Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information and offers.
Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, is officially open for guests — with some modifications to park policies to help keep guests and team members safe. Masks (while inside) and social distancing are required, some attractions and shows will remain closed and methods to shortcut Disneyland lines like Maxpass and Extra Magic Hour won’t be available. And, for the time being, only residents of California are able to visit.
One of the most significant adjustments guests will need to make is that Disneyland now requires daily theme park reservations. Gone are the days of deciding on a whim to head to Disneyland for the afternoon. Instead, guests need to plan up to 60 days in advance which of Disneyland’s two parks they want to visit. Then they must make a corresponding reservation on the Disneyland website.
Thankfully, Disneyland just made the process more streamlined for guests to purchase tickets and make a theme park reservation at the same time.
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How to make Disneyland reservations
Previously, you had to make your park reservations after you’d purchased your tickets. This setup was fine, but it added extra steps to the process and made it a bit more complicated to plan out the dates of your trip. Thankfully, this new system streamlines the experience so you can get everything taken care of at once.
When you check out Disneyland.com/ParkReservations, you’ll see a couple of different options:
- Select ticket — Where you can purchase a ticket and make a park reservation
- Make park reservation — Where you can make a separate reservation if you’ve already purchased your ticket
You can also view the current reservation availability. At the time of writing, availability in May is almost completely gone and there are only a few days left in June where both Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park are both available. But the first half of July is completely open for reservations.
If you don’t have your tickets yet, you’ll select the first option to get your ticket and make a park reservation. You’ll select the number of days for your trip.
Then you’ll select how many tickets you’ll need. Kids under 3 don’t need a ticket, but everyone else coming with you will need their own.
And then you’ll select your ticket type — one park per day or park hopper.
Then you’ll hit “Choose Your Dates” and you’ll be taken to a screen to choose your reservations. Your ticket selections are listed at the top of the page, and you can edit anytime.
As of the time of writing, the reservation calendar is available through July 17, 2021. Availability in July is open, but you’ll have a harder time visiting both parks in May (which is almost completely booked) and June.
Remember that you don’t have to choose consecutive reservation dates. You have 13 days after the first use to use your tickets, so you could book a day or two of rest in between to explore Anaheim or just relax at your resort if you need the break between park excitement.
If you select Park Hopper tickets, you’ll then select your starting park for each of your ticket dates.
From there, you can add parking vouchers before proceeding to your cart. Once you’re finished, you can check out, or you can search for a hotel stay to pay all at once. Keep in mind that your theme park reservations are only confirmed once you purchase the tickets.
The one downside to purchasing your tickets and booking your reservation together is that the park reservation calendar is only available about 60 days out on a rolling basis. I couldn’t find a way to purchase tickets directly online without making a reservation in tandem since they’ve rolled out this new system, so you’ll have to wait until park reservations open up for your planned dates before you book.
However, if you go through a ticket reseller such as Get Away Today or Undercover Tourist, you might be able to work around this if they don’t require you to choose your travel dates as part of the ticket-buying process. Just remember that you’ll need a separate reservation if you book tickets without a reservation attached through Disney’s system.
Once California lessens restrictions on June 15, we could see Disneyland open up to out-of-state guests again. If that happens, reservation availability might increase both in capacity per date and in how far out they let you reserve your dates. However, know that you’ll be competing with all of the non-California residents who have been waiting to book trips, so you may experience a waiting period to book tickets if the servers get overwhelmed and availability will likely go quick in the beginning.
If you’ve already purchased your tickets
Before this new system, you purchased your tickets separately from making park pass reservations. If you already have a ticket, you can still go through the separate process of booking your reservations.
If you’ve made theme park reservations at Disney World before, the systems work in similar ways, although the look and feel of the sites and the exact steps are a bit different. First, you’ll click the “Make Park Reservations” button on Disneyland’s website. It’ll redirect you to log into your Disney account that houses your tickets.
I found the system easier to fill out on a computer rather than a phone.
The next screen offers two choices. Most guests should select the first, “Book Theme Park Reservation.” The second is to retrieve a hotel reservation and is only for access for guests staying in Disneyland on-property hotels.
Next, create the party for whom you will be making reservations. If you already have tickets linked to your account, they should be visible to select with checkboxes.
If you haven’t linked tickets yet, there is an option farther down the page to add more ticket numbers.
The next page is where you’ll select both the date you wish to visit as well as which park you will enter first for the day. Available days and parks open for booking are shown on a calendar, with colored icons indicating which parks are available each day (Disneyland park or Disney California Adventure park).
Click on an available date on the calendar and then scroll down to select the button for a park.
The next screen is to just review and confirm selections. Double-check that you have the right date, park and people in your party. It also asks for confirmation of California residence and terms and conditions, including a COVID-19 waiver.
After you click continue, you should see a confirmation screen with Mickey and pals.
If you have a multiday ticket and need to select more days, you start this process over by clicking on the “Book Theme Park Reservation” bubble on this confirmation screen. If this option isn’t available, you’re all done.
You can’t modify reservations after they are made, but you can cancel single or multiple reservations and rebook a new date or dates.
Tips and tricks for using the Disneyland reservation system
Although the Disneyland reservation system itself is pretty straightforward, there are a couple of potential mistakes guests can make. Watch especially for the following as long as Disneyland reservations are required:
- Always check the Disneyland reservation availability calendar before you purchase park tickets. Tickets purchased from Disneyland directly are nonrefundable, so you’ll be stuck with a big cost if you can’t make a reservation on your preferred travel day. Note that there are two tabs on this calendar with different availabilities — one for park hopper tickets and one for one park per day tickets.
- If you plan to purchase single-day tickets, note that Disneyland has five different one-day ticket tiers. Each tier has a different price and a different blockout calendar. Purchase the wrong tier ticket? Need to change your travel day? You may find you are blocked out when you try to make a theme park reservation on your travel day of choice. Through the end of June 2021, at least, if you plan to go to the parks on a weekend (Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays), you’ll need the most expensive Tier 5 ticket.
- Consider purchasing multiday tickets instead of single-day tickets. Not only do they cost less on a per-day basis, but multiday tickets have no blockout dates in the new Disneyland reservation system. Note though that these tickets expire 13 days after first use.
- Disney generates a QR code for each daily theme park reservation for each person in your party and emails it to the address associated with your Disneyland account. You’ll need these codes — in addition to all theme park tickets — to access the parks. This is different from Walt Disney World, where scanning a MagicBand or iPhone using MagicMobile acts as both a ticket and a theme park reservation.
- Park hopping after 1 p.m. is allowed for guests who purchase the park hopper ticket upgrade, subject to availability. If you wish to park hop, you don’t need to make an additional reservation. The Disneyland reservation system is only for the park you wish to enter first for the day.
Featured image by Christian Thompson/Disneyland Resort.
Additional reporting by Madison Blancaflor.
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