirements, social distancing and plexiglass dividers on rides. Several restaurants remain closed and those that are open now offer QR codes to view the menus. Menus themselves are somewhat limited for the time being as well.
In spite of the the new COVID changes, the extra guidelines, and rules set in place at the parks, the reopening of Disneyland seemed to go off without a hitch. And though many aspects of returning to Disney post pandemic have been altered, one thing remains the same: the spirit, magic and happiness felt by the guests and cast members is still live and well.