Anaheim, California (CNN) — Disneyland Resort traditionally draws millions of visitors from around the world each year to “the happiest place on Earth,” but after closing for more than a year because of the pandemic, the resort was forced to make some major changes aimed at safely welcoming guests back.

A month after the Southern California attraction reopened to out-of-state visitors, I took a road trip from Arizona to see how much of the magic remained.

Crowds are back

Crowds feel like pre-pandemic levels with people crowding walkways and rushing to their next ride.

Crowds feel like pre-pandemic levels with people crowding walkways and rushing to their next ride.

Megan Marples/CNN

When I visited the weekend after July 4, Disneyland and California Adventure parks were packed.

Since reopening, Disneyland Resort runs on a reservation system, so you must reserve the park that you want to visit in advance, with some capacity limitations.

Disneyland makes clear on its website that offerings are subject to change.

“Certain parks, hotels, restaurants, attractions, experiences and other offerings may be modified or unavailable, have limited capacity, and are subject to limited availability or even closure, and park admission and offerings are not guaranteed,” the site reads.

The reservation system didn’t appear to do much for crowd control when I was there. Within two hours of the parks opening each day, crowds would fill the walkways, packed together so tightly my shoulders brushed others in high-traffic areas.

A few social distancing markers remained on the ground, but no one seemed to follow them. Both while walking freely around the park and while waiting in line for rides and food, people stood less than a foot away from each other.

Masks were few and far between

Very few people, adults

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