For California residents, the anticipation of Disneyland’s reopening is continuing to build, especially after we got the news that the parks will reopen their gates this spring.
Disney hasn’t announced an official reopening date yet, but Disneyland has clarified which park amenities will be suspended upon reopening. Two of those amenities are the FASTPASS system and Disney MaxPass. With Disneyland reopening at 15% capacity to only CA residents, it makes sense that these might not be necessary amenities. But does that mean that all Disneyland attractions will only have stand-by queues?
Disneyland FASTPASS and MaxPass
An attraction FASTPASS has made Guests’ experiences at Disney Parks so much smoother as they are able to dine, shop, and ride other attractions while waiting for their FASTPASS return time. It’s like having single rider lines but for groups! Having significantly shorter wait times makes Guests’ Disney vacations way more pleasurable as they can enjoy more of the parks — plus, it is a win for Disney because Guests will spend more money when they aren’t waiting in long attraction queues.
In 2017, the original Disney Park introduced the MaxPass which saved even more time for Guests to enjoy their visit. Does everyone remember those times when you had to run around the park to the FASTPASS distribution sites? Now, that was a true Disney experience. With an added fee, MaxPass made it a simpler process by linking your ticket or annual pass to the Disneyland app where you could reserve a FASTPASS right from your phone — though you could still use the regular paper FASTPASS system for free.
Disney Virtual Queue
When each Disney Resort on opposite coasts of the U.S. opened Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, they predicted a high demand for the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance attraction. To accommodate this demand when the ride opened in December 2019 in Florida and January 2020 in California, Disney implemented a virtual queue system they hadn’t used for any other attraction. The Rise of the Resistance virtual queue allows Guests to join a virtual queue on their phone.
Each reservation was given a Rise of the Resistance boarding group. When the ride first opened at Disneyland, would find many Guests on their phone upon park opening trying to get a boarding group. If you weren’t able to make an early enough reservation, you would be placed in a backup boarding group.Throughout the day, a boarding group number would be called to return to the attraction. If you were lucky, your backup group would be called later in the day!
Walt Disney World Queues Upon Reopening
Upon reopening in July 2020, Walt Disney World also suspended its FastPass system and FastPass+ reservations on the My Disney Experience app. Each of the attractions were stand-by only queues with the limited capacity of 25%. The only attraction that had a virtual queue continued to be Rise of the Resistance which also got an update after reopening.
Dining did implement virtual queuing though. All quick-service dining options were mobile order through the app. Dine-in table service restuarants used a mobile check-in for your reservation through the app so that managing social distancing was easier.
Another variation of these mobile features came upon Walt Disney World’s reopening, and that was the Disney Park Pass reservation system. If you had a valid ticket or annual pass, you needed to make a specific park reservation for a certain date in order to visit the park which helped keep each of the Walt Disney World parks at 25% capacity.
Disneyland Queues Upon Reopening
Disney has already confirmed that upon reopening Disneyland will also use a park reservation system much like the one Walt Disney World has. Park hopping will most likely not be allowed at the beginning phase of reopening. Plus, an app update last year hinted that virtual queues would be expanding to more theme park attractions.
Disneyland is only reopening at 15% capacity to California residents only, but the size of Disneyland is significantly smaller than that of Walt Disney World’s parks. So, can we expect to see Disneyland implement more virtual queues than just the one in place for Rise of the Resistance? It could be quite possible since many of these attractions will have to manage an indoor/outdoor operational capacity limit.
State guidelines will also only allow for outdoor dining when the theme park reopens, even though Downtown Disney indoor dining may reopen soon. In order to manage health and safety measures for dining, it seems that Disneyland will implement mobile ordering and virtual queueing for quick-service and table service, respectively. A Touch of Disney is already going to be using a virtual waitlist for Guests who could not get advanced dining reservations for table-service restaurants. Plus, Disney already confirmed that the mobile order system will expand when the parks reopen.
Overall, with Disneyland Resort’s size in mind, we wouldn’t be surprised if we end up seeing more virtual queues implemented in some way. Disney has not made any announcements about how social distancing and attraction capacities will be managed within the theme parks of the Disneyland Resort, but we will continue to update as more information comes to light.
Do you have thoughts on how Disney will manage attraction queues and dining? Would you like to see more virtual queues? Let us know what you think in the comments!