What to Expect With Riding Rides When Disneyland Reopens

I think I can say many of us are eagerly awaiting the reopening of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. I’ve discussed, before, what to expect in general with the parks based on experiences in Walt Disney World. But, here’s some specific things to consider with the rides and attractions that are now said to be reopening.

Galaxy’s Edge

Firstly, the big one. The coveted prize at the end of Main Street…and Critter Country…and the end of Frontierland. Anyway, both attractions in the land will be reopening with the park. Rise of the Resistance is already slated to have the virtual queue back. I am assuming it will be a similar set up like Flordia where guests can make a boarding pass reservation at 7 am as long as each guest has a park reservation and ticket for Disneyland. If that window closes and no boarding pass is obtained, then (again assuming) that there will be another opportunity at 1 pm for later in the day.

One thing to note is that Disney’s Hollywood Studios version has been running since July and now has been fairly good about accommodating many guests without much downtime. Disneyland’s hasn’t run in over a year with guests. It means that there is no guarantee of actually riding even with a boarding pass, whereas it’s a fairly certain thing in Florida now. I went to the Walt Disney World Resort in August 2020 and there was one Hollywood Studios visit where I didn’t ride it at all. The next time on that trip I got a group that was earlier in the day, but knew of many that did not get to ride. Having been back on a couple other trips, it is fairly easy to get a pass and ride. I’m bracing myself that it won’t be so when Disneyland reopens. But, look forward to that getting better as the months go on.

Smuggler’s Run is going to be tricky to predict. When DHS first opened, it was one party/household per vehicle. Since then they have installed some plexiglass dividers to allow more guests from different parties in one pod. Will the latter be the same at Disneyland? It might not. The current rules of the state for theme parks is that 3 households can be together at the parks, but it sounds like they have to be somehow registered together. The way it sounds it can’t be complete strangers of 3 different households together either. It is likely, then, that the vehicles of Smuggler’s Run will just have one party at a time where everyone is in somewhat the same household and no strangers are involved. The unfortunate thing that comes with it is a little bit longer wait time, though with limited capacity it was not long at all in Florida which should be relatively the same at Disneyland.

One more thing before moving on from Galaxy’s Edge, and it doesn’t have to do with rides. Don’t expect quite the free-range roaming around there once was within the land. The marketplace area has had limited capacity, so only a certain amount of guests can be in at a time. It also means one party per stall. There has sometimes been waits for other shops as well, though this has happened even pre-pandemic in Galaxy’s Edge.

small world queue
A view of the it’s a small world queue in the Magic Kingdom with plexiglass and markers

Lines…Lines Everywhere

Lines and queues for rides are going to look worse than they are. Part of it is because of physical distancing. The other part is because there’s a mandate for how long someone is allowed to spend indoors for attractions at a theme park. It is requiring many of the queues to barely be inside at all. Disney is figuring out how that will work as I write this, I’m sure. But, it will be a very interesting set up in ways that will make the park as a whole seem very different.

In Walt Disney World, because of physical distancing, the end of lines have been a bit far from the entrance of the ride. The wait time will say 30-40 minutes but it will look like a 2 hour line. And it’s most likely 20-25 minutes for a 30 minute line in that case. The one thing to keep an eye on is a cast member with a sign that says an attraction name followed by “End of the line”.

Here’s an example, but it’s based on an assumption, so don’t take this as fact…

For Peter Pan’s Flight, the majority of the line could just be in that more outside switchback portion we’re all accustomed to seeing. But, with distancing it still might not be enough to hold the limited capacity amount of guests. I’m thinking it could stretch to toward Snow White’s Grotto, that side area to the right of the castle with the wishing well. The reason is to keep it as outdoors as possible. BUT, it doesn’t mean the line is necessarily 30 minutes. It also means that there will be that cast member with the sign and you have to exit out of that Fantasyland courtyard, through the main castle gate and go to the right to get to the end of the line. So, again, just keep an eye on where the end of the line is at. It will be quite different than it ever has been.

Seat’s Taken…

Some of us long time visitors have certain seats we like on certain rides. Unfortunately, we won’t get to ask to wait for that particular row when we get back at first. Because of distancing, parties will have to be between a few rows in a vehicle, and in order to balance certain rides…many times the ones with watercraft…it means you probably won’t be in the very front. I’ve had some times in Walt Disney World that I had to sit in the third row of an empty boat because of how the boats need to balance on the attractions.

HOWEVER, plexiglass allows for more rows to be taken up. However to the however is that I don’t know how the parks will handle the “3 household” rule. If it means that, with plexiglass barriers installed, more rows can be used, than an entire vehicle will be filled. We just have to wait and see, but it’s something to keep in mind. Even with the plexiglass barriers it is very rare that I got to wait for a row I wanted in Florida. Most likely you can ask, but a cast member will say you can’t and have to proceed to the row they tell you to go to.

Where this will be most odd for us common Disneylanders is on the Mark Twain and the Disneyland Railroad. We will most likely get assigned a row on the Disneyland Railroad trains. And the Mark Twain will likely have some green dots that we are going to get used to seeing. These dots are for groups to stay on. The good news is that, if done like Magic Kingdom, you get to pick the dot. The bad news is you stay there the whole trip and there’s not really moving around the ship.

The Same But Different

These are just a few items to note in the return to the parks. Again, it’s all based on experiences in Florida and things here in California are a little different. One things for sure, just enjoy being in the park again. Who cares if there’s an hour wait, it’s an hour wait IN DISNEYLAND!!! Listen to the cast members, they are there to help and provide safety for everyone. Know that it’s going to look different for some time before it gets back to normal. But, again, we get to return to the happiest place on Earth, so enjoy and breathe it all in…through your face coverings.

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