CORONAVIRUS

Traveling to Disney Parks during COVID-19: What you need to know before you go

Dec 17, 2021, 11:39 AM

(CNN) — If you’re planning to travel to one of the Disney Parks & Resorts around the world, here’s what you’ll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The basics

All Disney parks around the world are now open to visitors, though COVID-19 restrictions remain in place.

Disneyland Resort in California reopened on April 30 with limited capacity at Disneyland park and Disney California Adventure park.

Those wanting to visit need to purchase tickets in advance via a new online reservation system.

All three of the California Disney resort’s hotels are open.

In Florida, all of Disney World’s parks are open with the exception of Typhoon Lagoon. No reopening date has been set.

Disney World also requires visitors to make reservations in advance.

As for the Florida park’s hotels, most have already reopened.

Hong Kong Disneyland and Shanghai Disneyland Park — including all hotels — are operating with enhanced health and safety measures in place. Guests need to reserve their tickets online before visiting.

Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea are open, along with their hotels. A new addition, the Toy Story Hotel, is due to open in 2022.

Disneyland Paris fully reopened on June 17, while its new Disney’s Hotel New York: The Art of Marvel property opened on June 21. All other Disney hotels there are open with the exception of the Disneyland Hotel, which is currently closed for renovations.

What’s on offer

The original and, some might say, best, theme parks, Disney’s resorts remain a magical experience for all the family. From vertiginous rides to firework displays, and of course the chance to meet classic characters, a trip to a Disney Park makes memories that last a lifetime.

Who can go

Entry to each Disney Park is dependent on local travel restrictions.

The Paris location is subject to France’s entry rules. On Sept. 10, France removed the United States from its safe travel list, effectively prohibiting nonessential travel to the country for unvaccinated visitors. Read more about the restrictions here.

In line with the latest French authorities’ requirements, a Health Pass is required for guests aged 12 and older to visit the Disney parks in Paris.

Only locals and returning citizens can access Hong Kong Disney park while the Shanghai resort can only be accessed by locals or those who meet China’s strict entry requirements, including two negative test results taken within 48 hours of departures.

Japan also remains closed to tourists, meaning only residents are able to visit the Tokyo Disney parks.

What are the restrictions?

In the U.S., all guests ages 2 and up at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort are required to wear face coverings indoors, regardless of vaccination status. They are optional for outdoor common areas.

Disneyland has eliminated on-site temperature checks and is allowing guests to “self-determine” social distancing since California has removed distancing requirements.

Some parks have reduced capacity and require temperature checks on entry.

Guests of Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai parks need to continue to wear masks in all areas.

In the Paris Disney parks, face coverings are mandatory in all areas for guests aged 11 and over.

What’s the COVID situation?

Exact numbers of cases linked to Disney Parks are unclear.

What can visitors expect?

Some Disney parks have resumed their nightly fireworks shows and parades. Schedules and reopening information are available on each individual park’s website.

Capacity has been cut in Disney’s theme parks, with numbers further limited in restaurants and in queues to prevent overcrowding.

Despite this, guests can still dine in at their favorite restaurants and enjoy the rides, though some character meet-and-greets have been replaced by socially distanced character processions.

Several Disney World restaurants in hotels and theme parks are allowing character dining again. Reservations, highly recommended, are required in some locations.

At Disneyland in California, Minnie and Friends Breakfast at Plaza Inn reopened for character dining in August 2021.

In the hotels, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa offers the Mickey’s Tales of Adventure Breakfast at Storytellers Café and the Disney Princess Breakfast Adventures inside the Napa Rose restaurant, while the Disneyland Hotel has Goofy’s Kitchen.

Disney World’s 50th anniversary party kicked off on Oct. 1 and will last 18 months. Celebrations will be held in all four of the resort’s theme parks.

“Beacons of Magic” show started October 1, where signature structures in each park are specially illuminated: Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom, Spaceship Earth at Epcot, Hollywood Tower Hotel at Hollywood Studios and the Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom.

At the Magic Kingdom, a nighttime show called “Disney Enchantment” features music, enhanced lighting, fireworks and immersive projection effects from Cinderella Castle down Main Street, U.S.A.

Useful links

Official Disney Parks site

Our latest coverage

Disney is rolling out a new service that will help parkgoers streamline their visits and cut down on wait times. “Genie” — which debuts this fall at California’s Disneyland and Florida’s Disney World — is a new digital service that will “maximize your park time, so you can have more fun,” according to the company. Read more about it here.

Meanwhile, Disney recently revealed pricing for its new, highly anticipated Star Wars hotel — and the cost to immerse yourself in a galaxy far, far away for a few days will not come cheap.

Disney has finally redone its Jungle Cruise ride after years of being criticized for the attraction’s controversial depictions of Indigenous people. On July 16, the ride will open once more in Disneyland in California, while the updated version at Disney World in Florida will be completed later this summer. Read more about it here.

Disney World in Florida is turning the big 5-0, but the resort isn’t letting its age slow it down. Walt Disney World Resort announced a slew of new events, scheduled to begin Oct. 1, in honor of the park’s 50th anniversary.

“Avengers Campus,” a new land based on the Marvel franchise, opens at Disney’s California Adventure on June 4 and we’ve got a sneak preview here.

The flagship Disney resort in Anaheim, California has just revealed plans for a multiyear expansion called “DisneylandForward.” Read more about it here.


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Traveling to Disney Parks during COVID-19: What you need to know before you go