Disneyland, the original Disney theme park, finally reopened the gates to the magic kingdom this spring after over a year of closure. It’s so exciting to finally return, but for those of you returning after a long absence, there are some Disneyland updates you should know about before you plan your next trip.
Major Disneyland Updates
First, let’s start with some good news. The highly anticipated Avengers Campus in Disney California Adventure, previously slated to open last July, is now open. One new ride, Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure, has also opened at Avengers Campus with rumors of another ride coming in the next year.
Other Disneyland updates include knowing to to use the Disneyland app to manage most of your visit to the resort as it will contain the ability to make a park pass, get in a virtual ride queue, mobile order, and so much more.
Park Pass and Virtual Queues
If you haven’t been to Disneyland in a while you may be unfamiliar with Park Pass and Virtual Queues. Basically, virtual queues are something that Disneyland started when it opened Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge back in 2019.
They used it to manage guest traffic into the land and various points of interest such as Oga’s Cantina and later Rise of the Resistance and Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure . To gain access to the virtual queues you need the Disneyland app as well as a valid park ticket and a Park Pass Reservation.
Park Pass reservations are required for entry. A ticket alone does not guarantee admission into any park. You must reserve a date through Park Pass. You can either buy a single park ticket or a park hopper.
If you start your day where a specific attraction resides, you can join the virtual queue at 7:00 am. If you start in the other park and plan to hop over later, you must wait until noon to enter the other virtual queue and then hop to the other park at 1:00pm. Make sure you link your tickets to the app and that you reserve the correct park to make virtual queue reservations.
Mobile Order and Reservations
Mobile order is available at virtually every quick-service dining location. This feature is accessible through the Disneyland app and you can place an order and pay for it remotely. Then you simply check-in and pick up your food at a designated counter when it’s ready.
I feel like we are all pretty used to this feature by now, but you may not be familiar with how it works at Disneyland. Basically, you don’t have to wait in line to order. You can order while you are on the way from another location to save time, or you can stake out a good table before placing your order at one of these restaurants.
Reservations are important for certain restaurants. The Blue Bayou and Carthay Circle Restaurant are two places where reservations make a big difference. You don’t want to miss out on a special meal because you didn’t reserve a table beforehand. They recommend reserving tables up to 60 days in advance.
Currently, some restaurants, including Carthay Circle, are not yet available. Check in with the Disneyland app frequently to get updates on what will be open when you arrive. In order to place dining reservations inside the parks, you need a valid park ticket and Park Pass reservation.
Hotel Availability on Property
Paradise Pier is the least expensive of the three on property hotels and is currently open. Disneyland Hotel recently re-opened July 2. It would be considered the “mid tier” of the three Disney-owned hotels.
The Grand Californian Hotel and Spa, the most expensive on property hotel, is also open. It provides stunning park views of the Grizzly Peak area in Disney’s California Adventure. The hotel also has its own park gate and a spa. However, the spa is under refurbishment and coming soon with a new name and story.
Supposedly, the name Tenaya means “to dream” in some indigenous languages, but I haven’t been able to confirm that by fact-check. Apparently, Disney has removed references to this on their site, but it was part of the theme behind the reimagined spa. All I could find about Tenaya was that he was a 19-century leader of the Awahnichi in Yosemite Valley.
Even if the name Tenaya doesn’t mean “to dream” in indigenous languages, the celebration of Native American culture is a big part of this upcoming stone spa experience.
Good Neighbor Hotels
Good Neighbor Hotels surround the entire property of Disneyland. These are hotels that meet a certain standard of quality set forth by Disney. While not Disney-operated, they offer a good experience and many cost significantly less than on property hotels.
If you plan to stay at a Good Neighbor Hotel, be sure to check their location on Google Maps. The most convenient hotels are on Harbor Blvd between Katella and Clementine.
Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure
The Disneyland resort contains two parks and it’s important to know where everything is. If you want Star Wars, you have to go to Disneyland. If you want Marvel, you have to go to Disney’s California Adventure.
Replacing the “A Bug’s Life” themed area, Avengers Campus features Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure, Pym’s Test Kitchen, and The Ancient Sanctum. DCA also has the largest Pixar presence. Of course, if it’s classic Disney attractions you want or a historical connection to Walt Disney himself, you must go to Disneyland park.
Entertainment and Characters
One shock you may be in for in the short term is the level of entertainment. Many shows are still temporarily unavailable and character experiences happen from afar.
This is all likely to change soon, but for the time being, expect shows to be more along the lines of street performances and expect them to be fairly spontaneous. Lots of shows are either temporarily unavailable or have no schedule. However, there is a Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Dance-Off schedule at DCA and several other street performances happen at regular intervals within Avengers Campus.
Max Pass, FastPass, and Annual Passes
Finally, one major update that affects everyone, no matter the length of trip of ticket type you purchase, is the unavailability of any “skip the line” passes. Max Pass and FastPass are currently unavailable to everyone.
Now, if you pay for a VIP tour group or are a member of Club 33, there are special line skipping perks with those memberships, but those types of guests are few and far between. When will some form of FastPass be returning? Only time will tell.
The same story is true for Disneyland Annual Passes. Currently, both Disneyland and Disney World are not selling new annual passes, but Disneyland has also COMPLETELY shuttered their program. A new “loyalty program” is in the works, so keep an eye out for an official announcement, hopefully sooner rather than later.