Disney attractions are returning after COVID-19 closures

Disneyland and California Adventure Park have gradually restarted attractions at the parks since reopening in April after a 13-month pandemic shutdown.

Disney fans weren’t particularly sympathetic to the closures and gradual ramp-up — designed to allow for proper implementation of COVID-19 safety protocols and retraining of staff — especially after Disney announced price hikes of up to 8% for day tickets on Monday. Some complain that they are being asked to pay more while being offered fewer attractions.

Don’t fret. Most of the most popular rides — the Haunted Mansion, Matterhorn Bobsleds, and Pirates of the Caribbean — are operating, and Disney is now scrambling to get many of the remaining out-of-service attractions back online in time for the holiday season.

Here’s what you need to know about which attractions will be available again and when others will start again:

Dancers in ornate costumes accompany Mickey Mouse as a sorcerer's apprentice in the Magic Happens parade on February 28th.

Dancers join Mickey Mouse for the Magic Happens parade on Main Street USA in February 2020.

(Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)

what’s back


Regular nightly parades have yet to return to Disneyland’s Main Street USA, but during the Halloween celebration known as the Oogie Boogie Bash at California Adventure Park, visitors can see the so-called Frightfully Fun Parade, featuring Disney villains like Cruella from Disney’s One Visit starring Hundred and One Dalmatian films. It runs on select nights through October 31st.

Starting November 12, Disneyland will launch a Christmas parade called A Christmas Fantasy, featuring Santa Claus and the Disney Princesses, as well as Anna, Elsa and Olaf from the animated film Frozen.

Disney has hinted — via TikTock and Instagram posts showing a brightly lit figure from the parade rolling out of a warehouse — that it may soon be reviving a nearly 50-year-old fan favorite, the Main Street Electrical Parade. The parade was upgraded in 2017 with thousands of LED lights and a refurbished sound system to play the theme song/catchy tune “Baroque Hoedown”. The parade has been paused since 2019.

Before the pandemic, Disneyland launched Magic Happens, its first new daytime parade in more than nine years. The score and lyrics were created by Todrick Hall, a former Disney cast member who rose to fame as a YouTube star and season 9 contestant of ABC’s “American Idol.” It is not yet known if this parade will return.

The Disneyland Monorail passes by as people walk to the park entrance in March 2020.

The Disneyland monorail, which will overrun visitors in early 2020, was closed during the park’s 13-month pandemic shutdown and the first few months of its reopening. It started up again on October 15th.

(Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times)


The Disneyland Monorail, which first began operating in 1959, only reopened on October 15. Disney officials said it took a long time for staff to resume running and test the streetcar due to health and safety protocols, as well as the extra time needed to reinstate and train.

On May 21, 2015, fireworks exploded over Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle, bathed in blue light.

A new Christmas fireworks display is set to debut at Disneyland on November 12.

(Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)


An Independence Day fireworks show restarted in July and a nighttime projection and pyrotechnics called Halloween Scream is running at Disneyland through October 31. A Christmas fireworks display – Believe in Holiday Magic – begins at Disneyland beginning November 12 and continues on select nights through January 9.

To dance

The Disney Junior Dance Party, a nightclub for teens and teens at California Adventure Park, restarted on October 15.

What is not back yet


The Disneyland tram, which takes visitors from the parking garages to an area near the business district known as Downtown Disney, has not operated since the park reopened in April. This means you have to walk an additional 10 to 20 minutes to get to the park entrances. Disney officials say hiring and retraining of staff contributed to the delay, and expect the streetcar to start operating early next year.

The Lion King projected onto a "curtain" Fog at the start of World of Color at Disney California Adventure 2015

The Lion King projected onto a “curtain of fog” at the start of the world of color at Disney California Adventure 2015. The show hasn’t come back since the park reopened in April.

(Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)

Water and light shows

World of Color at California Adventure Park and Fantasmic at Disneyland – two nighttime attractions with special effects, lights, water and pyrotechnics – are not back on yet. There’s no word on when they might restart.

A young visitor waves to the characters Elsa and Anna at Disneyland Resort on May 3, 2021.

A young visitor waves to the characters Elsa and Anna at Disneyland. COVID-19 protocols mean visitors must keep their distance from costumed characters, so no hugs or selfies for now.

(Jay L Clendenin/Los Angeles Times)

Hugs with signs

Forget hugging Mickey Mouse or high-fiving Chewbacca. Since the parks reopened, so-called “character experiences” have been restricted by pandemic social distancing rules. You can now only wave at costumed characters standing several feet away behind barriers or on raised stages. Disneyland officials have not provided a timeline for when visitors will be able to get close to their favorite characters again.

Guests line up at the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland in 2017.

The Genie+ system, which allows visitors to skip regular lines, will be rolled out later this fall. Upstairs, guests wait in line at Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion.

(Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times)

Finding Nemo Submarine Journey

The underwater attraction, previously dubbed Submarine Voyage, has yet to reopen due to ongoing health and safety concerns related to COVID-19. The ride, which was revamped in 2007 to incorporate the story and characters from the Pixar film Finding Nemo, is now undergoing a refurbishment. A reopening date has not been announced.

Fast Pass and Max Pass

The Fastpass and Maxpass systems, which allowed visitors to skip the regular lines by scheduling a time to show up at an attraction, were scrapped when the parks reopened. The Genie and Genie+ replacement system is slated to launch later this fall. The Genie feature in the Disneyland app provides park visitors with park route suggestions based on the visitor’s preferences. Genie+, which costs $20 per day, also allows visitors to skip the regular lines to take advantage of an expedited Lightning Lane. Disney attractions are returning after COVID-19 closures

Russell Falcon

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