Is Disneyland open? YES, and this is your 2021-22 guide!

We are TOTAL “Dis-NERDS” – aka the proper term used to describe someone who is completely obsessed with Disney. We looooveeeee Disneyland and have been annual pass holders for EIGHT YEARS + counting! If you’re anything like us, or if you even just slightly like Disney, you may be wondering, “Is Disneyland open?”

The answer is YES, and we couldn’t be more happy about it! We were super sad to lose our passes temporarily when Covid happened, but now we’re so thrilled and excited to be Magic Key Holders again. We’ve been to Disneyland pretty frequently recently, so we’re here to give you the whole inside scoop on what’s going on now and what some of the changes are!

*We strive to keep this post as updated as possible, but please take note that restrictions and policies are changing constantly.

is disneyland open?
Is Disneyland super crowded right now?

Is Disneyland super crowded right now?

After asking, “Is Disneyland open?” the next thing you’re bound to ask is: “Is it crowded?”

The Disney Parks in California haven’t really been too crowded! We went a little over a week ago for our anniversary, and it was still during the summer when kids hadn’t started school yet and it wasn’t too bad. They require guests to obtain a reservation for park entry in advance which are limited and subject to availability, so I assume that probably has helped it to not be too crowded.

best tips for disneyland 2021-2022

How to get discount Disney tickets

What’s better than the fact that Disneyland is open? I’ll wait… okay, actually, discounted Disney!

For sure the most FAQ I get about Disneyland is, “how do I get discounted Disneyland tickets?”

I was so excited when I found this discounted offer that gets you an Extra Day FREE to experience all the Disney magic when you purchase a 5-Day Disneyland Resort 1-Park per Day or Park Hopper Ticket. So you’re basically just paying for the 4-Day gate price (that’s a $20 savings per ticket) and you get a WHOLE extra day of fun for FREE!

Guests will need to use all 5-days of this ticket within 13 days of the first day of use.

There’s so much to enjoy at Disneyland, especially with all the Halloween Time festivities around the corner (more on that in a minute!) – five days will give you just the right amount of time to take it all in!

But we’re not done yet!! With THIS offer through October 31, when you purchase a 5-day Disneyland Resort Park Hopper ticket for 2 adults and 2 children (ages 3-9), you’ll get the 5th day free, PLUS you’ll get your 4th night free at a Disney resort! So amazing!!

Is Magic Morning happening right now?

Magic Morning JUST returned to Disneyland! This is a huge perk if you buy a 3-day (or more) park hopper ticket: you’re allowed to enter the park an hour before everyone else. This really comes in handy when you want to check a few of the most popular rides off your list. Currently, Disneyland is offering Magic Morning on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Is Disneyland super crowded right now?

Are Disneyland Fast Passes Available?

Something to be aware of before heading to the Park is that at this moment, they still don’t have any kind of Fast Pass system in place, so you do have to wait it out in the lines like traditional times. There’s no way to hop the line and strategically plan out your day at Disney as many did previously, pre-Covid.

BUT they are starting this new system this fall (they haven’t released an exact date yet!) called Disney Genie, which will be a new technology designed to guide you through the theme parks with tips that will help reduce time in lines and take the guess work out of “what’s next.” It personalizes your Disney day itinerary according to specific attractions, food, and entertainment, and will seamlessly map out your day! It’ll keep your itinerary up to date throughout the day so you can be more go with the flow.

In the past, we used an app called Ride Max which did something similar, but Disney got smart and created their OWN app with so many more features. This app will allow guests to join a virtual queue for dining reservations, certain attractions, mobile food orders, and even ask questions from a virtual assistant. So we’re super excited for this new feature!!

best tips for disneyland in 2021

When does Disneyland decorate for holidays?

Halloween Time at Disneyland will start September 3rd and be up all the way until October 31st. This is such a fun time to explore the theme park because it’s filled with monsters, pumpkin-perfect, and muertos-merry elements that all add to the eerie cheer during the spookiest time of the year.

It’s seriously my second favorite time of year to go to Disneyland. Pumpkin spice churros anyone?!

halloween at disneyland
when does disneyland decorate for halloween?
when does disneyland decorate for halloween?

But my FAVORITE time of year to go to Disneyland is … Christmas!!! The Holidays at Disneyland will run from November 5th until January 9th this year. During this time we expect the return of It’s a Small World Holiday, Haunted Mansion Holiday, Santa’s Holiday Visit, Believe…In Holiday Magic Fireworks, Christmas in Cars Land, A Christmas Fantasy Parade, and more. This is such a magical time of the year to visit Disneyland – one you’ll never forget for sure!

We are so excited too because Disney just announced Disney Merriest Nights! It’s a limited capacity Christmas party that will be held on a few select nights throughout November and December. Complete with different themes: Victorian theme on Main Street, Feliz Navidad party in Frontierland, New Orleans party in New Orleans Square, Tropical Party in Adventureland, and Tomorrowland party in Tomorrowland! SO much fun!!

disney christmas tree
christmas decor disney castle

Does Disneyland have mobile ordering?

There’s so much yummy food to enjoy within the Disney Parks! Something that has made ordering food super easy and convenient is the mobile ordering feature found on the Disneyland mobile app! It’s contactless, and allows you to plan ahead and enjoy food and drinks from select dining options throughout your Disney day.

A super helpful tip I learned – I was going nuts over why I couldn’t make dinner reservations ANYWHERE. And it’s because right now a lot of the restaurants aren’t taking ahead of time dinner reservations, you just have to join the walk-up list.

So as soon as you arrive to the Park, maybe a few hours before you plan to eat lunch or dinner, I highly recommend looking at the restaurants you’re interested in eating at and joining those walk-up lists in advance because they’re typically longer.

Another thing to be aware of is in order to join restaurants’ walk-up lists, it will require you to be in close proximity to that specific restaurant. So in your itinerary, plan to hang around that area and visit attractions in that general region.

mickey mouse beignet mobile ordering

Are Disneyland annual passes back?

YES!!!! They’ve been renamed something new: Magic Key Holder passes. But they’re back! And we couldn’t be more thrilled. Let’s break it down:

What are the levels of a Magic Key Holders?

When choosing one of the Magic Key Holder annual passes, it’s really important to look at what is most important and convenient for you and your family. For us, three of our four kids are in school and we don’t want to take them out of school to go to Disneyland, so we decided to purchase a pass that would allow us to go on Saturdays and weekends. But when our kids were younger and not in school, we’d do the SoCal passes because we didn’t mind going during the week and it wasn’t a big deal that we couldn’t go on the weekends.

Another amazing perk with each Magic Key Holder pass, there are special discounts you can receive when purchasing merchandise or food! As the pass gets more expensive, the higher the discounts are that you can receive on items purchased within the Park.

For example, the Believe Key gets you 50% off parking, but the Dream Key (the highest pass) includes free parking. There are so many awesome perks with each pass – below is a list of all the levels of Magic Key Holders, the prices, and what each level includes.

IMAGINE KEY

This Key is exclusively available to SoCal residents. So anyone who lives in Northern California or anywhere outside of California can’t purchase it.

  • Price: $399/year
  • Includes:
    • Reservation-based park admission select days of the year
    • Up to two park reservation holds at a time
    • 10% off select merchandise
    • 10% off select food and beverage

ENCHANT KEY

  • Price: $649/year
  • Includes:
    • Reservation-based park admission select days of the year
    • Up to four park reservation holds at a time
    • 10% off select merchandise
    • 10% off select food and beverage

BELIEVE KEY

  • Price: $949/year
  • Includes:
    • Reservation-based park admission select days of the year
    • Up to six park reservation holds at a time
    • 10% off select merchandise
    • 10% off select food and beverage
    • 50% off parking costs at Mickey & Friends Parking Structure, Pixar Pals Parking Structure, and the Toy Story Parking Area

DREAM KEY

  • Price: $1399/year
  • Includes:
    • Reservation-based park admission every day of the year
    • Up to six park reservation holds at a time
    • 20% off select merchandise
    • 15% off select food and beverage
    • Parking included
disneyland tips magic key holder

Is Disney still doing Rope Drop?

The Disneyland “open” tradition is still in fact happening. I’m so happy they’re still doing their rope drop!

To do it the right way, you’ll want to show up at the Park’s gate about 45 minutes before the Disneyland open time. So if the Park opens at 8 in the morning, you’ll want to be at the gate at 7:15. Which means you need to be rolling into the parking structure 30 minutes before that (I know – so early, but SO WORTH IT!). So look at your GPS and figure out how much time you need to arrive to the Mickey & Friends parking structure by 6:45 a.m. It will take you 30ish minutes to park, go through security, and walk all the way to the gate. If you’re staying on property, plan to head down from the room about 10-15 minutes before, so right around 7.

Starting at 7:30 they’ll begin a countdown from ten. If you’re in the within the first ten people of that line, they’ll scan your ticket so that right when the countdown is over, they let you in.

After that first group of ten, they start scanning the rest of everyone else’s tickets and you can walk all the way up to where the second rope is, pretty near Radiator Springs. When 8:00 hits, you’re already scanned and IN the park with a major head start so that you can hop on the rides before all the lines form!

Arriving in time for Disneyland’s Rope Drop allows you to hop on a bunch of rides before any major wait times – I highly suggest starting off your day early in the morning before Disneyland is open so you can take advantage of this!!

By 10 AM, crowds start rolling in and it gets a lot more crowded, especially right now before the Genie Pass starts up. So if you want to do Toy Story Mania, Radiator Springs Racers, Guardians of the Galaxy, those are the rides that you’d definitely want to prioritize in the morning, right when Disneyland is open.

Pick the ride that you want to ride the VERY most and just walk straight there as soon as the rope drops and walk right onto that ride, and then go straight to the next ride you care about in that Park!

Tips About Riding Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

Rise of the Resistance is THE BEST ride I’ve ever been on. Period. We’ve been on on it several times at Disney World and Disneyland and each time, my mind is blown!!!

It’s not easy to get on this ride and only a limited amount of people make it on. So here are my tips:

You’ll want to have someone in your group download the World Clock on their phone and another person who is using their phone to make the reservation for your whole party on the My Disney Experience app. Watch the clock tick down to the very second it hits 7 AM when the queue opens, and quickly tap the Join button on the queue. You’ll want to confirm quickly and use your speedy fingers to click through the screens. There are no limits to the number of people who can join a Boarding Group.

Once you’ve successfully joined a Boarding Group, you can take advantage of other rides with low wait times and you can keep track of your group’s status through the My Disney Experience app. Once your group is called, you’ll be assigned to a one-hour window to arrive to the attraction’s entrance and check-in with the cast members to enter the queue. When you make it to this point, it still can be about a 30-ish minute wait until you reach the first pre-show, proceeding the ride experience. All 3 times we’ve gone on this ride, it goes really quickly from when you get in the actual physical queue to when you’re walking onto the ride.

P.S. If you weren’t able to join the virtual queue in the morning it will tell you when there’s another chance in the afternoon (usually at noon or 1pm) We’ve gotten on twice this way.

Tips About Riding Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

How does Disneyland’s reservation system work?

Disneyland is open, so now you want to plan a trip! If you’re planning to make a trip to one of Disney’s parks, you have to make a reservation ahead of time for either Disneyland or California Adventure. Even if you have a Parkhopper, you have to be in the first park you choose until 1 PM, and then you can head over to the other park.

With all of Disneyland’s new system, it requires you to plan a lot more in advance. We bought our Magic Key Holder passes on Friday thinking it’d be so fun to go the next day on Saturday, but unfortunately all the reservations were filled for Saturday already. But if you’re looking to go during a weekday, which are a bit less busy, you can make same-day reservations most of the time! I’m guessing it will be that way if it’s not a high-season time.

Depending on the level of Magic Key Holder you are, you’re allowed a certain limit of reservations you can make at one time. So, the higher level Key Holder you are, the more reservations you can make at once.

I anticipate that the holiday times this year are going to get taken up really fast! That’s why you want to make reservations in advance as much as possible. Also why it’s so important to be aware of when certain holidays are happening at the Parks, because as pass holders those windows are important to know how to plan strategically and reserve days when it’s not a blackout day for your specific pass.

Note: the higher the pass, the fewer blackout days. The highest pass allows you to go any day of the year without any blackout days! But you still have to make a reservation each time you want to go.

disneyland 2021 guide

Is Disneyland worth it?

For us, Disneyland is 100% worth the money and all that comes with it. It’s something that we absolutely love as a family and we really value. We’ve created really great memories there and our kids are in heaven every single time we go. We drink the Kool-Aid – we just feel like it’s MAGICAL. It’s a wonderful, wholesome place to spend time as a family. I think you’ll love it too!

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Corrine Stokoe

Corrine Stokoe is a blogger, podcaster and content creator behind the brand Mint Arrow. She and her husband Neil live in South Orange County with their 3 little girls and baby boy, she runs her blog and business with 7 team members, where they find the best daily deals and share favorite finds in fashion and beauty. They also run a podcast called Mint Arrow Messages. Mint Arrow has been featured in Forbes, Women's Wear Daily, Business Insider, The Wall Street Journal, AdWeek and Allure. Corrine is passionate about sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ as often as she can and teaching others to use social media for good.

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Hi, I’m Corrine and it’s pretty simple. I think you deserve to buy the things you want at a price you can afford. Here you can find the best deals and steals on high end fashion, as well as beauty and wellness tutorials.

Comments

  1. From the Disneyland site –
    Note: Magic Morning and Extra Magic Hour offerings will be suspended upon the reopening of our hotels and theme parks, as we plan to manage capacity. We will share any updates on these offerings at a later date.

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