Everything you need to know about visiting Downtown Disney now that it’s open with new health and safety procedures at the Disneyland Resort. The area reopened July 9th to the public. Plus you can now enter Disney California Adventure, no ticket required to shop and eat. See details on my post about Buena Vista here.
Downtown Disney offers shopping, dining, music and more. The reopening has brought some much needed Disney Magic our way. Even though Disneyland remains closed you can still enjoy the views, shop, eat and soak up a bit of magic! I have visited several times myself and felt very safe while there. Disney has done a great job implementing new safety procedures and rules. Let’s dive into the details as well as share some helpful tips if you plan to visit. Here’s what you need to know for the best time!
There is only one self-parking lot open, the Simba Parking Lot. None of the other parking lots are open at this time. Parking as of November 19th is $10 per car. The parking lot opens at 9:45 a.m. most mornings.
After parking guests will walk to the Downtown Disney entrance adjacent to the Disneyland Hotel, near Earl of Sandwich. (see map included)
The Harbor Boulevard Guest drop-off and pick-up location is open for drop-offs as well. In addition there is another guest drop-off and pick-up location on Downtown Drive.
Other parking options
If you don’t want to park in the Simba parking lot there are other parking options. You can park at the Anaheim hotel just across from the Harbor entrance for $15. Plus the Anaheim Garden Walk is across Harbor and down the street. You pay by the hour at the Garden Walk to park. The first hour is free and then it’s $3 per hour to park up to $30 total for the day. I have also heard the Tropicana is offering parking for $15 per day. And the Grand Legacy hotel across the street on Harbor is offering parking for $10 plus tax. The Best Western Park Place also has parking for $15. These locations and prices are subject to change.
Once you have parked you will head to security. There are 3 spots you pass through at security. First temperature screenings, then a walk through past the sniffing dogs and lastly bag check.
I’d bring only bare minimum to keep bag check easy. If you don’t want security to touch your bag with their gloves you can ask them to change into new gloves. Or you can ask them to check with their flashlight only as you open each compartment. But as long as you cooperate they will work with you.
Just a little tip on busy days. If you can Uber or get dropped off on the Harbor Blvd side that’s the fastest. The security lines and whole process goes much faster with little to no wait times. Above I mentioned several places to park on the Harbor side.
Hours of Operation
Operating hours are normally 10 am to 8, 9 or 10 pm. You can check the Disneyland app for sure on the day you plan to visit. Scroll all the way down on the home page and click on All Hours. Then click the date you plan to go and it will tell you the hours for Downtown Disney.
Disney has implemented new health and safety measures based on guidance from health authorities, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and appropriate government agencies. All guests and cast members must comply. There are reminders all around in Downtown Disney.
Face coverings are required for Guests ages 2 and older. Kids must wear masks and stay 6 feet away from others. Practice before you go. If your child can’t do this you shouldn’t bring them.
Physical distancing measures, including physically-distanced queues and seating, and physical barriers at select locations. Cashless transactions are recommended.
An increased focus on cleaning and sanitation, including the addition of hand-washing stations and hand sanitizers in key areas. There are hand sanitizers and hand washing stations all over so use them!
Dining options and tips
Make a reservation in the Disneyland app ahead of time at many dining locations: La Brea Bakery Cafe, Naples, Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen, Tortilla Jo’s and Uva Bar. Another option, you can look for a reservation in the app Open Table for Naples, Ballast Point or Tortilla Jo’s. The other option is to just go directly to the dining location once you arrive. You will be added to the wait list or be seated depending on availability. Many locations don’t offer reservations it’s just first come first served at the following establishments, Asian Street Eats, Black Tap Craft Burgers & Shakes and Earl of Sandwich. Look in the Disneyland app to see all the dining options that are open at this time. Search under Dining in the app.
Pro Tip: If you want to guarantee entrance into Downtown Disney book a dining reservation for the day you plan to go. When you get to the parking lot or line for security you can show them your dining reservation to skip the line. They will give you immediate access if there is a wait to get inside Downtown Disney. They will only let you in 15 minutes prior to your reservation though. This tip is helpful on weekends when it gets busy.
Special note: Now that Buena Vista Street is open you can get advanced dining reservations at Carthay Circle. It can be tricky to get a reservation for this in demand location so make sure you read about how to get one here.
Marceline’s is open with a limited variety of park treats, but hey it’s a start! They normally have caramel apples, rice crispy treats, cookies, marshmallow wands and of course my favorite churro toffee! In addition to treats in the bakery cases they have packaged items like popcorn, toffee, candy etc.
When the line is at capacity they offer a virtual queue. Find the cast member holding the sign for the virtual queue. Give them your phone number and they will put you in the virtual line. When it’s your turn you will get a text message to return. It will tell you how long you have to return so if you’re eating or shopping don’t worry you have time to get back.
World of Disney is open and stocked with all the Disney merchandise. When the store is at capacity they will implement a virtual queue as well. Find the end of the line and give the cast member your phone number for a text back when it’s your turn to go inside. There are other stores where the same rules apply, if they are too full there will be a virtual line you wait in. Look in the Disneyland app to see all the stores that are open at this time. Search under Shops in the app.
- If you can go during the week to Downtown Disney you will find there are less people. It gets busier on the weekends. So if you do go on the weekends arrive early in the day to maximize your time.
- It can get hot in Southern California plus add a mask so remember that when you’re planning your visit. There is not much shade in the heat of the day. Keep this in mind as you decide what time to go. Check my Amazon park items list for my favorite Disney fan to keep you cool!
- If you go on a busy day I recommend getting in the virtual queue for Marceline’s and World of Disney first thing. That way you can spend your time exploring others stores while you wait for them to text you back.
- There is a new shopping area called the Backlot Premiere Shop. It is located on the east side of the Esplanade. It’s kind of just an extension of the World of Disney store. That line is usually shorter depending on the day and is a great way to spend time while you wait for your texts back from other locations. Update: the only way to go in this store now is to have a ticket to A Touch of Disney.
Buena Vista Street
Update: This area is only accessible now if you have a ticket to A Touch of Disney. The new extension to Downtown Disney has opened up. Guests can now enter Disney’s California Adventure for shopping and dining at no additional cost. Once you arrive to Downtown Disney you will want to get in the virtual queue if this is on your to do list, which it should be. I have a whole separate blog post here with all the information you need to know.Follow the rules!
Stay safe and follow the rules if you plan to visit Downtown Disney. Keep your masks on, stay 6 feet apart and wash your hands frequently. State officials are watching your posts, stories etc and we don’t want to give them any reason to shut down this experience. Plus we want to show them that we can comply and are ready for them to let Disneyland open!
If you plan to make a trip to visit Downtown Disney and are looking for a place to stay check out this post.
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