Park reservations open 15 April: How to make a reservation at Disneyland
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The Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, has now been closed for 13 months in one of the longest and most-watched closures of this past pandemic year. Disneyland fans won’t need to wait much longer, though. Walt Disney’s beloved original resort makes its triumphant return on 30 April 2021.
When the Disneyland gates reopen, operations at Disneyland certainly won’t be back to normal. Masks and social distancing will be required, some attractions and shows will remain closed and methods to shortcut Disneyland lines like Maxpass and Extra Magic Hour won’t be available.
One of the most significant adjustments guests will need to make is that Disneyland now requires daily theme park reservations. Gone are the days of deciding on a whim to head to Disneyland for the day. Instead, guests need to plan up to 60 days in advance which of Disneyland’s two parks they want to visit. Then they must make a corresponding reservation on the Disneyland website.
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Using Disneyland’s Reservation System on 12 April 2021
This new Disneyland reservation system partially opened earlier this week. On 12 April 2021, reservations opened to California residents who already had existing Disneyland tickets in hand. Because my family had a holiday scheduled for late March 2020 that was cancelled when the parks closed, I had tickets already. With a burning desire to return to “the Happiest Place on Earth” as soon as possible, I was happy to put the reservation system to the test.
While Disney’s IT track record over the years has been spotty, the Disneyland reservation system functioned pretty seamlessly. There was a 20- to 30-minute wait in an online holding area as the system kept too many people from hitting Disney’s servers at once.
Once the system said it was my turn, I was redirected to the reservations site. I was able quickly to make reservations for two different trips — one for a solo visit on opening day and another for a summer holiday with my family.
Somewhat surprisingly, none of the days on the Disneyland reservation calendar have filled to capacity yet. Because the system was limited to California residents holding theme park tickets from more than a year ago, perhaps that isn’t so surprising. Disneyland cancelled all annual passes several months ago, so the Southern California residents most likely to drive demand were unable to access the system at that time.
Disneyland Reservation System Opens to All 15 April 2021
On 15 April 2021, Disneyland will resume theme park ticket sales. At this point, all California residents can immediately begin purchasing new tickets and making theme park reservations. The Disneyland reservation calendar is currently available until 28 June 2021. It should continue to remain open about 60 days in advance on a rolling basis.
There are a few days where reservations will surely be booked up quickly. Those include:
- 30 April 2021: Opening day for Disneyland Resort (the several days that follow will likely book up quickly as well once April 30 is sold out)
- 4 June 2021: Opening day for Avenger’s Campus, a new Marvel-themed land in Disney California Adventure park
While Disneyland can only permit in-state guests to visit for now due to California’s travel advisory, out-of-staters are surely ready to come as soon as they are able. One other date to watch is 15 June 2021. California’s Governor Newsom indicated that this is the date that many restrictions on businesses will be lifted. While we don’t know whether the theme park residency requirement will disappear on this date, many out-of-staters will likely be making tentative bookings for 15 June and beyond.
Tutorial for Making a Disneyland Park Reservation
Ready to head to Disneyland when it reopens later this year? You’ll first need to purchase theme park tickets, either from Disney directly or from an authorized discount reseller like Get Away Today or Undercover Tourist.
After you have tickets in hand, here’s how to navigate the Disneyland website to make a reservation. If you’ve made theme park reservations at Disney World before, the systems work in similar ways, although the look and feel of the sites and the exact steps are a bit different.
Start on Disneyland’s website, where you’ll head to the main theme park reservations page. Scroll down and click on the blue button to make a park reservation. There is a link in the Disneyland app for reservations as well, but it will just redirect to the website.
I found the system easier to fill out on a computer rather than a phone.
The next screen offers two choices. Most guests should select the first, “Book Theme Park Reservation.” The second is to retrieve a hotel reservation and is only for access for guests staying in Disneyland on-property hotels.
Next, create the party for whom you will be making reservations. If you already have tickets linked to your account, they should be visible to select with checkboxes.
If you haven’t linked tickets yet, there is an option farther down the page to add more ticket numbers.
The next page is where you’ll select both the date you wish to visit as well as which park you will enter first for the day. Available days and parks open for booking are shown on a calendar, with coloured icons indicating which parks are available each day (Disneyland park or Disney California Adventure park).
Click on an available date on the calendar and then scroll down to select the button for a park.
The next screen is to just review and confirm selections. Double-check that you have the right date, park and people in your party. It also asks for confirmation of California residence and terms and conditions, including a COVID-19 waiver.
After you click continue, you should see a confirmation screen with Mickey and pals.
If you have a multiday ticket and need to select more days, you start this process over by clicking on the white “book a theme park reservation” on this confirmation screen. If this option isn’t available, you are all done.
You can’t modify reservations after they are made, but you can cancel single or multiple reservations and rebook a new date or dates.
Tips & Tricks for Using the Disneyland Reservation System
Although the Disneyland reservation system itself is pretty straightforward to use, there are a couple of potential mistakes guests can make. Watch especially for the following as long as Disneyland reservations are required.
- Always check the Disneyland reservation availability calendar before you purchase park tickets. Tickets purchased from Disneyland directly are nonrefundable, so you’ll be stuck with a big cost if you can’t make a reservation on your preferred travel day.
- After you purchase tickets, make your park reservations right away. With the theme parks initially reopening at 25% capacity and a busy summer travel season anticipated, reservations for many dates should book up quickly.
- If you plan to purchase single-day tickets, note that Disneyland has five different one-day ticket tiers. Each tier has a different price and a different blockout calendar. Purchase the wrong tier ticket? You may find you are blocked out when you go to make a theme park reservation on your travel day of choice. Through the end of June 2021, at least, if you plan to go to the parks on a weekend (Fridays, Saturdays, or Sundays), you’ll need the most expensive Tier 5 ticket.
- Consider purchasing multiday tickets instead of single-day tickets. Not only do they cost less on a per-day basis, but multiday tickets have no blockout dates in the new Disneyland reservation system. Note though that these tickets expire 13 days after first use.
- Disney generates a QR code for each daily theme park reservation for each person in your party and emails it to the address associated with your Disneyland account. You’ll need these codes — in addition to all theme park tickets — to access the parks. This is different than at Walt Disney World, where scanning a MagicBand or iPhone using MagicMobile acts as both a ticket and a theme park reservation.
- Park hopping after 1 p.m. is allowed for guests who purchase the park hopper ticket upgrade, subject to availability. If you wish to park hop, you don’t need to make an additional reservation. The Disneyland reservation system is only for the park you wish to enter first for the day.
Featured image by Christian Thompson/Disneyland Resort
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