Disneyland Touring After Reopening – Update Your Game Plan!

With the Disneyland reopening finally upon us, today I’m continuing my three-part series discussing the changes you’ll need to know, with a focus today on changing touring strategies.

If you haven’t yet read Part One, where I cover Disneyland’s operational changes when the parks reopen, I recommend doing that now.

Today I’ll discuss how touring strategies are likely to change based on the new Covid-related protocols, and in the next post I’ll finish up with how we’re adapting RideMax to fit with the changes, including the release of a new Disneyland RideMax app.

Your Favorite Touring Strategy is Broken Now

Back in the good ol’ days of 2019, our recommended touring strategy, whether you were using RideMax or not, would have gone something like the following:

  • Arrive early
  • Take maximum advantage of FastPass/MaxPass
  • Get the “bottleneck attractions” done early
  • Use Single Rider if possible

The problem with this strategy now is that many of the circumstances that made it work will no longer apply. In particular:

  • FastPass and MaxPass are no longer available
  • Single Rider isn’t available
  • No Annual Passholders

You might see this list and think those first two will have obvious effects on how I tour the park, but why would that last one have an impact on my touring strategy?

I’m making an educated guess here, but it seems safe to assume that many annual passholders have typically arrived late in the day, using the park as a place to hang out after work.

Now that those same people will be using a full-day ticket to visit the park, I believe we’ll see a huge shift in crowds to earlier in the day.

And as a result…


The headline here basically sums up the most important takeaway from the new, post-Covid environment: Whatever else you do, make sure you stay until closing time if you want to take maximum advantage of the new (expected) crowd patterns.

The reason I stress the importance of staying until closing is that I expect the following dynamic to play out:

  • All guests are day-only ticket holders (no APs). To maximize ticket use, guests will arrive earlier in the day on average than they did previously.
  • Crowds will build quickly in the morning, leading to very long wait times early in the day.
  • With no FastPass or Single Rider to mitigate the long waits, many guests will be fatigued by mid-afternoon or early evening and decide to leave earlier than they might otherwise.
  • With no large-scale evening entertainment planned, guests have fewer incentives to stay until closing time. This adds to the number of guests leaving early.

The way we’ve seen this dynamic play out at Walt Disney World has led to some VERY short lines by early evening, and I’d expect the same to occur at Disneyland, even if it’s not quite to the same extent.

Is Arriving Early Still Important?

Although I stress the need to stay until closing time, arriving early is still a good idea, as long as you’re pretty sure you can stay the entire day if you do so.

Having said that, one big reason for arriving early previously was to take maximum advantage of the FastPass system, and that obviously is no longer a concern. So yes, arriving early should definitely help cut down on your overall wait, but not as much as it likely would have in 2019.

Our goal with RideMax, as always, is to help you navigate Disneyland efficiently. In the next post I’ll wrap up with changes we’ve made to RideMax, as well as give you a sneak peek of our upcoming new RideMax app for Disneyland.

Stay tuned!


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