After COVID shutdown the Happiest Place on Earth, the Disney Company had to make some changes to how people visited in order to reopen. Gone are the days when you could show up to the park like Captain EO – uninvited and unannounced. When planning for Disneyland in 2022, reservations are required along with a valid entry ticket.
Planning for Disneyland 2022
As much as I like planning things (sarcasm), I probably should have left the chore to my friend Lynn Barron at ConciEARS. Lynn is the co-host of The Sweep Spot and he worked as a custodian at Disneyland for a number of years. His co-authored book “Cleaning the Kingdom” explores the way the Disney clean-up crew worked and played at Disneyland. Lynn likely would’ve made the whole thing so much easier. He even says that using him to plan your vacation doesn’t cost you anything extra.
However, if I had gone that route, I would’ve written a different blog post and not experienced the new way of doing things at the park.
A Ticket and a Reservation
Walt may have come to Southern California with a suitcase and a dream, but that won’t get you into Disneyland. You need to purchase a ticket and then make a reservation to the park you want to visit. This takes all the spontaneity out of a trip because you have to know what park you want to visit on what day. The choice during the holiday season may seem pretty obvious if you can’t get into the night party. If Disney California Adventure closes early because of an Oogie Boogie Bash Halloween Party on Wednesday, you probably should reserve your space at Disneyland, so you can go for the entire time the park should be open, instead of having to leave at 6pm.
On the positive side, it does allow Disney to limit the number of people coming into the park, which should provide smaller crowds and better customer service. We can always wish upon a star, that it holds true.
Restaurants and Reservations
If you want to have a special dining experience, you need to reserve your spot in advance. We were unable to get into the Blue Bayou, the Carthay Circle, or the Plaza Inn for a character breakfast. I suppose something could open up on the morning of our arrival, but I’m not sure we’re going to try to get there. Other experiences that require reservations were also booked full.
Bring the Smartphone
Most people have a smartphone. It’s just assumed that everyone does. I do not. I don’t want one. I don’t like them. And you can get off my lawn! That means that I’m going to miss out on a number of things in the park. I’m decently certain you need a smartphone to take advantage of Genie Service and Lightning Lane. I also think there are games to play in the park using a smartphone. I’d like to keep my flip phone, but this trip has me rethinking my stance on technological cra(p)ck.
A Package Deal
It used to be you could find a cheap hotel and get tickets separately to make the vacation less expensive. That no longer seems to be the case. Five days at the parks is $380 per person. Two people are $760. That made the Good Neighbor Hotel a bargain to stay at.
We’ll have updates as we get closer and after our trip. (Lynn Barron and ConciEARS are not responsible for the content herein. The endorsement is based on my knowledge of him and his past work. No funds or trade was remitted for this article. The link to Sweeping the Kingdom is an Amazon affiliate link.)