As always, check the Disneyland website for the most updated information and requirements.
Updated September 2021
To visit the Disneyland Resort in 2021:
- Everyone over 2 years old is required to wear a mask indoors – this includes ride queues, inside rides, shops, and dining until seated.
- Everyone 3 and over must have a ticket AND a theme park reservation (yes, this is new; it is similar to Walt Disney World’s reservation system in Florida). If you buy tickets directly on the Disneyland website, your park reservation is automatically made in that process. If you buy through a third party (such as Costco or Getawaytoday) then you have to manually make a park reservation once you receive your ticket numbers via email.
Things to know about visiting Disneyland and California Adventure in 2021:
- There are NO trams running from the Mickey & Friends/Pixar Pal parking lots; to get to Disneyland you park in the same Mickey & Friends parking structure ($25), then walk the tram route to the park entrance. You can rent strollers and wheelchairs at the parking lot now, in the same area as temperature screening and bag checks. You can also park in the Toy Story lots; their buses are running.
- The theme parks are running at limited capacity, hence needing the theme park reservation. This does mean less crowds and shorter wait times.
- NO fastpasses are being used right now. A replacement program, called Genie+, will be launched in Fall 2021, and will be $20 per ticket per day. There will be no free fastpass option anymore. If you require a DAS (disability access system) pass, those are still available at City Hall. If you have a maxpass attached to your ticket from before, you can ask for a refund at City Hall in Disneyland, or Chamber of Commerce in California Adventure.
- You can use the Disneyland app to access your tickets, check wait times, join virtual queues, and mobile order your food.
- If you want to ride the new Star Wars “Rise of the Resistance” ride, or the new Avengers “Webslingers“, you have to try to get into a boarding group via the Disneyland app at 7am PST, or 12pm PST. These seats go within seconds, so be ready a minute ahead of time. Note: you can only hold a boarding pass for one of these rides at a time, and must have a park reservation for the corresponding park to get a boarding pass. If you are trying to join the 12pm queue, you must also be scanned into one of the parks at that time.
- The Indiana Jones ride sometimes uses a virtual queue, but to join it you must be near the ride. It starts the day off with a normal stand-by line, but if the line gets too long, it can switch to a virtual queue; when it is your turn the app will alert you.
- Mobile ordering food is the only option for some restaurants. Only some restaurants are open, others are mobile-order only, and others allow walk-ups.
- Currently all 3 Disney hotels are open; however, restrictions are in place, and not all dining options are open (Paradise Pier does not offer any dining options at this time). Downtown Disney restaurants can deliver food to your hotel as an option.
- Annual passes have returned and are now called Magic Keys. There are 4 tiers, with monthly payment plans available to California residents.
- There are NO character meet-and-greets, pictures, or autographs. There are lots of characters around the parks that you can wave to, talk to, and take selfies with while they’re a few feet behind you.
- Character Dining has returned, but is modified. The characters parade and dance through the restaurant and in between tables every 20 minutes, but only pause for a brief second, and everyone must remain seated. Goofy’s Kitchen (breakfast and dinner), Princess Breakfast at Napa Rose (breakfast), Storytellers Cafe (breakfast), and Plaza Inn (breakfast) are all currently offering character dining. More info and reservations can be found here (reservations strongly recommended).
- There are NO shows or parades, so that crowds don’t gather. Cavalcades are at both parks, but their times are not announced so you have to catch them or ask a cast member. The Christmas parade will return, though.
- Some rides and attractions are closed; check the app for an updated list. Mickey’s and Minnie’s houses in Toontown, Nemo’s submarine, and the Monorail are things I am waiting on to reopen.
Experience and tips for going with toddlers and babies in 2021
- DO bring a stroller. It was so helpful for both our baby and our toddler. We used it to hold our jackets during the day, merchandise we bought, napping babies, and the snack trays were helpful so they could eat lunch in the stroller. We parked it in front of each ride, and put the kids in it walking in between rides. If you’re worried about identifying your stroller, you can attach signs, ribbons, or balloons to easily see it. Note: stroller wagons are NOT allowed. Also, cast members may move your stroller as traffic flow changes, but it will still be close by where you left it.
- DO bring snacks, a change of clothes, and a small toy to keep your little one happy.
- A bubble wand was lots of fun and distracting. We had one from a previous trip to Downtown Disney and brought it into the park with us since it still works (shocking considering our experience with bubble toys).
- These areas were quieter and we walked it so they could nap: Fantasyland Theatre (currently closed), Pooh’s Corner, behind Grizzly River Rapids, Toontown, around Mattahorn)
- While they napped, we enjoyed the shade, and shopped in air-conditioned Main Street stores.
- DON’T have a full schedule planned; go with the flow so you don’t overwhelm your little one
- My toddler still loved the character sightings, especially the princesses at the Royal Theatre, Pooh and Friends by Small World, and Mickey and Friends at Main St Train Station (Mickey and Minnie can also be found in front of their houses in Toontown).
If you need help planning your Disneyland trip, I can help! I have created a free spreadsheet in Google Sheets to help my email subscribers maximize their magical trip to Disneyland. Once you become an email subscriber (use the handy box on the right), you will receive an email with the password to my resource library with various Disneyland resources, including my PDF of tips, downloadable Google planning sheets, Disneyland scavenger hunts, and more! For a sneak peek and more info on my planning sheets, click here. You may also be interested in my posts on taking a toddler to Disneyland, packing a diaper bag for Disneyland, or visiting Disneyland in 2021, or my other Disneyland posts.