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The Magic Kingdom Opens Its Doors Once Again

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From the drop of the red rope each morning to the smells of waffle cones and candy as you walk down Main Street, there is no place more iconic in SoCal than Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. Californians can once again experience the joy that Disneyland brings as the park reopens for the first time in over a year on April 30.

California Adventure held the “Touch of Disney,” a limited-capacity event that allowed patrons to enjoy the park’s many famous food options, such as their dole whips and freshly baked bread from the Boudin factory, from March 18 to April 19. However, rides were not open during this short-term event, and the feature will be eliminated upon this most recent opening.

For patrons looking to return this April, the park will operate at about 15% capacity. In addition, there are limitations on how tickets are purchased. According to the Disneyland website, all park guests over the age of three must purchase their tickets ahead of time. To enter either California Adventure or Disneyland, a reservation and ticket are required on the date guests choose. Due to the expected high demand for the park, patrons must check whether a reservation for their desired date is available, then purchase tickets for said date. After purchase, they can book a reservation from the given date. Purchasing the ticket prior to booking the park reservation is highly recommended, as a guaranteed purchase must occur before filling a day slot. 

Patrons purchasing tickets must be aware that this purchase alone will not guarantee a visit, which is why Disney has guaranteed that all tickets purchased in 2021 are valid until the end of 2022. Multi-day tickets that are purchased within the year must be used within 13 days of the first visit or by January of 2023. There are many uncertainties with ticket availability as the pandemic reopenings continue and more slots open up for patrons, but up-to-date information is always available through the Disney website or their mobile app. 

Photo provided by Disneyland Resort @Disneyland/Twitter

Aside from the limitations on park reservations, not all attractions and events within both parks are available. Most notably, parades and nighttime events such as Disneyland’s famous firework shows will be paused as they garner large crowds and do not allow for social distancing. Many other popular attractions are also not open to the public in this first phase of reopening such as Disneyland’s monorail, Finding Nemo’s Submarine Voyage, Jungle Cruise and the Matterhorn Bobsleds. For those wanting to visit California Adventure, Grizzly River Run will be temporarily closed, while other attractions such as the Sorcerer’s Workshop and Animation Academy have not set dates for reopening. All information regarding open attractions can be found on the website

Guests who choose to join Mickey and friends are expected to wear a mask at all times unless they are enjoying park favorites such as Mickey-shaped pretzels found throughout the park or ice cream from Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor on Main Street. They are also subject to social distancing methods such as waiting in virtual queues for certain rides and downloading the mobile app to ensure that lines do not become crowded or long. Guests must also have their temperature taken upon entering either park and will be sent away if their temperature exceeds 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. It is also highly recommended that guests do not pay for anything in cash, as cashless transactions better comply with social distancing and the no-contact environment Disney wishes to create for its guests. 

Photo provided by Disneyland.disney.go.com 

With other amusement park openings, it is common to see that patrons refuse to wear masks or fail to comply with other regulations; however, as explicitly stated by Disney, the park reserves the right to remove any guest. The park also has the right to cancel any reservation made by guests should unforeseen circumstances arise. In this situation, refunds will be offered as they have been granted for tickets purchased prior to the closure in March 2020. Also important to note for frequent Disney visitors is that the annual pass program has been suspended and future purchase of annual passes is not available for the foreseeable future. To visit, a current ticket is needed along with proof of residency, as tickets are only available to California residents at the time to prohibit travel. 

Ultimately, going to crowded areas such as Disneyland is not recommended by the CDC.  However, for parties that are vaccinated and do not have close friends or family members that are immunocompromised or vulnerable to the spread of the virus, they can choose to spend a day at the happiest place on earth. Not all attractions are available and entrance into the park is limited and uncertain, but for those who have the chance to get into the park, it can be a refreshing start to post-pandemic normalcy that will be fun for the whole family. 

Carisa DeSantos is an Entertainment Intern for the spring 2021 quarter. She can be reached at caridesantos@gmail.com.