What to Expect When Visiting Anaheim’s Downtown Disney

By now you are well aware that Downtown Disney in Anaheim is open. If you aren’t a Disneyland native, it’s the equivalent of Disney Springs at Walt Disney World. And if you REALLY aren’t aware of what either of those are, then it’s basically an outdoor mall that has a very close proximity to Disneyland and California Adventure.

With me being a Disneyland Annual Passholder, I have many memories of Downtown Disney. And because Disneyland is still closed to the public, I wanted to at least go to Downtown Disney to get a little bit of the magic it holds.

First off, the only Disney parking that is open is the Simba lot. The easiest way to map a route to it would be to map it towards the entrance of the Grand Californian or the Disneyland Hotel. It will be on that same road! Also, parking is free! Usually parking is around $20 for the day, or $14 an hour, on a regular park day. But seeing as the parks aren’t open, they aren’t charging.

Once you park, the path kind of leads you to the entrance of Downtown Disney. The cast members are everywhere to make sure everyone is following along the right path! Because walking in is a one way walking area. You will first come across a temperature check where groups need to stay together. From there we then had to walk through a dog-sniff station. We were told to walk at a normal pace and to not stop through this area as a K9 walked around us. Lastly, we came across the bag check area. We were separated from the cast member checking our bags by a clear shield. This was a very hands off bag-check which I think is why they had the K9 before the bag check to make sure no one is trying to use this system as a way to sneak anything in. Good call, Disney! This whole process seems a lot longer with how I am explaining it, but it probably took us around three minutes to get through it all.

Once inside Downtown Disney, we saw hand sanitizing stations directly after the bag check and at other random areas around the mall. They even had a photo opportunity with this amazingly fun wall which had markers on the ground to remember to keep six feet apart while waiting to take a picture! Disney definitely knows their clientele well.

All of the restaurants had outdoor seating which looked like the only option considering the new California regulations regarding restaurants. Ballast Point looked like they were able to participate by having all of their windows open in their upstairs seating area. Cody and I decided to grab drinks at UVA Bar where we were told that we HAD to order food (we forgot about this also being a new rule in California). Since the rule says that any establishment that has a food license is allowed to stay open, meaning that bars are closed, the establishment has to serve you food for them to be in compliance with the rule. So we ordered a couple of drinks and a basket of fries! And man were those garlic fries goooddddd.

Since we decided to go on a Thursday, I thought it would be pretty slow which was not the case. It wasn’t so busy that we felt uncomfortable and it wasn’t so busy that people had no where to sit or groups weren’t able to social distance. But it was busier than what I thought it would be. All shops or kiosks had markers on the ground to mark where six feet apart was, and most every shop had you wait outside in a line before entering the store to make sure that it didn’t get overcrowded. Some shops even had one-way-in and one-way-out doors (which I saw some people just not see – even with the signs that said “EXIT ONLY”, but don’t worry the Cast Members were VERY on top of getting those people back out of the store to wait in line). Even the sitting areas were also marked off with “six feet apart” markers!

In regards to World of Disney, they had a very long line! The entrance is at the side of World of Disney that borders Starbucks and the exit was at the opposite end of the store that borders La Brea. Keeping in mind that everyone in line out front of the store is keeping six feet apart, the line actually went all the way from the store, up towards the trams, and then out towards the front gates of Disneyland! Although it looked like a huge line, it took us about 35 minutes to get all the way from the back to inside the store. Once inside, it wasn’t busy and again they had plenty of markers to make sure people were kept apart. At no time when checking our merch did I feel like others were crowding me nor did I feel rushed to finish looking at stuff.

Overall, it wasn’t crazy and despite there being more people than I thought there would be, people were very well behaved and no one was blatantly disregarding the rules. A saw maybe six people with their masks under their nose while walking around outside, but that was about it! I would definitely want to go again and I felt very safe and comfortable being there and knowing that all of the employees and people were taking the situation seriously. If you have been considering going just to experience a little bit of the magic, I would 100% recommend it!

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