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COLUMN: Disneyland will be open again soon — these are the absolute best ways to experience it

COLUMN: Disneyland will be open again soon — these are the absolute best ways to experience it

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Creative Commons | The Daily Wildcat

Sean Fagan was furloughed from his position at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"Disneyland Sleeping Beauty Castle" by bubble_gum/Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0)

Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure are opening on April 30, and I could not be more excited! The return to the Magic Kingdom will be nothing short of spectacular, but there is a small catch. Per state order, only residents of California will be allowed in the parks for the time being. 

Fear not my Arizona friends, for this order is only temporary. There's more great news out of California though, which may speed this process up. California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that all Californians ages 55 and older are eligible to receive the vaccine starting April 1 and all Californians ages 16 and up can receive the vaccine on April 15. This will allow the entire state to be vaccinated so Arizonans can come to Disneyland faster!

As a cast member, I know this park inside and out. Once you are all allowed to come back, here are five things I highly recommend you do at the Magic Kingdom.

Number Five: Stay at one of our three hotels, even if it is just for a night!

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When it comes to quality, Disney does not cut corners. Our three hotels, the Disneyland Hotel, Paradise Pier and the Grand Californian Hotel and Spa are the most beautiful properties in Anaheim, CA. The Disneyland Hotel is the oldest and most nostalgic. We have many delicious restaurants, a tiki bar and three towers that each have their own Disney theme. Paradise Pier is the most family friendly hotel. If you are tired from the parks, head on over to the pool with a water slide and guest appearances from Donald Duck! Finally, if you are willing to spend a bit extra and want to stay in the lap of luxury, the Grand Californian is for you. Themed after the beautiful forests of California, your room can overlook a variety of areas, from Downtown Disney or inside California Adventure. I also work as a parking lot cashier for all three self-parking lots, so come say hello!

Number Four: Watch our new parade, “Magic Happens.”

I am not sure when parades will return, but you do not want to miss out on “Magic Happens.” This parade is unlike anything Disney has ever created. Parades of the past featured princess music and subtle dancing (which I still enjoy), but this new show is energetic with a club-like sound. That is because much of the new music was composed by singer-songwriter Todrick Hall. Disney brought in Hall to give their new parade a more modern sound, and Hall came through. With majestic floats, killer choreography and music that slaps so hard you will be dancing all over Main Street, U.S.A.

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Number Three: Visit our newest land, “Galaxy’s Edge.”

When the Walt Disney Company acquired LucasArts in 2012, the Star Wars franchise became a part of the Disney family. Once acquired, former Disney CEO Bob Iger had big plans for Disneyland. He wanted to create a new land, one that would reflect a place in a galaxy far, far away. In 2019, his creation came to life with “Galaxy’s Edge,” the newest land in the park. Travel to the planet Batuu, a rebel outpost crawling with stormtroopers and Kylo Ren, all of whom are looking for the last jedi, Rey Skywalker. This new land is filled with beautiful artistry so real that you will forget the outside world exists. There is even a life size model of the Millennium Falcon that you can take pictures in front of. Whether you want to build your own lightsaber at Savi’s Workshop or enjoy the famous blue or green milk, this is a place you do not want to miss out on.

Number Two: Do not leave without a pair of Mickey Ears

If you are driving in from Arizona one day and wonder if you are getting close to Disneyland, just look at the people outside. Once you see hoards of people with Mickey Ears on, you are getting close. I would argue this is the most famous item we sell and for good reason. Feeling sassy, yet classy? I recommend a pair of Minnie Ears. Are you a cute couple that sees a wedding in the future? Our Jack Skellington and Sally bride and groom Mickey Ears are the perfect fit. With so many designs and colors, I can say with confidence there is a pair for everyone!

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Number One: Get a picture with one of the characters!

Again, this is something that won’t happen for a little while, but when people can meet characters again, I highly recommend it! Walt Disney was a genius creating characters that would never go out of style and could be enjoyed forever. You never know who you will run into. One moment you could be meeting Cinderella in front of the castle, and the next you could run into Peter Pan fighting Captain Hook in Fantasyland. My favorite is Tinker Bell. You can find her and all her friends at Pixie Hollow, right across from the castle. 

While all our characters are friendly, I must stress that you be nice and respectful. I do not like when I see people lose their patience with our wonderful characters. I especially hate when someone makes an inappropriate comment towards one of the princesses. Not only are the princesses polite enough to greet guests, but they take time out of their busy days of running their kingdoms to speak to you. Also, they are royalty, and you are an ugly, pathetic sexist. All the characters deserve to be treated with respect, period. They will take a picture with you and even have a brief conversation if you engage with them. I am personally acquainted with the person who plays Mickey Mouse himself. So, you better be nice, or I will tell the head mouse himself you are not allowed inside Disneyland!


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 Sean (he/him) is a business administration major from California. He enjoys playing video games and watching Disney+ in his free time. 


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UA COVID-19 Test Tracker

Daily (5/7)
271 1 0.4%
Total (8/4)
266,976 4,348 1.6%
Includes tests since August 4, 2020
Data from https://covid19.arizona.edu/updates
Updated May 7, 2021