America’s favorite theme park, Disneyland, previously closed its doors on March 16, 2020, amidst the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and finally re-opened a little over 1 year later on April 30, 2021. This was the resort’s longest closure in its history, having only fully closed twice before: when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 and once again on September 11, 2001. If you haven’t visited the Happiest Place on Earth since those wistful pre-pandemic days, you may have a lot of questions regarding precautions and any new attractions that have debuted since then. Here is everything you should know before you return to visit the home of Mickey Mouse for one of your next memorable Orange County events.
- You can no longer buy a ticket at the gate. Because each park is now only operating at a limited capacity, you must purchase a ticket in advance on their website.
- While it is strongly recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), guests are not required to be vaccinated or provide a recent negative COVID-19 test in order to enter any of the Disney properties, including Disneyland Park, Disney California Adventure, Downtown Disney, or any of the onsite hotels (The Disneyland Hotel, Paradise Pier Hotel, and The Grand Californian Resort).
- However, all guests are required to wear a facemask covering their noses at all times.
Goodbye Annual Passes, Hello Magic Keys
If you are a veteran of the parks, then you are already familiar with the Annual Pass system, which was introduced all the way back in 1984. Last year, they were officially discontinued and have been replaced with Magic Keys Passes. Like Annual Passes, they have a tier list that you can choose from. More extensive information on the Magic Key System can be found here.
You’ve Never Had a Friend Like Him
Fastpass was a system that really helped complete the Disney experience. If the line for your favorite ride was too long, you could grab a Fastpass ticket that was completely free and return to the ride between the designated hours printed on the ticket. Not only that, but you could also get into the Fastpass line.
Since December 8, 2021, this has been replaced with Disney Genie and Genie+ (Plus) as well as the Lightning Lane Entrance. If you choose to use it, it’s important to completely understand what exactly it does and how it differs from Fastpass, as it can be a bit confusing at first.
If you haven’t already visited Galaxy’s Edge, which opened in May 2019, now’s your chance! With two new attractions based on the beloved Star Wars franchise, you and your family are bound to enjoy this brand new adventure featuring some of your favorite characters from the legendary film series.
Over at Disney California Adventure, It’s A Bug’s Land has been replaced by Avengers Campus. It opened on June 4, 2021, the main attraction being the new Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure. It is an interactive screen ride where you can join Peter Parker on his quest to defeat local evil!
There is even more to look forward to! In 2023, Mickey and Minnie’s Lightrail Runway is scheduled to open in Mickey’s Toontown. The attraction is already in Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World, Florida, having replaced The Great Movie Ride. How’s about that for stunning events in Orange County?
While all these changes may seem overwhelming at first, the overall atmosphere of the Resort has not changed. Plan well, whether you are looking to meet your favorite characters or take a journey on the world’s most musical, mighty satisfactual log flume ride, and you are sure to enjoy your visit for your most memorable and magical Orange County event yet. Have a Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah time!
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