Part of Disney California Adventure reopened today. No, it wasn’t an attraction, a restaurant, or even our beloved Buena Vista Street. It’s a shopping experience on the Hollywood Land backlot — but it’s pretty cool. Here’s why this new experience at the Disneyland Resort may be a really good sign.
Stage 17 — the Disneyland Resort Backlot Premiere Shop — is a new experience that just opened up. Sure, it’s another retail location. But it’s something different. To the left of the Disney California Adventure gates, past the restrooms, Guests are let into a backstage area of the theme park. From there, we are led onto a red carpet and through the back door of Stage 17, where Olaf’s Snow Fest was held years ago, and where the Dr. Facilier immersive treat trail took place during Oogie Boogie Bash in 2019.
But the key takeaway from this experience is this: it offers Guests the opportunity to step inside a Disneyland Resort theme park, something we haven’t been able to do for nearly seven months.
Yes, we enter backstage and don’t get a glimpse of the actual Disney California Adventure views we know and love. And yes, for now Disneyland Resort is considering the Backlot Premiere Shop an extension of the Downtown Disney shopping experience. But Stage 17 is still located inside Disney California Adventure park — and something about that feels so magical.
In my opinion, this new shopping experience inside Disney California Adventure could be a really good sign for the phased reopening of Disneyland Resort.
While we haven’t gotten a reopening date yet and we don’t know when it will come, the opening of Stage 17 on the Hollywood Land backlot shows that — for some reason and in some way — Disney is allowed to let Guests inside the theme parks. Of course, this was just the opening of another shop, but it is inside the DCA park, meaning that it may be possible for this to happen in Disneyland park, too. Or if we’re lucky, maybe this could lead to other areas inside the parks welcoming Guests back before the theme parks “officially reopen,” as we suggested with the “Taste of Main Street” concept earlier this summer.
Maybe the opening of Stage 17 as a retail location is Disney’s way of dipping their toes in the water and exploring the possibility of allowing Guests inside certain areas of the parks before they officially are allowed to reopen.
Times are tough right now — that’s no secret. This year has been rough for so many. And as of right now, we don’t know when Disneyland and Disney California Adventure will reopen their gates for real and welcome Guests back to their favorite attractions, dining locations, and (even socially distanced) characters.
But if the opening of Stage 17 goes well — and Disney is allowed to expand experiences like this — then we wouldn’t be surprised if other small parts of the Disneyland Resort theme parks get to reopen in the near future. I know that I would love the opportunity to buy a churro or a corn dog inside the Disneyland or Disney California Adventure gates again, even if it means I can’t ride any attractions or do anything else the parks are known for.
Keep in mind that currently, Stage 17 is the only area of Disney California Adventure open to Guests, and no part of Disneyland park is open right now. We don’t yet have a reopening date for the Southern California Disney Parks, and Disney hasn’t given any indication that more experiences like Stage 17 are coming soon.
But as Disney fans, we are told that “when you wish upon a star, your dreams come true.“ So I’ll keep wishing for more magic to come back, and I’ll accept every ounce of pixie dust I can get.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Inside the Magic overall.