A few weeks ago, the state of California released its theme park reopening guidelines, and according to people close to Disneyland, the guidelines will keep Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure “shuttered for the foreseeable future.”
EXCEPT…the parks aren’t going to stay totally, completely 100% closed. Not too long ago, Disney announced that Buena Vista Street inside Disney California Adventure will open up for dining and shopping. So, what does this actually mean for Disneyland??
Disney California Adventure’s move follows Knott’s Berry Farm, which has been operating various food festivals since September, including Taste of Knott’s, Knott’s Taste of Fall-O-Ween, and the upcoming Knott’s Taste of Merry Farm, while keeping the attractions and rides within its park closed.
Sea World San Diego also reopened parts of its space with SeaWorld Spooktacular, and Legoland California had some of its dining and retail locations open for Halloween in Miniland. And all of that has us wondering…should Disneyland reopen as a “mall” of sorts?
We’ve already seen a version of Disneyland space opening up for shopping, with Disney California Adventure’s Backlot Premiere Shop open for a new shopping event inside the Stage 17 building. And with Downtown Disney becoming increasingly crowded, more space could help distance crowds and show California that Disney knows what it’s doing when it comes to COVID-19 precautions.
So, if Stage 17 and Elias & Co., Julius Katz & Sons, Kingswell Camera Shop, Trolley Treats, Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe, Carthay Circle Lounge, Smokejumpers Grill, and Vending Carts can reopen on Buena Vista Street over at DCA, why can’t Carnation Cafe, Plaza Inn, Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe, the Emporium, Disney Showcase, and other shopping and dining locations open up on Main Street, U.S.A. in Disneyland proper? Limited capacity and social distancing are what they are and can be maintained in Disneyland likely just as easily at California Adventure.
Disney also has a HUGE potential opportunity with the holiday season fast approaching. Perhaps they could reopen as a Christmas on Main Street hard ticketed event, with specialty treats, merchandise, and socially distanced character meet-and-greets.
There definitely seems to be a market for this — Knott’s Berry Farm’s Taste of Fall-O-Ween event lasted 25 different days, and they all sold out! With fans clamoring for even a taste of Disneyland, a hard ticketed holiday event would probably be a huge hit! It would also get some of those Cast Members who have been out of work since March back to work.
Just imagine all those seasonal Disney treats from Jolly Holiday!
As fun as it is to think about, reopening Disneyland Park even just for limited shopping and dining, is a LOT more complicated than just saying “open ‘er up!.”
Though we’ve spotted new health and safety reminders and measures around closed Disneyland, reopening with plexiglass, social distance markers, and personal protection equipment for Cast Members is EXPENSIVE. With Disney Parks already set to lose billions of dollars, the economics or reopening areas of the parks for a relatively small amount of people may just not be profitable enough.
Both parks have similarly set up shopping and dining options along their main drags in roughly the same proximity. What seems most likely is that Disney could potentially take a “wait and see” approach with what happens with its “extension” of Downtown Disney into Disney California Adventure’s Buena Vista Street. If that goes off without a hitch, we could see the possibility to consider expanding into Walt’s original park.
Sure, California Adventure opening for shopping and dining isn’t quite what most guests likely had in mind when they wanted the parks reopened, but it’s a start. For many fans, just getting to step foot on that pavement inside the gates once more may be enough.
Regardless, this will provide an opportunity for some of the affected Cast Members to get back to work in the shops and dining and we’ll be waiting to see how everything goes. But the SECOND we hear about anything possibly reopening at Disney’s original theme park, you know we’ll fill you in!
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Do you think Disneyland Park could reopen shopping and dining? Let us know in the comments!