Is Disneyland open? YES, and this is your 2022 guide + here’s a better than Black Friday deal!

We’re TOTAL “Dis-NERDS” – aka the proper term used to describe someone who’s 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?

Disneyland is open… and LOTS of events are coming back in 2022!

If you’ve been wondering, “Is Disneyland open?” it’s seriously the BEST news ever to find out that it is!!! And it’s even MORE exciting that this month World of Color, Disneyland Forever fireworks, and the Main Street Electrical Parade will be back!

We’re also looking forward to Disney’s Halloween celebration, the Oogie Boogie Bash, returning on select nights until October 31st!

Halloween time is a SUPER popular time to visit Disneyland, the park kicks off the spooky season festivities on September 2nd this year. You’ll want to reserve your tickets fast because dates will definitely sell out quick!

Are masks required?

As of February 21, 2022, masks are no longer required anywhere at the parks!

BRAND NEW – the Disney Genie!

One of the coolest new things you’ll be able to take advantage of at Disneyland in 2022 is the Disney Genie and Genie+.

If you haven’t heard of the Disney Genie by now, it’s a new part of the Disneyland app designed to guide you through the theme parks with tips that help reduce time in lines and take the guess work out of “what’s next” (more on this down below).

If you’re an avid Disney-goer and this sounds familiar, it’s because Disney is now doing what third party apps used to do for us in the park! Predicting wait times, and letting you know the best rides to head towards next… But it’s SO nice to have everything all in one place.

It’s also super cool because it can help you to have your ideal Disney day by “planning” out everything you need to hit (and when) according to your top interests. This is amazing for an efficient and well-spent day at the park. I love that it tells you when the ride will most likely have the lowest wait time, so you can really spend your time having fun and not waiting around!

All you have to do is select all the rides you want to go on that day – and BOOM – it gives you an efficient itinerary you can follow for the perfect Disney day.

Not only does this work with rides but it also works with restaurants and shows, too!

Disney Genie

What’s the difference between Disney Genie & Genie+?

Disney Genie is a free part of the Disneyland app that’s available to everyone to use in the park, all day long. It allows you to see what rides have the longest lines and it’ll plan your day out for you according to your interests.

If you purchase Genie+ along with your ticket, you’ll have access to the Lightning Lane entry arrival windows (the new “fast pass”) for multiple attractions all day long. If you don’t purchase Genie+, you can buy Lightning Lane passes “a la carte,” but each ride will start to add up throughout the day if you’re planning to use them all day long.

For $20 extra per ticket per day, you can have access to Lightning Lanes ALL day long – you just have to choose your ride time on the app beforehand, and then you get to skip allll the lines where there’s a Lightning Lane available!

And BONUS! When you purchase your Genie+ tickets through our partner Getaway Today, Genie+ is already preloaded onto your ticket for each day of your visit!! Amazing, right? Takes out all the extra work.

Note: If you would like to purchase Genie+ for only part of your visit, or if you already have tickets, you’ll have to purchase it once you enter the park the day that you use it. But it’s super easy to do!!

Is Genie+ really worth it?

We’ve used Genie+ twice now in the park. In my opinion, YES – it’s worth it! BUT IT’S NOT A DISNEY DEAL-BREAKER. If you can’t afford it, you can still have a GREAT day at Disneyland and hit all the good rides in minimal wait times if you’re willing to wake up early for Rope Drop (more on that below!), and if you really use the free Disney Genie part of the app.

If you do want to purchase Genie+, and if you’re smart about how you use it, you can go on sooo many more rides without having to sit in line, and during the in-between times of your Lightning Lane passes you can eat, sit down to watch a show, or watch the parade. It just makes for a super enjoyable Disney day with a lot less boring lines to stand through!!

But, like I said – it really does add up at $20 per ticket per day. So if you’re going on a three day Disney vacation with five people, that’s an extra $300 you’re spending on your trip. It really depends on how much you hate waiting in the lines, and how much value that holds for you to have fast passes from Disneyland open to close!

Disneyland wait times 2022
Lightning Lane

Something to be aware of before purchasing Genie+

Disney’s top three most popular rides right now (Radiator Springs Racers, the new Spiderman ride, and Rise of the Resistance) are “a la carte” Lightning Lane rides.

That means that even if you purchase Genie+, you have to purchase the Lightning Lane passes for those rides separately. They’re pretty pricey (when we went last week it was $18 per ticket for ONE ride), but if those rides are important to you, it might be worth it to spend the money on just one major ride instead of a whole Genie+ purchase. Just make sure you get your Lightning Lane pass RIGHT when they open, before they sell out!

For example: Rise of the Resistance is probably the most popular ride right now, and without the Lightning Lane pass the wait was about two and a half hours the WHOLE day. And they sold out of Lightening Lane passes for Rise before we got there at 10 a.m.

All in all- it’s just super important to plan ahead on what’s most important to you during your trip so you can make the best financial decision for your family.

And remember, you can purchase Genie+ just for one day, for your whole trip, or not at all. And Disney Genie is totally free and still super super helpful!

Disney guide

Discounted Disney tickets

By far this is my NUMBER ONE question I get asked, “where can I get discount Disneyland tickets?” and my answer is RIGHT HERE! It 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 – five days will give you just the right amount of time to take it all in!

Not wanting to spend 5 days at Disney?

Right now you can save up to $90 on Disneyland tickets if you book before October 20th by booking HERE! Here are some FAQ to help you know how to save + any other details!

  • How much will I save by booking by October 20? That will depend on the type and length of the tickets you choose. 2-Day tickets are a $32/ticket savings, 3-Day tickets are a $35/ticket savings, 4-Day tickets are a $40/ticket savings, while 5-Day tickets are a $55/ticket savings. With Disney Genie+ included, you can save up to $90 per ticket!
  • How long are they valid? These tickets are valid for travel now – Jan. 12, 2024.
  • Do I have to know my travel dates? If you don’t know when you’re going, you’ll just need to enter a general date to purchase your tickets. That will be the date that Get Away Today sends your reminders to make theme park reservations as early as 120 days prior to travel. Dates are flexible and can be rescheduled.
  • Can I put these on a Layaway Plan? Because tickets must be paid in full by October 20, Layaway Plans are temporarily unavailable.
  • What if I’ve already purchased Disneyland Resort tickets? If you’ve already purchased your tickets and paid in full, you already have the lowest price!

Magic Key Holder Pass

Last year Disney rolled out a new program called Magic Key Passes to replace their old annual pass holder program. All of the Magic Key passes are NOW AVAILABLE to renew!!

Southern California Resident deal

Not only is Disneyland open but they’ve also released a new ticket offer just for Southern California Residents!

Southern California Residents will be able to save up to $136 on 3-day tickets for travel June 13 – September 15, 2022. These tickets are only available for use Monday – Friday (blocked out Saturday and Sunday), and these tickets will require theme park reservations. They don’t have to be used consecutively, but the last day will need to be used on or before September 15, 2022. You can purchase those HERE!

These can only be USED by Southern California residents, so I can’t buy these tickets for out-of-town friends or family for their use. You have to show a California ID when you check into the park, so it’s an awesome way to save but only if you live here.

Disney guide

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 few months 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 with crowd control.

We even went a couple days before Christmas which is usually a MAD HOUSE (we’ve been even earlier in December when you’re literally shoulder-to-shoulder all day long) and this year, it was somewhat crowded but not PACKED.

best tips for disneyland 2021-2022

Is Magic Morning happening right now?

Magic Morning is currently suspended, but we hope they bring it back soon to Disneyland! When available, 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.

best tips for disneyland in 2021

When does Disneyland decorate for holidays?

In 2021 they did have Halloween Time at the park, and I’m so excited that it’s happening again in 2022! It’s 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!!! We’ve seen 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. The holidays are such a magical time of the year to visit Disneyland – a time you’ll never forget for sure!

christmas at disneyland
christmas decor 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

How to get a reservation at Blue Bayou (or any other hard-to-get-into Disneyland restaurant)

We scored very last minute reservations recently to Blue Bayou, the restaurant that sits inside Pirates of the Caribbean ride. It’s pretty magical to eat there and some of my most favorite food at Disneyland, and the closest you’ll come to eating at Club 33, without actually eating at Club 33. It’s also one of the most coveted reservations and they go super fast when the reservation windows open 60 days in advance of any given date.

PRO TIP: all of the sit-down restaurants at Disneyland require a credit card to book, and you have to cancel 24 hours in advance to avoid a $10 per person no-show fee. Because of this, you’ll see a TON of random reservations opening up for the next day any given day. So if I can’t score the reservation I really want, I usually wait till the day before our Disneyland day, and that day before, I spend a little time refreshing like crazy to see if someone will dump the reservation that I’m hoping to get! I’ve seen great stuff open up last second, like lunch at Lamplight Lounge or dinner at Blue Bayou. Just make sure if you’re hoping to get a lunchtime reservation, you start searching and refreshing more than 24 hours before. So if you’re hoping for an 11 a.m. Wednesday lunch reservation, start looking Tuesday morning between like 9-10:30 a.m. and you’ll probably see something good pop up!

Another very important tip: don’t search by one of the meal times (breakfast, lunch, or dinner), search by the hour instead. And just keep jumping around the different times till you see something you want pop up. And if you see something good, JUMP on it! It will likely disappear super quickly!

Blue Bayou restaurant Disneyland

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, food, and even Genie+! 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 Inspire 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: $449/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 dining
    • 20% off the purchase of Disney Genie+
    • 25% off standard theme park parking at the Toy Story Parking Area, excluding blockout dates

ENCHANT KEY

  • Price: $699/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 dining
    • 20% off the purchase of Disney Genie+
    • 25% off standard theme park parking at the Toy Story Parking Area, excluding blockout dates

BELIEVE KEY

  • Price: $1,099/year
  • Includes:
    • Reservation-based park admission select days of the year
    • Up to six park reservation holds at a time
    • 20% off select merchandise
    • 15% off select dining
    • 20% off the purchase of Disney Genie+
    • 50% off standard theme park parking (excluding blockout dates, at the Mickey & Friends Parking Structure, Pixar Pals Parking Structure and Toy Story Parking Area)

INSPIRE KEY

  • Price: $1,599/year
  • Includes:
    • Reservation-based park admission every day of the year
    • Only 12 blocked out days
    • Up to six park reservation holds at a time
    • 20% off select merchandise
    • 15% off select dining
    • 20% off the purchase of Disney Genie+
    • 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 right when Disneyland is open 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. So if you want to do Toy Story Mania, Radiator Springs Racers, or Guardians of the Galaxy without a Lightning Lane pass, 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!

Early Entry is back!

Early Entry is finally back at Disneyland and California Adventure! This means that guests staying at one of the three Disney hotels can get into the park 30 minutes before before the rest of the public. This allows you to get onto your favorite rides without having to wait in the long lines!

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. They’re not doing a virtual queue for this ride anymore. So like I mentioned earlier, if you really want to go on Rise of the Resistance, you’ll either need to a) show up at rope drop and go STRAIGHT to Rise of the Resistance, or buy a lightening lane pass specifically for Rise of the Resistance (this is a-la-carte and not included in genie+ passes!), or worst case scenario, wait a couple hours in line if you get to the park after rope drop and don’t want to buy the lightening lane pass.

This ride really is exceptional and the best ride at Disneyland now, in my opinion. So yes, you really do want to go!

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 a 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.

Holiday times 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’m so, so happy Disneyland is open again – 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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