Disneyland reopens this week: How to get tickets and how much they cost - CNET

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Disneyland California

Disneyland in California has been closed since March 2020.

Corinne Reichert/CNET

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Disneyland is set to reopen on Friday after California issued new guidance on theme parks in March. It comes after Disneyland closed its gates more than a year ago due to the rapid spread of COVID-19. For the first time in its 65-year history, the iconic California theme park initially shut down for a month on March 12 -- and has remained closed since.

Here's everything you need to know about the reopening of California Adventure and Disneyland, and how to get a theme park reservation and ticket.

Read more: Disney unveils plans for Disneyland expansion

Disneyland and California Adventure reopen April 30

Disneyland reopening Disney Parks

Disney's two California theme parks will reopen April 30, Disneyland announced March 17. 

What to know:

Under theme park guidance issued by the state on March 5, Disneyland is permitted to reopen if Orange County is in the red, or "substantial," tier as of April 1. As of April 20, 2021, Orange County is in the orange tier, sitting at just 2.8 new coronavirus cases per day per 100,000 people, with a 1.4% positive rate on test results.Under the orange tier, the parks have a maximum capacity of 25%.
Once the county reaches the yellow tier, there will be a 35% capacity as well as a 25% indoor capacity. 
All tiers -- red, orange and yellow -- allow for only California visitors to Disneyland. California will remove the tier system June 15, meaning anyone can then visit the parks, but keep in place the mask mandate.To enter Disneyland or California Adventure, you'll need both a ticket and a theme park reservation for the same day.

How to get a Disneyland ticket

Sales resumed on Thursday, April 15 for Disneyland tickets in May and June, and despite an hours-long virtual waiting room on launch day, tickets are still available now for most days in May and June.

As for pricing, Disneyland now has a tiered ticketing system for all one-day tickets: 

Tier 1, one park/park hopper: $104/$159
Dates: NoneTier 2, one park/park hopper: $114/$169
Dates: May 18, 19, 25 and 26; June 1 and 2Tier 3, one park/park hopper: $124/$179
Dates: Mondays through Thursdays in the last two weeks of May; Tuesdays and Wednesdays in JuneTier 4, one park/park hopper: $139/$194
Dates: All weekdays in the last two weeks of May; Mondays through Thursdays in JuneTier 5, one park/park hopper: $154/$209
Dates: All weekdays and weekends

There's no tiered system for multi-day tickets.

No word yet on an annual pass replacement after Disneyland cancelled its passholder program on Jan. 14. At the time, Disney said it was "developing new membership offerings" for when it reopens. Those who held an annual pass as of March 14, 2020, are now called "Legacy Passholders" and will continue getting discounts for now when shopping or dining at Downtown Disney and Buena Vista Street in California Adventure.

How to get a Disneyland reservation

Once you've finally secured a ticket, you'll need a reservation for the days you plan to go. The online reservation system launched April 12 at 8 a.m. PT, but only to people who already held a ticket for a time during the park's year-long closure (here's where to check whether your Disneyland ticket is still valid) but is now live to everyone who holds a ticket.

How to get a theme park reservation:

Access the reservation system online -- but only once you have a valid ticket.Log into your Disney Parks app to link up tickets from your family or friends so you're all in one group.Select the day and theme park you want to visit.If you intend to hop between both parks, you can choose which park to start your day at -- you'll then be able to visit the other park starting at 1 p.m. that day.Review and confirm.

Disney says you should make your theme park reservation prior to booking a hotel stay to ensure the dates match up. The parks will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

Cast members are back and testing the rides already, with Disney also unveiling expansion plans for Disneyland and California Adventure.

Avengers Campus opening June 4

Avengers Campus

California Adventure's latest area Avengers Campus opens in June.

Disney

Disneyland's new Marvel-themed area will finally open to the public on Friday, June 4Avengers Campus, located in California Adventure, will include the Guardians of the Galaxy ride opened in 2017, as well as the new ride called WEB slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure.

For food, the Pym Test Kitchen will serve up sandwiches and pasta, the Pym Tasting Lab will offer craft beers and experimental cocktails, and there's also two new food carts: Shawarma Palace and Terran Treats.

Meet and greets with Marvel superheroes will take place throughout Avengers Campus, including a decked-out Dr Strange getting area. For merch, the WEB Suppliers store will sell customizable Spider-Bots, Funko Pops, Spider-Man light goggles, backpacks and more.

California Adventure's A Touch of Disney event on now

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of California Adventure, Disneyland is currently hosting a limited capacity ticketed event. "A Touch of Disney" started March 18 and runs until April 19 at California Adventure, Thursdays through Mondays from noon until 8 p.m., though no rides are open.

Tickets are $75 -- which includes parking, unlimited PhotoPass photos and a $25 dining card toward your food and nonalcoholic drinks -- but tickets sold out in less than a day despite Disney adding another two weeks to its event calendar due to high demand. You can keep checking back for more tickets to be "released on a rolling basis until the experience ends."

A Touch of Disney features special food and beverages, Disney characters, merchandise and photo locations. The event coincides with the usual timing of California Adventure's annual food and wine festival, and reportedly allowed around 1,000 employees to come back to work.

As well as reopening food locations like Smokejumpers Grill, Adorable Snowman Frosted Treats, Award Wieners and Cocina Cucamonga, California Adventure has six marketplaces for more snack choices. You can also book a table at Carthay Circle Lounge and Lamplight Lounge. Disney has brought some of the food items usually only found at Disneyland over to California Adventure, including the Dole Whip from the Tiki Room and the Monte Cristo sandwich from New Orleans Square.

Characters across the park include Mickey Mouse, Goofy and Max, Chip and Dale, Lightning McQueen, Mater, Joy and Sadness.

The main street area of California Adventure theme park initially reopened on Nov. 19, including Buena Vista Street and parts of Hollywood Land, for dining and shopping. California Adventure's reopening included all stores in Buena Vista Street, as well as dining locations like the Carthay Circle Lounge, Smokejumper's Grill, Award Wieners, Starbucks and carts for churros and popcorn. Those areas are now closed to the general public during the ticketed event.

Downtown Disney is open

The Downtown Disney shopping and dining area reopened eight months ago on July 9, in line with California's restaurant and retail opening guidelines.

Between December 2020 and January 2021, Orange County was subject to strict stay-at-home orders due to ICU capacity falling below 15%. Restaurants were forced to close in Downtown Disney and California Adventure, but Newsom lifted the lockdown orders Jan. 25.

Currently, all dining and shopping locations in Downtown Disney are open, apart from locations in the Disneyland HotelDisney's Grand Californian Hotel and Spa and Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel. To visit Downtown Disney, you can only park in the Simba parking lot, and must undergo a temperature screening, wear a face covering and maintain social distancing. The area is open daily from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m., or 9 p.m. on Saturdays.

Disney opened a new Star Wars Trading Post in Downtown Disney in mid-February so you can get your Star Wars merchandise fix while Galaxy's Edge is closed.

Disneyland Resort also became a coronavirus vaccine site in early 2021 as the Toy Story parking lot began serving as Orange County's first vaccine super site on Jan. 14. 

Why was Disney World allowed to reopen in 2020?

Disneyland had initially announced an optimistic reopening date of July 17, 2020, its 65th anniversary. It was forced to backtrack on those plans when California declined to issue theme park guidance. The state revealed its initial theme park reopening guidelines on Oct. 20, which wouldn't have allowed the park to open until it was in the yellow tier, with fewer than 1 daily case per 100,000 people and a 2% positive test rate.

On the other side of the country, however, Disney was permitted to reopen the Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios in July last year due to Florida's less-strict state and local guidelines.

The Orlando Disney parks have social distancing and wellness measures, including temperature screenings, wearing masks, keeping guests six feet apart while lining up for attractions and a guest reservation system to limit capacity. Fireworks have also been suspended.

Disney Springs shopping and dining area reopened on May 20 with limited parking, fewer entrances, temperature screening before entry, masks required, physically distanced lines and barriers, reduced hours, no entertainment and more sanitization and disinfectant. Disney-owned stores and restaurants in Disney Springs began reopening May 27.

Layoffs across the US theme parks business

Vacationers haven't been the only ones affected by Disneyland's closure. Disney said Sept. 29 that it would lay off 28,000 US employees, citing reduced capacity at its theme parks due to social distancing requirements, as well as California's "unwillingness to lift restrictions that would allow Disneyland to reopen."

In an SEC filing on Nov. 26, Disney revealed it would be laying off an additional 4,000 employees, for 32,000 total.

Disneyland reached an agreement with 11 unions representing its workers as of Oct. 14, according to the Orange County Register, so that it's ready to open as soon as permitted. The California Health and Human Services Agency reportedly sent state health officials to assess Disney World in Florida during the first week of October, the Los Angeles Times reported.

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