In a sign of improving times in Southern California, the Disneyland Resort opened to guests on Friday April 30th, 2021. The park opened to California residence only and had limited capacity. How were the wait times around Disneyland and Disney California Adventure? Let’s take a look.
Before we look at the actual numbers, it is important to note the many changes put in place by Disney to ensure safety for the guests. These changes had huge impacts on the operation of the parks.
First, the theme parks were forced to open at only 25% capacity. Keep in mind that this 25% capacity includes both guests and cast members. This capacity limit caused the first three days to sellout of some type of ticket and in the first two days, all tickets for both parks were gone. This certainly kept the wait times down, since the number of guests was artificially suppressed.
Second, there were no fast passes. That is right, all of you self-proclaimed Disneyland pros or fast pass queens, Disneyland (and Walt Disney World) have suspended fast passes. This has a huge impact on wait times. One might assume that it increases the amount of time someone has to wait, in actuality, the wait times go down with no fast passes. This is because rides will load roughly 10 fast pass guests for every 1 standby guest.
Third, a number of rides and attractions are closed. For a number of reasons (some safety, some refurbishment) a number of popular rides and attractions are not currently operating. This includes, but is not limited to: Matterhorn Bobsleds, Jungle Cruise, Grizzly River Run (expected to reopen on May 7th), Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, Animation Academy, Finding Nemo Submarines, and more. These attraction closures put more stress on the rides that are open.
So how did the wait times hold up for the first weekend of operation? Let’s take a look at the most popular attractions between the two parks.
Average Wait Time for Disneyland Resort’s Opening Weekend
- Soarin Around the World – 43 minutes
- Radiator Springs Racers – 35 minutes
- Toy Story Midway Mania – 33 minutes
- Indiana Jones Adventure – 31 minutes
- Haunted Mansion – 30 minutes
- Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout – 27 minutes
- Snow White’s Enchanted Wish – 26 minutes
- Pirates of the Caribbean – 25 minutes
- Space Mountain – 22 minutes
- Peter Pan Flight – 19 minutes
- Silly Symphony Swings – 19 minutes
- Monster’s Inc Mike and Sully to the Rescue – 18 minutes
- Incredicoaster – 14 minutes
- Millenium Falcon: Smugglers Run – 13 minutes
- Splash Mountain – 10 minutes
- Big Thunder Mountain – 10 minutes
- Little Mermaid Ariel’s Undersea Adventure – 8 minutes
As you can see, the wait times are much lower than what they were prior to the shutdown. A combination of limited capacity and no fast passes is a recipe for much shorter standby wait times.
One other factor that one cannot ignore is that the opening weekend was full of die-hard Disneyland fans who have been shut out of their parks for over 13 months. For the casual guests, Disneyland often means a marathon of rides, trying to squeeze in as many as possible, often keeping tallies of each ride. While Disneyland fanatics surely love their rides, they are more likely to spend much of their day sitting in their home park and absorbing the entire experience. Especially when it has been over a year since they were able to recharge their pixie dust.
The moral of today’s article is to get your Mickey ears down to the parks as soon as possible, as these wait times are only going to stay this low for a short time.