Find everything you need to know about A Touch of Disney including food tips, character information, photo ops, recommendations and more. My reunion with Mickey at Disney California Adventure for the new A Touch of Disney event was everything I hoped for and more. What a fantastic visit back to my happy place after over a year. Just because the rides weren’t open doesn’t mean the magic wasn’t there. The sights, sounds and smells (through my mask) were spectacular. The event has limited capacity and that was nice. I never felt uncomfortable. Disney has implemented new safety procedures and protocols you can read about here. If you followed along on Instagram you saw that I attended the event opening day and the following day. I have lots to share about my experience so let’s get to it.
Arrival and parking
The ticket for A Touch of Disney includes parking at the Mickey and Friends parking structure. They start letting guests in to park at 11:30 a.m. Your ticket allows you free parking here and here ONLY! I wanted to be in line and arrive earlier than the parking garage would allow me, so I chose to park on Harbor Blvd. Anyone can park on Harbor Blvd and go through security on that side. There is usually little to no wait as seen below.
Several hotels offer parking for a fee, see this post for parking options on Harbor. I recommend that you arrive by 11:00 am. They start letting guests into the event around 11:30 am even though it technically doesn’t start until 12:00 pm. Another option if you want to arrive early is to pay $10 and park at the Simba parking lot for Downtown Disney. Then walk through DTD to the gates of Disney California Adventure. For more information about Downtown Disney read here.
When you placed your order for A Touch of Disney tickets you received an email. You will take that email with the bar code to the gates. I just used my phone and showed the bar code. The cast member will scan your barcode and then hand you a hard ticket for the event plus your $25 dining card. Don’t loose you dining card, they won’t replace it. And get a guide map at the gates as well.
Also you are free to come and go. You can leave DCA and go to Downtown Disney if you want and return. You have a hard ticket to return.
Ordering food tips and info
Make sure to download the Disneyland app before you visit. The app is very user friendly and easy to use. Use the app to mobile order (not sure how to mobile order read here) at quick service locations, so basically everywhere. Most locations only offer mobile order and no walk up window. The first day the mobile ordering was not working very efficiently and created long wait times. But by the second day it was fixed. So I encourage you to mobile order food at all of these locations.
- Adorable Snowman Frosted Treats
- Award Wieners
- Bayside Brews
- Cappuccino Cart (NEW mobile order)
- Cocina Cucamonga
- Cozy Cone Motel (NEW mobile order)
- Pacific Wharf Distribution Co.
- Rita’s Baja Blenders
- Smokejumpers Grill
- Sonoma Terrace
When mobile ordering you can use your Disney dining card to pay. Add the card each time you place an order. On the order summary page it will ask you for payment method. Scroll down and hit “Add a Card.” You cannot use the Disney dining card to pay for alcohol. So if you want to mobile order food and alcohol from the same location you will need to enter two separate mobile orders. Mobile ordering is easy and once you do it one time you won’t want to order food any other way. If you’re a Legacy Passholder (previously called Annual Passholders) then your discount will automatically show up on the order screen at checkout with your discount applied.
UPDATE: As of 4-10 the Marketplace cashiers are no longer available, so mobile order is your only option.
The exception to NOT using mobile ordering is for the 6 marketplace booths. These are the booths located along the parade route … Disney D-Lish, California Craft Brews, LA Style, Golden Dreams, Uncork California and Cluck-A-Doodle-Moo. I prefer ordering at the marketplace cashiers instead of using mobile order and I’ll explain why. There are two places where you can find the Marketplace cashiers.
Look for the signs above along the path on the left just before Carsland and next to the Little Mermaid. See the photo below.
At the Marketplace cashiers you purchase everything you want to eat or drink at any of the 6 Marketplace booths. It’s like one stop shopping. Order everything at once. Then you take the receipt they give you and go around to each individual Marketplace to pick up your item. You have the rest of the day to pick up your item whenever you want. At each marketplace booth there are two separate lines. One for mobile order pick up and another for receipt pick up. So make sure you stand in the receipt pick up line. They will ask for your receipt and highlight the item you’re picking up. Don’t loose your receipt, if you do you’re out of luck. The receipt is the only way you can get your items. Now, I couldn’t eat all the food I ordered. So I took my receipt back to the cashier at the end of the night and got a refund for my one remaining item that wasn’t highlighted.
In preparation for your day print off my FREE food checklist so you know what food is available and where to find it. The list also notes which locations use mobile ordering to help you. Your $25 dining card goes about as far as 3 food and/or non-alcoholic drink items on average. For exact pricing you can see prices listed in the Disneyland app. You can use the dining card to pay for food at any location except for Ghirardelli’s.
Food and drink ratings
There are a lot of classic food items available including popcorn, corn dog, churro, pretzel and more. But there were also some NEW food items and old fan favorites from Disneyland. Here’s my take on what I ate over the two days.
- Award Weiners – carrot cake funnel fries 10/10
- Cocina Cucamonga – skewers beef 10/10 and chicken 6/10 (my chicken one was very dry), Jalapeno-Bacon peanut brittle (very interesting flavor) 7/10
- Ghirardelli Soda Fountain Shop – Ocean Beach sundae but asked for White Chocolate Caramel square 10/10
- Adorable Snowman – Lemon/pineapple swirl 10/10 FAVORITE thing I ate!
- Sonoma Terrace – Grilled cheese with tomato basil soup 10/10
- Cozy Cone #3 – Bacon Mac ’n Cheese 9/10
- Smokejumpers Grill – Brisket Mac ’n cheese (new) 10/10, half Monte Cristo Sandwich 10/10 (my favorite savory food that I missed so much!), S’mores shake (new) 10/10
- California Craft Brews – Pepperoni Pizza Egg Rolls 8/10
- D-Lish – Very Very Berry Mickey Waffle 10/10 and Farmstand Punch 8/10
- Cluck-A-Doodle-Moo – Watermelon Agua Fresca (I wouldn’t get it again) 4/10
- Golden Dreams – Carbonara Mac ’n Cheese 10/10
UPDATE as of 4-9: Flo’s V8 Cafe is now open with a limited menu. I had the fired chicken and it tasted delicious as usual 10/10
Lamplight Lounge and Carthay Circle
The only guaranteed way to dine at Lamplight Lounge or Carthay Circle is with a dining reservation. If you got a reservation then you’re lucky. I was able to go with my friend who got a reservation at Lamplight Lounge. I will share about our experience and then you can decide if you want to go. And then I will explain how to possibly get a reservation if you don’t have one already.
If you have a dining reservation you just head to the restaurant at the specified time and scan the QR code out front to check in. We had reservations for the first day at 5:15 pm but we weren’t seated until 5:45 pm. Then we were seated near the water and had great views, but that’s not guaranteed. The views, drinks, food and conversation were wonderful! I had the Barbacoa Nachos and wow they were SO good 10/10! And I tried two different non-alcoholic drinks, Goofball Island with fruit punch, lemonade and raspberry puree 9/10. It was good but I’d definitely get the other drink, 2319 again! 2319 is a frozen Cocktail with strawberry puree, cream of coconut, pineapple juice topped with Coca-Cola 10/10.
My food experience at Lamplight was great! But by the time our order was taken, we received our food and paid the bill (you can use your Disney dining card here), our dinner took over two hours. Now this experience differs from my last visit to Lamplight Lounge pre-closure. Last time it took about an hour and that’s to be expected. But this time because I was on a time limit due to the event, I wish that I hadn’t wasted 1/4 of the event in one location. By the time we left it was 7:40 pm and it ends at 8:00 pm. I share this experience with you not to complain but just to consider if this is how you want to spend your time during A Touch of Disney. And this may not happen to you, but you should consider if that’s how you want to spend 2 of your 8 hours in the park.
Now, what about everyone who didn’t get a dining reservation but wants one! I have a few recommendations for you. When you arrive at the event head over to Lamplight Lounge and scan the sign shown in the photo below. You might get lucky!
Another option is check the app every day until your date, at different times during the day. You never know when someone will drop their reservation. If you want to use my PRO TIP to finding hard to get reservations check this post! Then once you’re at the event check in the app while you’re there. Someone may change their mind and cancel their reservation the day of the event. And lastly you may be able to add your party to the walk-up list at either location using the Disneyland app. Check availability via the app—or by scanning a QR code located near the restaurant entrance. Use the app to add your party to the walk-up list.
If you are able to join then you’ll be notified via the app once your table is ready. All members of your party must be present when you arrive—as your entire party will be seated at once. The walk-up wait list may not be available everyday and when it is available it fills up quickly.
Characters around the park
Oh it was so wonderful to see the characters out socially distanced from the guests. I loved seeing them interact with guests from afar. Here’s a list of all of the characters and where you can find them.
- Max and Goody at Pacific Wharf – The cutest character interaction.
- Chip and Dale playing hide and go seek over in the forest along the path to Grizzly River Run by the Grand hotel.
- Donald Duck can be found waving to guests from his balcony at the Grand Californian hotel. He naps a lot so ask a cast member when he’ll be out again.
- UPDATE these characters are no longer available here. Mickey, Minnie, Pluto and Daisy at Silly Symphony Swings. This location has all four characters and they rotate. There’s always two there at once.
- Sadness and Joy rotate at Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind
- Miguel at Paradise Gardens
- Pluto above on the patio next to Carthay Circle
- Frozone and Edna Mode at the Incredicoaster
- Lightning McQueen and Mater in Carsland
- New sighting of Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse over along the platform next to The Little Mermaid ride. (west side) Seen on 4-1-21
PhotoPass and Magic Shots
Take advantage of the PhotoPass photographers at A Touch of Disney. And don’t forget to ask for Magic shots! Magic shots are added characters, food, balloons etc. they put on your photo after the fact as seen in the photo below. You never know if you’ll magically be holding balloons or if Tinker Bell will appear. They are a fun addition to your photos. Look for PhotoPass photographers around and take advantage of all the photos that are included with your event ticket.
Photographers are located at iconic places in the park. Use the Disneyland app to locate them, search under PhotoPass. I saw photographers off and on at the following locations throughout the event.
- Storytellers Statue
- Hollywood Boulevard
- Carsland entrance sign
- Carsland on Route 66
- Carsland by the mountains heading to Pacific Wharf
- Bridge to Pixar Pier
- Pixar Pier Buzz Lightyear Wings Wall
- Paradise Gardens Park Pepita Wings Wall
- Grizzly Peak by the plane next to Soarin’
- Carthay Circle sign
Once your photos are taken they will show up soon after in the Disneyland app. Then you can save them to your phone. Don’t forget to download at some point because they will disappear from the app 6 weeks later.
Note: There are no photographers at the photo backgrounds like at the Legacy Passholder photo op, Wanda Vision, Little Mermaid backdrop and others.
Speaking of backdrops there are plenty around to take photos in front of. Here’s a list of the ones I noticed.
- Toy Story truck in front of the Little Mermaid
- Little Mermaid backdrop in front of the ride
- Monsters Inc. Pixar Play Parade float and Roz across from Golden Zephyr
- Legacy Passholder backdrop celebrating 20 years of DCA across from Silly Symphony Swings
- D23 Mickey hands near Ghirardelli
- Avengers Campus walls have 3 large backdrops to pose in front of
- Wanda Vision over in Hollywood land next to Award Weiners
- NEW Falcon and Winter Soldier near Monsters Inc.
- Tinker Bell and the Castle next to Award Weiners
Plus there are lots of fun backdrops painted on buildings throughout the park.
Legacy Passholders Corner
During the A Touch of Disney ticketed event, Legacy Passholders (previously called Annual Passholders) can enjoy special access to the Legacy Passholder Corner. In celebration of Disney California Adventure park’s 20th anniversary, Disney is offering special gifts for passholders ONLY. The LP Corner is located in front of Silly Symphony Swings, open noon – 6 pm every day during the event. Exclusive gifts (while supplies last) and opportunities include…
- Special Legacy Passholder-themed magnet
- Special button featuring a unique design
- DCA 20th anniversary-themed photo opportunity
- And view the historical timeline charting the evolution of DCA on display
Other tips and info
There are no lockers available, so bring a backpack to carry around your essentials including a jacket. It’s warm during the day and then chilly at night.
Baby Center is open for all your baby needs. You can change diapers, feed babies, pump and purchase essential supplies for your baby. It it located near Carsland next to Ghirardelli’s.
There are no water bottle refill stations. Bring your own water or ask for courtesy cups at quick service locations. The best price I found on water bottles was at Ghirardelli’s for $1.75
Midway Mania games along the pier are FREE. One day they were handing out prizes and the other they were not. But at least they are free to play.
There is plenty of shopping throughout DCA. For a full list head over to my original A Touch of Disney post.
Since Disneyland is not open yet, there are only a few hotels open for guests. If you’re looking for a hotel check out this post for my recommendations.
If you need to rent a scooter for A Touch of Disney call Jerry 562-697-7725 at A Scooter 4 U. I have used him many times. Tell him that the Disneyland Tour Guide sent you and receive 5% off your rental fee.
Don’t forget to
Watch the neon lights turn on in Carsland at sunset. There is no set time just google time of sunset in Anaheim. Arrive about 10 minutes before the sunset time. Find a spot on Route 66. I suggest in front of Cozy Cone. When you hear the song Sha Boom, Life Could be a Dream, then you know it’s starting. Look towards the fire station and watch the neon signs light up and down the street just like in the movie Cars.
Listen to the announcements from KBVS radio (Buena Vista Street radio). There is a really funny one about taking photos for the gram. Also the new sound track that plays while you’re in the park loops every 90 minutes so you’ll hear the same songs many times. I loved some of the new songs, they are very catchy and will be in your head all day.
Wear sunscreen I got sunburned.
Soak it all up the time goes quickly. I am glad that I had two days to take it all in. I hope that you have a wonderful time. And as always if you have any questions comment below. And now I’m off to start a new post about the reopening of Disneyland April 30th. We don’t have many details other than the date, capacity and for CA residents only. When I know more I will share! Make sure you’re following along on Instagram for all the latest news!
Be sure to pin this post to your favorite Disney board and share with anyone you know going to the event!
So you can only use the Marketplace cashiers for Marketplace booths and NOT the other other restaurants (Smoke Jumpers, Award Seiners, etc.), right?
Thanks for this very thorough breakdown!
Yes that’s correct. Marketplace cashiers are only for the 6 Marketplace booths you got it!
Thank you Shantelle! Your blog is absolutely amazing. Love the detailed coverage of this event. I feel much more prepared for this Saturday. Keep up your great work!
You’re so very welcome. Thank you for your kind words! I try to make sure and include all the information needed to have a wonderful time. Enjoy your visit!
Used these great tips to plan for my day! So helpful and thorough! Right now they are giving out 65th-anniversary buttons as Boardwalk game prizes and Donald is down off of the hotel balcony.
You’re welcome. Yes I saw the prize for games, you got lucky they didn’t have those out when I was there. And yes Donald is listed as one of the characters. Glad you got to see him.
Hi there – this was fantastic. Another disney go-er shared that they are no longer doing the receipt option for buying food – only mobile ordering only! Have you heard about this?
Yes it changed over the weekend. The Marketplace kiosks are no longer available. I am on my way home and then will update this post to reflect those changes.