The Disneyland Resort is again welcoming guests back into both of its parks after being closed for over a year due to the pandemic. This morning at 8:00 AM, both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure reopened their gates and guests streamed back inside to experience the magic. And magic there was plenty to be found.
Disney fans have been waiting for the reopening of the Disneyland Resort theme parks for just as long as it has been closed. Some showed up last night in anticipation of the reopening. Many showed up in the early hours of the morning to be one of the first in line. All who attended today had purchased a ticket and made an accompanying reservation to be in the parks. Physically distanced lines snaked out on both the East and West sides of the parks ahead of the opening as guests eagerly waited to return to the Happiest Place on Earth.
Inside the gates, last-minute preparations were underway ahead of the gates being opened. Shortly after the raising of the flag, Disney CEO Bob Chapek spoke with Cast Members shortly before the gates reopened. He offered some words of inspiration on this historic day. The spot he spoke from was the same place where Walt Disney dedicated Disneyland in 1955. Minutes later, they would be welcoming guests into the parks! The DAPS MAGIC team were some of those guests on hand.
As guests streamed into the parks, the Disney leadership was not the only group of people welcoming guests back to Disneyland. Cast Members lined both sides of the streets welcoming guests back and thanking them for returning. An emotional moment, tears could be seen being shed as people felt the enormity of this moment and the heart that was accompanying it.
Many guests made their way to the castle for photos and others bolted for their favorite attractions in the parks once they were off Main Street. Inside the parks, the crowd thinned out considerably. Wait times stayed low as guests meandered around the parks, took pictures, hopped on more attractions, and re-connected with old friends.
As the day continued on, the crowds reached their maximum 25% capacity for the parks. At this level, the wait times were fairly low. Guests could get on just about any attraction they wanted to. The most popular of the day was Snow White’s Enchanted Wish in Fantasyland. This enhanced Fantasyland classic, which originally opened with the park in 1955, is better than ever! It seemed to have at least a half-hour wait for a good portion of the day. This got longer towards the end of the day. As the park closed, the queue for the attraction wrapped through Fantasy Faire, into the Hub, and even into the entrance of Frontierland!
Characters could be seen around the parks in locations where they could be seen from a safe distance. Disney was quite clever with how this was done. In general, it seemed characters could be found on Main Street at the Main Street Station, Fantasy Faire, the Small World Mall, Frontierland in Zocalo Park, New Orleans Square above the Pirates of the Caribbean area, also in Mickey’s Toontown, and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge for Disneyland. They also could be found scattered throughout Disney California Adventure in many locations that were utilized for A Touch of Disney along with a few other places.
To get food it was best to utilize mobile ordering or have a dining reservation. For the DAPS MAGIC team, both were utilized and both worked quite effectively. The team ate at Red Rose Taverne and also at Cafe Orleans. The food was good at both (with Cafe Orleans being the winner of the day!). At Cafe Orleans, the menu is now accessed through a QR code that is set down on the table on a small card. The menu can also be utilized via the Disneyland App.
As the day progressed, the crowds did seem to lighten a bit. By the time closing time neared, many of the lands of the parks were fairly empty. Over in Town Square, characters waved goodbye to guests as they left. Once the parks closed though, Main Street and the Hub stayed fairly busy as guests took last-minute photos or attempted last-minute shopping. Lines to get into the shops could be seen stretching up Main Street, USA. This, coupled with guests leaving the parks, made for the busiest moment of the day. For those not comfortable with crowds, avoid this moment by either waiting in the Hub where it isn’t as busy or leaving before the exit crowds escalate.
The main theme of the reopening day at Disneyland, however, was magic. Cast Members appeared to be excited to be sharing the magic again with whatever job they had. Guests were loving being immersed in it. With the lighter capacity, it was easier to experience more things which just added to the sense of excitement. Couple this with the reconnecting of old Disney friends and the reopening of Disneyland was much like a happy reunion. The day was a celebration of being back at Walt Disney’s original Magic Kingdom. And tomorrow, another day of celebrating will begin!