Amidst a backdrop of varying opinions, Downtown Disney has reopened at the Disneyland Resort. In step with guidance from the state of California and after receiving approval from the government to reopen, the popular Disney retail and dining complex welcomed back its first visitors since the closures caused by the global COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
The Downtown Disney official operating hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., daily while individual location hours may vary. Although some reports on social media showed an early morning bum rush to merchandise shelves at World of Disney, our experience was decidedly more relaxed. Just an hour later, we found a less stressfull experience once the ravenous piranha pool of resellers had cleared the waters.
Arriving at Downtown Disney
We expected the morning of the very first day to be busy and that certainly turned out to be the case. Approximately 40 minutes before 10am, the cars were backed up all the way to the entrance of the Mickey and Friends Parking Structure. The only place to park for Downtown Disney at present is the Simba parking lot located south of the Paradise Pier Hotel which is exactly the opposite end of the resort.
Although Disney is not advertising it, parking at Downtown Disney is free… for now.
Simba and Zazu spots are available for parking. Cast Members were not directing traffic once you passed the toll gate.
Entering Downtown Disney
In the morning, the line extended from Downtown Disney all the way back to the parking lot. The morning rush cleared out quickly as the Downtown Disney and Esplanade areas were large enough to soak up the crowds.
Signage is posted at several points all around the property warning of COVID-19 and safety precautions in place
Social Distance markers are indicated on the ground wherever lines are expected to form. This includes leading up to the entrance as well as in front of all entry ways from shops, restaurants, restrooms, and more.
Guests with temperatures of 100.4 F or above will not be allowed entry, nor will those in their party. Guests may choose to sit in a cool-down tent and see if their temperature reaches the admissible level.
Canine Security Screenings
Guests are asked to take all bags off of their shoulders and hold them close to the ground as they pass through the canine security screening tent.
Bag Check Security Screening
A similar setup to how you might remember from before but with a few notable changes.
Social Distancing markers direct you back to the familiar green tents for bag screening.
Plexiglass shields are up and security asked us to open up our bags. They wore gloves but did not touch the bag or its contents. They asked us to move things around so that they could see inside.
Once the bag was screened, we were asked to put our stuff on the table near the metal detector. No Cast Member was staffed here as we’ve seen in the past. Instead, we put our stuff down on the table, walked through the metal detector, and then picked up the items after passing through.
Inside Downtown Disney
A series of notices and signs are available upon entering Downtown Disney. You can find each one in larger size below if you’d like to read them more clearly.
Lots of signage constantly reinforces the new health and safety requirements.
Sanitization and Cleaning
Hand sanitizer stations can be found around Downtown Disney as can sinks with soap advising guests wash their hands for at least 20 seconds.
We’re not sure if the water fountains are in operation — we didn’t want to touch them — but we’ve seen several similar public places cover-up or otherwise close off their water fountains.
For now, indoor dining is not allowed so outdoor dining spaces have been expanded in an effort to accommodate more guests while allowing for social distancing.
Expanded outdoor dining patios for Splitsville, and Tortilla Jo’s and Black Tap.
Uva Bar is completely outdoors.
Not all restaurants were ready for opening day.
Restaurants that are open are utilizing limited menus.
The Patina Restaurant Group locations in Downtown Disney (Tortilla Jo’s, Naples Ristorante E Bar, Catal Retaurant, and Uva Bar) are enforcing their company’s Dine-Safe initiative along with guidance from Disney and the state.
Socially distanced queues for dining locations fill up the walkways.
All the shops in Downtown Disney similarly have very little capacity and are utilizing outside walkway space for socially distanced queues.
In the morning, the Espalande was used as extended overflow queue for World of Disney. At some point while we were waiting, it turned from being a queue for World of Disney admission into queue for World of Disney reservation. When we reached the front of the line, a Cast Member took our name and phone number to secure our reservation. The line was about 25 minutes long and the wait from reservation to entrance was about an hour. Many guests were seen socially distancing in the random shade spots around the area.
More on World of Disney further down in the update.
The World of Disney will see you now. pic.twitter.com/vh12w885wJ
— MouseInfo (@MouseInfo) July 9, 2020
Sanuk is becoming California Sole. An opening date has not yet been announced.
Photo-op at the husk of the former ESPN Zone.
Around the Resort
Disneyland and Disney California Adventure sit empty awaiting approval from the government to reopen.
Plexiglass can be seen at each turnstile to help protect Cast Members and guests as they enter the park… whenever that will be.
For now, the monorail track is the closest you can get to the Disneyland entrance. You can, however, go up to the DCA entrance gates.
All hotel areas are currently off limits.
A bunch of containers sit in the parking lot near the Disneyland Hotel.
It seems on the first day of operation, Downtown Disney did in fact reach capacity. We noticed on our way out that Anaheim PD were not allowing cars to enter the Simba Parking Lot and electric signage indicated “Downtown Disney Entry Paused.”
Inside World of Disney
World of Disney currently has one entrance (near the Starbucks). When capacity warrants, the store utilizes mobile reservations to give shoppers a return time to help maintain reduced capacity inside.
There’s only one exit for World of Disney (near La Break Bakery.)
The middle doorway at Downtown Disney is currently not be used at all.
Signage inside also reminds guests to maintain physical distancing.
Although videos went viral on Thursday morning showing ravenous shoppers in a Black Friday-like shuffle of frantic energy, when we entered (at close to noon) we found no chaos throughout the store. The vibe was akin to how it feels in our local grocery stores. People wearing masks and respectfully social distancing.
Did it feel safe? About as safe as you might feel in your local grocery store. Take that for what it’s worth!
Masks are available individually at a cost of 4 for $20.
Although it photographs more in an orange hue, a collection of merchandise in coral color has hit the shelves. You can become your own Disneyland Rose — the official flower of Disneyland which blooms in similar colors.
THE MANDALORIAN is well represented in the form of more merch of The Child AKA Baby Yoda.
Disneyland 65th Anniversary
A collection of merchandise celebrating Disneyland’s recent 65th Anniversary has also hit the shelves.
The recently delayed theatrical release of MULAN put merchandising in an awkward situation with a bunch of really great merch created to promote a movie that is not coming out any time soon.
More in Store
For now, the following shopping and dining locations are open at the Downtown Disney. Additional locations may reopen in the future. Remember that hours of operation may also vary.
- Asian Street Eats™ by Chef Hung Huynh
- Black Tap Craft Burgers & Shakes
- California Churro
- Curl Surf
- Disney Home
- Disney’s Pin Traders
- Earl of Sandwich®
- Kayla’s Cakes
- Marceline’s Confectionery
- Naples Ristorante e Bar
- PANDORA® Jewelry
- Rinse Bath & Body Co.
- Salt & Straw
- Starbucks® West
- Sugarboo & Co.
- Sunglass Icon®
- The Disney Dress Shop
- The LEGO® Store
- UVA Bar & Cafe
- Wetzel’s Pretzels®
- WonderGround Gallery
- World of Disney®
Recap: Downtown Disney Safety Measures
Below is a recap of the important details to know prior to arrival, courtesy of Disney.
- LIMITED PARKING AND ENTRANCES: During this initial phase, guests will be directed to self-park in the Simba lot and enter the Downtown Disney District from the west entrance or walk from Harbor Blvd. on the east entrance
- TEMPERATURE SCREENINGS PRIOR TO ENTRY: Guests with temperatures 100.4 F or above will not be allowed entry, nor will those in their party
- ENHANCED CLEANING PROCEDURES: Increased focus on cleaning and sanitation, including the addition of hand sanitizer and hand washing stations in key areas
- FACE COVERINGS REQUIRED: Guests, cast members and operating participant employees will be required to wear an appropriate face covering. Guests must bring their own face coverings.
- PHYSICAL DISTANCING AND CAPACITY MEASURES: Ground markings and physical barriers will help promote physical distancing
- OPERATIONAL CHANGES: Operating hours of each location may vary. Cashless payment is recommended.
Reflecting the uncertainty of the times with continued questions about the the safety of reopening during the ongoing pandemic, Disney is also issuing the following warning for all guests visiting the Disneyland Resort. Signage posted around the Resort also issues similar messaging.
We have taken enhanced health and safety measures—for you, our other Guests and Cast Members—and we ask that you follow all posted instructions while visiting the Disneyland Resort.
However, an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 currently exists in any public place where people are present. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, senior citizens and Guests with underlying medical conditions are especially vulnerable.
By visiting the Disneyland Resort, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.
Help keep each other healthy and safe.
In Other News
We noticed that Tiffy’s Family Restaurant is being demolished. We’re not sure what will be done with the space located next to a new hotel construction project on the same block as the Anaheim Convention Center.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!
Miss an update? See all of our previous pictorials here!