A lot of our attention has been centered around Disney World lately now that Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom have reopened for Cast Member and Annual Passholder preview days this week, but now we’re taking you over to the west side of the United Stares — or SoCal to be more specific!
Disney World’s shopping and entertainment district known as Disney Springs reopened all the way back in May, but Downtown Disney (the Disneyland Resort equivalent) has just started welcoming guests back TODAY!
It’s been a minute since we roamed Disneyland Resort! The theme parks, hotels, and Downtown Disney closed down right around the same time as Walt Disney World back in March!
And while it’s still unknown when Disneyland’s theme parks and hotels will reopen, Downtown Disney is now open from 10AM to 8PM daily. However, some individual locations might have varying hours.
Here’s our experience walking around, shopping, and dining.
Downtown Disney officially reopened on July 9th, and we visited in the evening to see crowd levels, what was open (and closed), and of course, to have a bite to eat!
We heard reports that Downtown Disney was much busier today now that it’s open to the general public than it was during Cast Member previews.
When we arrived this evening, the crowd levels weren’t NEARLY as busy as we had heard about earlier today, but it was similar to a normal weekend crowd.
Most stores and restaurants had lines to get in, and we heard that that wait to shop in Marceline’s Confectionary (for all of that delicious churro toffee!) was an hour long.
World of Disney
Just like at Disney Springs in Orlando, World of Disney uses a virtual queue to limit capacity. When we visited Downtown Disney, the queue was pretty lengthy with a 90-minute wait, though we had been warned that it could be two or two-and-a-half hours before we could go in.
Once we did go in, we noticed that the store was well stocked, including plenty of 65th anniversary merchandise.
There were spirit jerseys of all sizes, Minnie ears, dress shirts, skirts, plushes, socks, picture frames and more galore! So if you couldn’t hit up Disneyland today, don’t sweat it!
We also spotted Disney face masks, Baby Yoda plushes, and other in-demand merch for sale!
Only a handful of Downtown Disney restaurants have reopened. To see what the experience is like, we grabbed a bite at Naples Ristorante e Bar.
So, what’s it like dining in a newly reopened Downtown Disney restaurant? Naples was NOT seating people indoors, so we were seated at a table outside.
We noticed that social distancing measures were in place, including tables closed off to diners.
Naples is offering a limited menu, and we received a paper menu when seated. Despite the slimmed down offerings, Italian classics such as Spaghetti Meat Balls, Cheese Ravioli, and a Calamari Fritti appetizer were available.
We decided to keep it classic with the Spaghetti Meat Balls.
Staff was very welcoming and very on top of things, helping us to feel at home again at Downtown Disney.
And for MORE of our experiences at Downtown Disney, see what things were like at the Cast Member preview earlier this week by reading below!
Cast Member Preview
We had a chance to scope out Downtown Disney yesterday for a Cast Member preview (we were invited by a friend) and found the vibe to be pretty chill.
Crowds were minimal with very short wait times to enter shops — some stores we were able to walk right in!
Parking at Downtown Disney is currently free, but only the self-park Simba lot is open (located next to/behind Paradise Pier Hotel). Disneyland’s monorail is not currently running.
Health and Safety Measures
Disney has already informed us about the many precautions they’ll be taking to keep guests and Cast Members safe. We noticed several new health and safety signs have gone up throughout Downtown Disney.
Guests are also required to provide their own face masks. We saw some Cast Members handing out disposable face masks to a few guests who didn’t have appropriate face coverings, but we highly recommend bringing your own face mask with ear loops — or you could be turned away.
The new signs remind folks to wear face coverings at all times, wash hands their frequently, and practice social distancing.
Some health and safety notices have also been installed on the light posts, similar to the ones we’ve previously seen at Disney World.
Hand sanitizer stations have been set up throughout the district so that guests may disinfect regularly.
We also saw that some portable sinks have been set up for guests to use.
All guests are required to have their temperature taken before entering Downtown Disney. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 degrees and above will be asked to leave, along with the rest of their party.
After passing through the temperature check, guests will be required to have their bags screened and pass through the metal detectors. Plexiglass barriers have installed between guests and Security Cast Members who are conducting the bag checks.
World of Disney
Select retail locations (including World of Disney!) have reopened with new health and safety procedures in place. Stores have a limited capacity, so once they’re full, guests must wait outside while practicing social distancing.
Just like we’ve experienced at Disney World, several Disney-owned shops have a virtual queue system they can activate if the line is too long. You’ll still have to wait in line to give Cast Members your name and number, but they’ll contact you when it’s time to return to the store and do your shopping. Most stores now have a dedicated entrance and exit as well.
At World of Disney’s check out, we noticed social distancing markers have been placed in their queue area.
Plexiglass barriers have been installed at each cash register and contactless forms of payment are being highly encouraged.
We spotted this amazing display of the new Disneyland Resort 65th-Anniversary merch which we’ll be back to tell you more about in a little bit! It’s such a gorgeous collection and we can’t wait to show you more pics of it!
Meanwhile, we noticed a few more shops have reopened including Disney Home which had a bit of a line.
Curl Surf Shop has also reopened for all your surfer needs.
The Dress Shop is also welcoming back guests and plexiglass shields have been installed at their cash registers.
And right next door, Marceline’s Confectionery was pretty bumping! This was the longest we had to wait to enter a store yesterday.
In fact, Marceline’s Confectionery was busy enough for Cast Members to utilize its virtual queue to keep a crowd from forming outside. We put in our name and number and roamed around Downtown Disney until we were notified to return to the entrance. There was also the option to wait in a standby socially distanced line.
Marceline’s Confectionery is rather small, so only three parties are permitted inside at one time.
A few varieties of treats were available including cookies, candy apples, marshmallow wands, and other goodies, but the number of offerings was significantly fewer. They DID have Churro Toffee, but supplies might be limited!
Some of the treats were already packaged…
…and some were being packaged inside the store like these Minnie Krispy Treats. To us, it appeared nothing was being made fresh inside the store while guests were there. We’ll keep on eye on this.
The bakery case was stocked up with goodies — although noticeably fewer.
If you don’t see your favorite type of treat just yet, don’t worry. We’re sure they’ll return someday when things are more normal. For now, you might want to get to Marceline’s Confectionery early to head off the crowds and have the best selection. All items in the bakery case are now individually wrapped.
The Goofy Sour Candy Straw stand that used to be located in this spot has also been removed.
Plexiglass shields have also been installed at Marceline’s Confectionery’s cash registers as well. We were still able to use our Disneyland AP discount.
California recently enforced a new mandate that requires indoor dining locations to close in 19 counties, including Orange County, where Disneyland Resort is located. A few Downtown Disney dining locations that offer outdoor seating or to-go orders have been able to open though.
Earl of Sandwich
We noticed a few restaurants have reopened at Downtown Disney including Earl of Sandwich.
Plexiglass barriers have been installed around Earl of Sandwich’s counter.
Grab and go bottled drinks and snacks are available for guests to pick out on their own.
They had lots of bags of chips and we found out you can still get fountain drinks. A Disneyland Cast Member will fill your cup for you and refills are still available.
When it’s time to dine, guests can sit out on their outdoor patio. There are no big communal tables and tables have been spread apart.
Salt & Straw
We also stopped by Salt & Straw for some dessert. There were two options for ordering here — wait in a socially distanced line or order and pay using your phone and they will bring your ice cream out to you!
They had a QR code outside you could scan with your phone to place your order.
We decided to go inside to order. Only four parties are being allowed inside at one time. You’re directed to a taped rectangle on the ground and there are currently no samples. Seating is available outside.
We got their seasonal flavor, Birthday Cake & Blackberries flavor from the summer Berries, Berries, Berries series and it was delicious!
Catal Restaurant will be reopening soon, but Uva Bar is now open.
Black Tap Craft Burgers & Shakes had their window open, but the restaurant was still closed yesterday.
Splitsville isn’t open yet, but folks are permitted to sit outside on their patio.
Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen is still currently closed.
The updated Jamba is now open and had a little bit of a crowd outside.
Naples Ristorante e Pizzeria’s patio is also open.
California Churro cart is also open.
Overall, we had a great experience at Downtown Disney yesterday. Cast Members were very welcoming and were thanking guests for coming. The crowds felt manageable and guests seemed to be following the rules. But do keep in mind this was a Cast Member preview, so our experience today will be more telling.
We’ll continue our live reporting from Downtown Disney is just a little bit and let you know what the crowds are like now that the district has reopened to the general public, so stay tuned for more updates!
Will you be heading to Downtown Disney this week? Let us know in the comments below.