Disneyland has endured the longest closure in its history due to the COVID-19 pandemic and unfortunately there is still no reopening date on the calendar just yet.
Keep reading our guide for everything you need to know about the new policies in place, exclusive come back travel discounts, and how to still plan for a magical vacation.
Disneyland Resort and Hotel Opening Date Delayed
Disney announced on June 24th that unfortunately the proposed reopening date of July 17th for the Disneyland Resort and July 23rd for the Disney resort hotels will not be possible. The State of California has not been issuing any reopening guidelines for theme parks and the word is that Governor Newsom is in talks with the parks and we will be receiving guidelines “very soon.”
Disney held a small virtual press conference on Sept. 22nd and implored the Governor to release guidelines with Disney parks chairman Josh D'Amaro stating, “We're ready. It's time.” We expect to hear news very soon as Disney, along with local Orange County officials, have been more vocal in the past week with requesting theme park guidelines in light of the negative impact the Disneyland closure has had on the local economy.
Disneyland Safety Measures Already in Place
Now that Downtown Disney is open, you can access the esplanade and get a peek at the front gates of Disneyland and California Adventure. You can see that Disney has already installed plexiglass barriers on the gates and ticket lines which gives an good indication that once an opening date is approved that they will be ready!
The parks will manage attendance with a new reservation system. All guests, including Disneyland Annual Passholders, will be required to obtain a park reservation guaranteeing entry. These reservations will be subject to availability. We don't have any further details on this yet, but we will share them with our newsletter email list when they are released. Walt Disney World's reservation system gives us a good idea of what to expect with on-site guests having first priority, then annual passholders, and other ticket holders.
Some experiences will be temporarily suspended like parades, nighttime spectaculars, and other entertainment options that may create crowds. Characters will still be present in the park and if you're following our Walt Disney World reopening guide, you can see how Disney has cleverly incorporated characters on horses, boats, and parade floats to still bring magic to the parks while effectively being distant.
This year will definitely be different in regards to our usual crowd patterns and with reduced capacity limitations on the horizon, it may in fact be a perfect time to visit during a usually crowded time (I'm looking at you New Years Eve!) and have a great experience.
Downtown Disney Disneyland Reopening Procedures
Downtown Disney reopened on July 9th with new safety and limited capacity measures in place. Disney learned a lot from the Walt Disney World Disney Springs reopening to help them successfully reopen Downtown Disney. Keep reading for a photo and video tour of opening day and must know new policies for visiting Downtown Disney!
You can see our full video tour of reopening day at Downtown Disney on our Facebook page:
DOWNTOWN DISNEY – ✨😍✨ Full tour! All info —> https://mickeyvisit.com/disneyland-opening/
Posted by Disneyland Secrets on Thursday, July 9, 2020
When guests arrive, they will be directed to park at Simba Lot (at Disneyland Drive and Katella Ave). The area will have limited hours from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. during the initial opening phases. Some location hours will vary. There are reduced capacity measures in place to help create effective social distancing. If Downtown Disney is at capacity they will let guests in as others leave throughout the day.
All guests are required to wear masks and go through temperature check points before entering. The area is being constantly cleaned and the cast members are doing a great job of encouraging social distancing.
Which locations will be open in Downtown Disney?
The majority of the shopping and dining locations at the Downtown Disney District are now open with the World of Disney, Disney Home Store, and Marceline's Confectionery being the most popular. Disney will use a mobile wait list to manage store capacity when needed.
Unrelated to the COVID-19 pandemic, The VOID has been ordered to close and it's been reported they've been served with a Notice of Event Default and Lease Termination. They have been ordered to cease all use of Disney promotional material, trademarks, etc. So The VOID is not open but for different reasons.
How is shopping different?
- Mobile Wait List: At some retail locations, including the World of Disney store and Marceline’s Confectionery, a mobile wait list system might be used to manage the number of Guests shopping when the location and/or queue are at capacity. Guests can choose to provide their name and mobile number to receive a text message when they are able to return.
- New Product Launches: Guests can still find new merchandise at the Downtown Disney District. However, monthly program releases and limited-edition merchandise will be by reservation only. Guests can visit the Merchandise Events page for more information on future buying opportunities.
- Dressing Rooms: For the time being, dressing rooms are not be available for use.
- Returns: Eligible returns and exchanges will be accepted at the World of Disney store, as well as the other Disney-owned and -operated locations in the Downtown Disney District, subject to the returns and exchange policy.
What is dining like?
Dining locations have been reopened to incorporate the enhanced health and safety measures, physical distancing, use of face coverings, increased cleaning, and limited-contact Guest services.
To promote physical distancing and touchless transactions, a number of changes include:
- Increased outdoor patio-style seating
- Parties seated at tables 6 feet apart
- Digital or single-use menus available at many locations
For some table service restaurants, Guests will be able to make advance dining reservations by booking online. Some dining locations may also use their own reservation system or virtual waitlist.
Face Covering Rules and Clarifications
Disney has updated their policy regarding face coverings to help guests be informed on what type of face covering is allowed in the parks. As a reminder, guests aged 2 years of age and older must wear a face covering at all times (including water rides) except when dining.
- All face coverings (whether disposable or reusable) must:
- Be made with at least two layers of breathable material
- Fully cover the nose and mouth and secure under the chin
- Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
- Be secured with ties or ear loops and allow the guest to remain hands-free
- Unacceptable styles:
- At this time, based on guidance from health authorities, neck gaiters and open-chin triangle bandannas are not acceptable face coverings nor face coverings containing vales, mesh, or holes of any kind.
- Costume masks are also not considered appropriate and are prohibited from being worn, in alignment with Disney’s existing rules.
Disney currently has face masks available for $6 each or four for $20 in World of Disney including some cute park inspired prints like Haunted Manson or it's a small world!
Universal Studios Hollywood CityWalk Open
Universal CityWalk is now open with preventative health policies in place such as:
- Limiting capacity and following social distancing guidelines throughout all entertainment venues, restaurants and shops throughout the destination.
- Increasing cleaning and disinfection procedures, and frequently cleaning all high touch surfaces.
- All team members will undergo temperature checks and wear face coverings.
- All team members will participate in extensive training on new procedures.
- Face coverings and temperature checks required for guests.
Read more about the new safety updates for Universal CityWalk here.
Disneyland New Policy Updates
Disney's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Pamela Hymel announced Disney is working with colleagues in operations, local health and government authorities and US Travel Association on a set of guidelines to ensure the safety of guests during a phased Disneyland opening.
These measures include:
- Physical distancing and capacity measures: Managing guest density in queues, restaurants, hotels, ride vehicles and other facilities throughout the park and across the resort. These measures will be taken to implement physical distancing guidelines based on guidance from health authorities, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and appropriate government agencies. This will also likely include implementation of guest capacity measures to comply with state and federal guidelines. Disney is exploring the use of technology to aid with these efforts with the use of the Disney App that we've seen used for virtual queues at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
- Cleanliness and sanitization: Increased cleaning and disinfection, determining where that should take place (for example, in high-traffic areas), and the cleaning products and processes used.
- Screening and prevention support: Following guidance from the government and the medical community regarding enhanced screening procedures and prevention measures, including those related to personal protective equipment (PPE), such as face coverings. Some measures, like adding hand sanitizers and hand washing stations across the resorts, have already been implemented.
- Face coverings are required for ages two and up. Face coverings must have ties or ear loops- no gaiters or bandanas are allowed.
- Cast training: Further emphasizing Disney's strong culture of health and safety amongst cast members, and continuing to provide new training and reinforcement closer to reopening.
- Parades and Nighttime Spectaculars: activities that draw large group gatherings will return at a later date.
- Character Meet and Greets: Character meet and greets temporarily unavailable- characters will still be in the park in new ways to entertain and greet guests- likely from a distance.
- Check out how Walt Disney World has been integrating their characters by getting creative with horses, boats, and parade floats!
It's important to note that Disney is doing their best to create a safe environment for guests and cast members for Disneyland opening while also keeping the experience as magical as possible. Remember: these restrictions won't be in place forever.
Walt Disney World Reservation System
Walt Disney World has released the full details for how guests will make reservations for upcoming park visits through the 2021 year. The most important thing here to note is how different Walt Disney World and Disneyland are due to the size of the resorts, amount of hotels, annual passholders, and tourist demographics.
However, we still learned some interesting tidbits from this announcement that could give us insight into how Disneyland may proceed. Here are the most important takeaways:
- Disney World on-site resort guests get first priority at reservations, followed by Annual Passholders, and regular ticketholders.
- Guests have been given advance notice to make their reservations. The reservation system wasn't rolled out ‘quietly' or with no notice.
- Guests use their Disney account to make their reservations.
- Disney World initially paused 2020 ticket sales which have now resumed.
- Guests looking to travel in 2021 can make reservations through September 2021.
Again, it's important to keep in mind that Disney World and Disneyland are very different so we might not see the same policies implemented at Disneyland. For example, our travel partner has confirmed Disneyland will allow park hopping while it is not currently available at Disney World.
You can read more about Walt Disney World's reservation system in our guide.
Walt Disney World and Disney Springs Opening Details
While the policies enacted at Walt Disney World may look different for Disneyland, it's helpful to look at what they're doing to get an idea of what we might expect at Disneyland. The announced policy changes fall in life closely with the recommendations by medical experts and travel partners Disney described above.
Walt Disney World follows similar safety measures that we've seen in place for Disney Springs and other Florida theme parks. These include:
- Certain Experiences Temporarily Suspended: Experiences that draw large group gatherings– such as parades and nighttime spectaculars – will return at a later date. In addition, “high-touch” experiences such as makeover opportunities, playgrounds and character meet and greets will remain temporarily unavailable. Characters will be in the parks, at a distance, to still greet guests.
- Reduced capacity: Walt Disney World will have a reduced guest capacity and an advanced reservation system in place to manage attendance. All guests will be required to obtain a reservation for park entry in advance. More details about this new reservation system will be available soon.
- Screening and prevention support: Guests 2 years of age and older and cast members will be required to wear appropriate face coverings in theme parks and common areas of resort hotels. Face coverings must have ear loops or ties- no gaiters or bandanas allowed. All guests and cast members will also undergo temperature screenings prior to entering a theme park.
- Cleanliness and sanitization: Increased cleaning and disinfection, determining where that should take place (for example, in high-traffic areas), and the cleaning products and processes used. Cashless transactions are recommended.
- Physical distancing: Managing guest density in queues, restaurants, hotels, ride vehicles and other facilities throughout the park and across the resort.
- New Signage: Disney also revealed a list of new signs to remind guests of hand washing, touchless payment, distancing measures, etc.
- Mask Relief Areas: There will be designed ‘guest relaxation' areas for guests to safely remove their masks and get a break from wearing them throughout the park. More details coming soon on how this will be implemented and what safety procedures will be in place for these areas.
- Reduced Operating Hours: As of now Disney World's operating hours will be much shorter with an average time of operation from 9AM-7PM. Over time, along with capacity, Disney World will begin extending operating hours based on the circumstances surrounding the pandemic.
We will keep things updated as we learn more about these new policies and Disney's commitment to safety.
You can read more about how Walt Disney World is handling their reopening in regards to dining, FastPass+ reservations, vacation packages, and preventative health measures in our guide.
Get Away Today Comeback Offers for Anaheim Area Hotels
Local Anaheim area hotels are offering unprecedented discount rates to offer incentive for travel for the rest of the 2020 year. Now is a great time to get a fantastic deal on a fabulous Good Neighbor hotel near Disneyland.
We often stay at these Anaheim area hotels and have magical experiences. Some of these local area hotels are even closer to the resort than the official resort hotels. When you book with Get Away Today you get even more reduced rates along with the potential of other perks like free parking, breakfast, waived resort fees, and more.
You can read some of our staff reviews on a few of our favorite neighboring hotels within walking distance to Disneyland below:
- Clarion Review
- Howard Johnson Anaheim Review
- Best Western PLUS Park Place Inn & Mini-Suites Review
- Get Away Today Service Review
With so many hotels to choose from, you can find a great deal for a place that fits your family with these amazing comeback offers. Click here to start your vacation planning!>
What to Expect in 2020 for Disneyland Opening
The coronavirus pandemic caused many construction projects to be delayed so one of the biggest questions on guests' minds is how this year will pan out with everything we've been looking forward to on Disneyland's schedule.
We are still waiting on a new re-opening date for Avengers Campus. Before the March closure, Disney announced an opening date of July 18th and then quietly removed that date from the official website. As of now the website for Avengers Campus still just reads ‘opening soon' but we anticipate we'll have a reopening date once Disneyland can safely reopen. Right now, Disney is focusing on reopening and implementing new safety procedures so it's safe to assume we might have to wait a bit for a new date for Avengers Campus. Read all about Avengers Campus here!>
Disney was in the middle of a few major and minor refurbishments before the closure for popular attractions like Haunted Mansion and Snow White's Scary Adventures. Snow White was more than a run of the mill refurbishment as Disney announced additional scenes added to the ride. All we can do is watch the Disneyland calendar on this one- it's safe to say that these refurbishments are still in need of completion and the opening dates for these attractions will have been delayed.
Halloween and Holiday Season
Unfortunately the special Halloween ticketed event, Oogie Boogie Bash, has been cancelled for the 2020 year. No word yet on how the closure will impact the holiday season but since Disneyland doesn't have a specific holiday party they don't have as much adjustments to make as Disney World does with their holiday parties.
Tips for Planning a Disneyland Vacation During this Unusual Time
We get it- planning a vacation right now is difficult. It's hard to anticipate what the world will look like in a few weeks much less a few months away. All you can do is go into this with a balance of optimism and plan realistically! We have a few tips to help you- many of our own staff has had their vacations impacted by the closure so much of this advice is based on our own personal experiences!
Take Advantage of the Discounts Offered
Get Away Today is also offering an enormous amount of offers right now including heavily discounted tickets and special comeback offers for local area hotels. The local Anaheim economy depends on tourism from Disneyland guests and the area hotels are providing many incentives for guests to visit in 2020.
Seriously, this is the year to visit Disneyland and save a bucket load of money. If you want to visit this year take advantage of these offers!
Book Airlines with Refundable Options
If you're rebooking a trip through an airline or booking one for the first time, many of the airlines are being pretty generous on waiving change fees for rebooking and offering flexible options. Another thing I noticed when researching all these new policies in affect due to the COVID-19 concerns, many airlines are extending this flexibility to future travel which can help reassure customers that if this continues to impact travel- you can get a refund.
Whatever you end up needing to book whether it is airfare, shuttle tickets, etc. make sure that it is all refundable so you can plan with peace of mind.
Get Refundable Tickets and Hotel Options
This is one of the reasons why I absolutely love Get Away Today! We often plan our Disney vacations up to a year in advance and they offer so many great add on options to cover an unexpected circumstances.
Get Away Today offers refundable ticket options for an additional $25 per ticket purchase which allows you the option of refunding your park tickets! This is a great way to ease any hesitation about planning your Disney Parks vacation. Park tickets are also valid through 2020 and can be rescheduled. They are the only ticket reseller that offers the refundable ticket option.
If you book your hotel and tickets through Get Away Today, consider purchasing their Peace of Mind package which allows you full refundability on your hotel and any tickets in your vacation package. I always use this option regardless because you never know what might come up. But also keep in mind, if your travel was or will be impacted by a closure Get Away Today will work with you on rescheduling with no penalty fees. They have been absolutely fantastic to everyone during this- I cannot applaud them enough. Support a small business and book with them for your trip!
You can contact 855-GET-AWAY for more information and get things rolling to plan your trip for Disneyland opening!
Plan Your Disneyland Opening Vacation!
Keep reading our blog to keep you updated on everything you need to know to prepare for Disneyland opening! We have a team of writers working hard to keep you updated weekly on events in the parks and tips for navigating the magic. Subscribe to our free deals newsletter to receive helpful planning information, exclusive Disney deals, and access to the lowest priced Disney tickets anywhere. You can find more information on planning your vacation here: