Disneyland and Disney California Adventure reopen today

Disneyland and Disney California Adventure are reopening Friday after an unprecedented 13-month closure, welcoming guests to stroll down Main Street USA, pay a visit to the Haunted Mansion and scream down Splash Mountain as the COVID-19 pandemic loosens its grip on the state.

In the 66-year history of Disneyland, the theme park has been shut for extreme circumstances only a few times — after the assassination of President Kennedy and following the 1994 Northridge earthquake, for example — but before the pandemic struckin March 2020, none of those closures lasted longer than a day.

Now, with a slew of coronavirus safety adjustments, the Anaheim parks are welcoming back their fans.

Among other precautions, park attendance is capped at 25% of capacity. Guests and employees must wear masks, and people who don’t live together must maintain physical distancing in queues and on rides.

Don’t expect any parades or fireworks shows — those tend to cause excited parkgoers to cluster too closely together. Costumed characters such as Mickey Mouse and Goofy won’t be giving out hugs, but they will be posing for pictures and waving from balconies and stages.

The changes don’t seem to be deterring hard-core fans. Tickets to Disneyland are already sold out for the entire six weeks after opening day, according to the Disneyland online reservation page. Tickets for Disney California Adventure are sold out for six days during the first month. A few dates in May are still available for visitors who buy a park hopper ticket to visit both parks in the same day.

The parks are only allowing in California residents. Visitors must attest that they are Californians when they buy tickets online, and Disney representatives suggest bringing a photo ID as backup confirmation.

In allowing theme parks to reopen this month, California initially prohibited the parks from accepting out-of-state visitors, but it has since ended that restriction. Universal Studios Hollywood and SeaWorld San Diego are among the parks that have begun selling tickets to people who live outside California and are fully vaccinated, but Disney has chosen to stick with the earlier restriction longer.

Most of the rides at the Disney parks will be open. Some will be shut for pandemic safety reasons, including Disneyland’s Monorail, Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage and Sailing Ship Columbia, as well as Disney California Adventure’s Red Car Trolley and Golden Zephyr. A few, including Disneyland’s Jungle Cruise and the Matterhorn Bobsleds, will be closed for maintenance and upgrades. See the full list of open and closed rides.

MaxPass and FastPass, the systems that let visitors avoid long queues by scheduling when to get on a ride, have been suspended, but a virtual queuing system that uses the Disneyland app will be required for Disneyland’s newest ride, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.

To avoid crowds around the parks’ eateries, most food stands and restaurants are taking orders via the Disneyland app. Parkgoers can use the app to make payments and get an alert when their food is ready.

With the exception of the A Touch of Disney food event this spring, the Disney parks — a crown jewel of California’s travel and tourism industry — have been closed since mid-March 2020. State health guidelines released last month have allowed the parks to reopen while aiming to lower the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

Before the pandemic, California theme parks collectively generated $1.5 billion annually in federal, state, and local taxes, according to a trade group for the parks.

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