This morning, Buena Vista Street reopened to the public. Many fans have been waiting for this day and it was definitely busy. Here’s my first-hand look at how the day went, from parking early in the morning to leaving just before sunset!
I’ll be honest, my original plan today was to wait to head to the parks until this afternoon. Then I woke up, took one look at Twitter, and realized that I should head in earlier. People had been camping out since six in the morning at the Harbor entrance. It looked like the opening day of a new attraction and I suddenly felt the pressure of getting into Disney as soon as possible.
I parked at the Simba lot about five minutes before Downtown Disney District was set to open. On a normal day, the Downtown Disney District would open at 10 a.m., and Simba parking would open at 9:45 a.m. This morning, both opened a bit early to help with crowd control. I waited for about 45 minutes in a holding area before the temperature checks before I made my way into the Downtown Disney District.
Joining the virtual queue was a breeze, as you simply walk down to the esplanade and scan a QR code! We were able to enter a phone number, which was used to alert us when Buena Vista Street was open for entry. Once we got the return text, we had one hour to return and re-enter the queue. We got our return text at noon and proceeded to wait in the return line for about 45 minutes.
The first steps back in were absolutely surreal. I haven’t been to Disney California Adventure Park in over eight months but it somehow felt like no time had passed at all. We proceeded to take a stroll through the open areas which you can watch in the stream below. As we noted in the video, this afternoon felt like a normal day in the parks for us. We normally wander around taking photos and that is exactly what we did today. There are even unique photo opportunities with certain areas closed!
Lunch was incredibly easy and I was happy to be eating at Disney again! The mobile order process was very simple and when you go pick up your food, it is closed in a bag that is sealed with a tamper-proof sticker. This ensures that your meal stays safe and was something I would like to see continue! (I’ve dropped a few too many food trays in my day). It was incredibly odd to see the inside of Smokejumpers Grill with no tables or chairs. It did give me the unique opportunity to look at some of the decorations in the buildings and on the walls!
If you’re looking to shop, you will have to join physical queues. There are two separate queues for merchandise. One line is for Trolley Treats, Julius Katz and Sons, and Kingswell Camera Shop. The other line will lead you to Los Feliz Five and Dime, Big Top Toys, and Elias and Co. We waited in both lines and each line took us under thirty minutes. Of course, you may have a different experience but I found it to be very easy!
One of the best things about the day was compliance. I have seen first-hand just how defiant some people can be but Disney has really worked well on these issues! I saw nearly no issues with mask-wearing. Occasionally, you may see a nose slip out of a mask or fall but guests would quickly correct themselves. If the issues persisted, cast members would respectfully jump in. I also watched cast members clean tables the moment guests would finish eating. It was incredibly impressive and made me feel safe!
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my trip back to Buena Vista Street. I don’t know how quickly I will be heading back, as the crowds definitely scared me a bit. With the holidays coming up, crowd sizes could be a lot like what we saw today. If you want to ensure that you get into Disney California Adventure Park, show up early and bring your patience.
While you’re there, be sure to thank a cast member (or all of them)! These cast members are working very hard to make sure guests stay safe while also keeping the magic alive. None of this would be possible without them, so be sure to give them a (masked) smile and a hearty “Thank You!”