It was recently announced that, in spite of California’s continued theme park closures, Buena Vista Street at Disney California Adventure Park will be partially reopening for the upcoming 2020 holiday season.
This is extremely exciting news for both Disneyland Resort fans and the hundreds of Cast Members who will be getting recalled to work for the holiday reopening event.
There is, however, a question that has been on many prospective Guests’ minds due to Governor Gavin Newsom’s strict reopening protocols throughout the state of California — what will the Buena Vista Street experience actually look like? Here, we explore the answer to that question.
Indoor experiences will be limited.
At this time, Orange County — where Anaheim and, therefore, Disneyland Resort — are located remains in California’s COVID-19 “substantial” Red Tier. According to this screenshot, taken by Inside the Magic today on the Blueprint For a Safer Economy website, the Red tier means:
“Some non-essential indoor business operations are open without modifications.”
The implication here, of course, is that some indoor experiences will not available at all — and those that are will have limited capacity, face mask requirements, and other restrictions.
It is worth noting that, at this time, only Carthay Circle Lounge is slated to be available to Guests who visit Buena Vista Street this winter season. The Lounge has outdoor seating, while Carthay Circle Restaurant does not. Although nothing has been officially announced, it is possible that only open-air tables will be available at this time.
ABC News 7 has provided a full list of what is allowed to reopen under the Red tier. Below, we’ve included those restrictions that are likely to impact Buena Vista Street:
- Retail: open indoors at 50% capacity
- Malls: open indoors at 50% capacity and limited food courts
- Restaurants: open indoors at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer
- Bars and breweries: closed
- Theme parks: must stay closed
Disney is likely to implement virtual queues in order to keep restaurants and retail stores — including Elias & Co., Julius Katz & Sons, and Kingswell Camera Shop — at the appropriate capacity levels.
The reopening is an expansion of the Downtown Disney District.
California’s Spectrum News 1 elaborated on the fact that this partial reopening of Disney California Adventure is not a “theme park reopening,” per se, but instead, officially an expansion of Downtown Disney’s restaurants and shops:
The reopening of businesses along Buena Vista Street, the main drag at the opening of California Adventure, is a sort of expansion of Downtown Disney businesses, which reopened in July.
“It could show how they could reopen the parks,” said Mike Lyster, a spokesman for Anaheim. “We welcome this plan to expand.”
The social distancing and other measures taken at Downtown Disney “shows how you can safely and responsibly open the park,” Lyster said. “This is another example of that.”
Spectrum News 1 also made clear that reopening the main drag of Disney California Adventure for shopping and dining only is not the Walt Disney Company attempting to skirt any reopening rules:
Orange County CEO Frank Kim said that despite the theme park’s closure, this expansion plan is acceptable.
“It’s not a gray area — it is permitted,” Kim said.
Downtown Disney protocols will be in place.
Since Disneyland Resort’s gradual partial reopening is an extension of the Downtown Disney District at this time, all of the protocols — including a preliminary health screening and temperature check — that are necessary to enter Downtown Disney will also be required to visit Buena Vista Street.
It is important to note that Downtown Disney is enforcing social distancing measures, has limited indoor dining options, and has a face-covering requirement.
It is important to remember that Guests will not enter through Disney California Adventure theme park’s main gate. They will instead be directed through a side entrance via Downtown Disney. Furthermore, no rides or other attractions will be operational during this partial reopening event.
Are you excited to experience Disney California Adventure again this Christmas, even if only in part?