It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Disneyland Resort! Holiday cheer is coming to the Southern California Disney Parks. Disneyland and Disney California Adventure theme parks are still temporarily closed because of the ongoing pandemic. But Disney has found a way to bring magic to Disneyland Resort this holiday season and beyond.
The Disneyland Resort began a phased reopening on July 9 with Downtown Disney. Since then, the shopping and dining district has delighted Guests for months. And since then, Disney has been slowly bringing Cast Members and Guests to Disney California Adventure.
First, the Backlot Premiere Shop — located in the Hollywood Land Backlot of DCA — reopened. And while this was the first time that Guests were able to set foot inside Disney California Adventure since mid-March, it wasn’t the same as walking the streets of DCA, since when visiting the Backlot Premiere Shop, Guests enter and exit through a backstage area. And although it’s located in Hollywood Land, we are unable to actually see onstage when visiting the Backlot shop.
But starting this month, Guests can finally experience the magic of Disney California Adventure at its partial reopening. For this time period, Buena Vista Street is considered an extension of the Downtown Disney District.
What does that mean, and what do Guests need to know before visiting? Here’s our complete guide to the reopening of Buena Vista Street at DCA. We initially published this article ahead of the reopening, and now, after visiting ourselves, we have added even more updates to help you!
As an “expansion” of Downtown Disney District, Buena Vista Street at Disney California Adventure will reopen on Thursday, November 19.
What Will Be Open on Buena Vista Street?
Below is a list of all of the shopping and dining that is open on Buena Vista Street:
- Elias & Co
- Julius Katz & Sons
- Kingswell Camera Shop
- Off the Page
- Carthay Circle Lounge — Alfresco Dining
- Smokejumpers Grill
- Award Wieners
- Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe
- Trolley Treats
- Vending carts (popcorn, churros, ice cream, turkey legs, etc.)
“Only the shopping and dining experiences along Buena Vista Street will be accessible from the Downtown Disney District at this time, as Disney California Adventure park is currently closed,” Disney Parks Blog says.
Hours of Operation
We originally published this article before Buena Vista Street reopened, and at that time the hours of the Downtown Disney District were different. But more recently, Disney has extended the operating hours for Downtown Disney, including Buena Vista Street. As of early December, the hours are 9 am to 9 pm, daily.
We will update Inside the Magic if the hours of operation for Downtown Disney (and, therefore, for Buena Vista Street) change.
Located next to the Disneyland Hotel and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel, and across from Disney’s Grand Californian, Hotel & Spa on Disneyland Drive, parking at the Simba lot will cost $10 per car, per day.
This is important to note because before Buena Vista Street reopened and since Downtown Disney reopened on July 9, parking at the Simba lot was free. However, before the temporary closure of Disneyland Resort, Guests were always charged to park at the Simba lot, regardless of their Annual Passport status. This lot did provide free parking for three or five hours with validation, but Guests had to make a purchase at a dining or retail location in order to be validated.
If you are planning to park at the Simba parking lot when visiting Downtown Disney and Buena Vista Street, note that the parking lot typically opens at 9:45 a.m. daily, 15 minutes before Downtown Disney opens.
When it comes to health and safety at Disneyland Resort, the protocol we have seen in place at Downtown Disney will carry over into Buena Vista Street inside Disney California Adventure.
We have reported that pandemic-related advisories are displayed in front of the shops inside DCA, social distancing markers are placed throughout the park, and signs reminding Guests of mask rules are distributed along the street. After we visited Buena Vista Street for ourselves on November 19, reopening day, we can confidently share that this was the safest we have ever felt on Disney property since Downtown Disney reopened on July 9. The health and safety measures are being strictly enforced and it is clear that, while operating a park for shopping and dining only, Disney is taking this very seriously.
Click here to read more about what Guests can expect when it comes to health and safety protocol at Buena Vista Street. For our full overview of the pandemic protocol in action on reopening day, read our article here.
Disney has said that a virtual queue for Buena Vista Street may be utilized, similar to what is being done at locations like World of Disney:
We may at times use the mobile wait list system when Buena Vista Street and/or its queue are at capacity, similar to the process at some retail locations in the Downtown Disney District. Disney California Adventure Park is currently closed.
This virtual queue is only in place as needed. For example, when we visited on opening day, we waited in a standby line and were inside Disney California Adventure by 10:30 a.m. However, by 11 a.m., Disney had opened the virtual queue, and by 3 p.m. the estimated wait time to enter using the mobile wait list system was five hours.
Given this, we highly recommend visiting during a weekday if you want to avoid crowds, although capacity is still strictly capped at 25% to comply with current guidelines. For our overview of crowd control on Buena Vista Street, click here.
Ahead of the reopening of Buena Vista Street, many hopeful Guests and Annual Passholders are wondering, will there be holiday decorations displayed in Disney California Adventure?
Currently, there are holiday decorations at all of the Disney-owned and operated shops at Downtown Disney (World of Disney, Marceline’s Confectionery, Disney Home, The Disney Dress Shop, and the Backlot Premiere Shop). Disney has also since added plenty of holiday decor all throughout Downtown Disney, from Christmas trees to lights. Christmas music is playing everywhere, too!
Ahead of the reopening of Buena Vista Street inside DCA, we spotted some holiday decorations we spotted in the window of a shop on Buena Vista Street. We also saw decor being put up all throughout the park. Read more here!
Credit: DisneyIn the original announcement of the reopening of Buena Vista Street, Disney shared a photo (shown above) in which we can see garland strung on the outside of one building. And Downtown Disney visitors even saw some decorations begin to go up, as well. Now, after visiting ourselves, we’re thrilled to share that yes, decorations are in abundance. There is no Christmas tree, but there is Christmas music playing, garland everywhere, and even lights. The theme park is full of holiday cheer.
Visit Buena Vista Street
Considering headline to Disneyland Resort when Buena Vista Street reopens? We’ll be there too! If you want to book a trip and stay at a Disneyland-area hotel for the reopening of Buena Vista Street — or you are a Disney Vacation Club member who wants to stay at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa — then we recommend reaching out to our friends at Academy Travel.
The Authorized Disney Vacation Planners at Academy Travel are experts on all things Disney. They can help you navigate the changes at Disneyland Resort and ensure you have a magical visit to Buena Vista Street and Downtown Disney. Click here to book a trip!
Note: Currently the State of California is recommending against unnecessary travel, so keep this in mind if you are from out of state and you want to visit Downtown Disney and Buena Vista Street. Please follow all guidelines set by Disney, health officials, and the state.