Disney fans don't have to wait much longer to return to the "Happiest Place on Earth" — the California theme parks reopen this week.

By Elizabeth Rhodes
Updated April 27, 2021
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Editor's Note: Travel might be complicated right now, but use our inspirational trip ideas to plan ahead for your next bucket list adventure. Those who choose to travel are strongly encouraged to check local government restrictions, rules, and safety measures related to COVID-19 and take personal comfort levels and health conditions into consideration before departure.

Over a year after the California theme parks closed amid the coronavirus pandemic, Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park will finally reopen on April 30. Thousands of cast members will return to work and welcome guests back to the parks and hotels this week — with a number of new health and safety measures in place, of course.

"The day all of us have long been waiting for is almost here," president of Disneyland Resort, Ken Potrock, shared in a statement with Travel + Leisure. "We're excited to have more than 10,000 cast members returning to work as we get ready to welcome our guests back to this happy place."

Before you dust off your Mickey ears and book your ticket, though, there are a few things to know about Disneyland's reopening. In accordance with California requirements, theme park capacity will be limited, so guests will have to obtain a reservation in addition to purchasing a ticket for admission. The parks will only be open to California residents at this time.

The theme park reservation system is now live on the Disneyland website, and guests can check availability and make reservations up to 60 days or more in advance. To make a theme park reservation, you'll want to make sure your valid theme park tickets are linked to your account, then access the reservation system and create your party, and select the day and theme park you want to visit.

Park Hopper will be available upon reopening — guests can make their reservation for one theme park and begin their day there, and then visit the other park starting at 1 p.m.

Several of the measures already in place at Walt Disney World Resort (which has been open since summer 2020) will be used at Disneyland Resort, including enhanced cleaning, required face coverings, temperature screenings, signage and barriers to encourage physical distancing, contactless payment options, mobile ordering for food and drinks, and more. Dining bookings for select restaurants are currently open. (If you plan to visit, be sure to download the latest version of the Disneyland App so you can link your tickets, view wait times, mobile order food and drinks, and more.)

Parades and nighttime spectaculars will return at a later, unspecified date, and character encounters will stay socially distanced for now. FastPass, Disney MaxPass, Magic Morning, and Extra Magic Hour offerings are also suspended for now.

entrance to Disneyland
Credit: AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images via Getty

Even though the park gates have been closed for over a year, there's a lot to look forward to upon reopening. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance — an innovative and thrilling ride based on the iconic film franchise — was only open for a few months before the parks closed in March, so many guests will get to experience this incredible attraction for the first time. Disneyland's Snow White-themed ride got a makeover during the park closure, so guests will have the chance to witness this enchanting update as well. The Avengers Campus — a new land at Disney California Adventure Park dedicated to fan-favorite superheroes — is set to open at a later date.

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa will reopen on April 29, 2021. (No reopening date has been announced for Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel and the Disneyland Hotel yet.) Hotel guests will still need to make theme park reservations in order to enter Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park. The Downtown Disney District, which reopened this summer, is still open, too. Guests should note that plans and offerings can change due to the constantly evolving circumstances.

Elizabeth Rhodes is an associate digital editor at Travel + Leisure who loves all things theme parks. Follow her adventures on Instagram @elizabetheverywhere.