Starting next month, the Downtown Disney District will be expanded to include parts of Disney California Adventure park, Disneyland Resort officials announced Friday.
While the Anaheim theme park itself remains closed, fans will be able to shop and eat at the stores and eateries that line Buena Vista Street, near the park’s entrance, according to Disney’s blog.
The shops that will be open include Elias & Co., Julius Katz & Sons, and Kingswell Camera shop.
The dining experiences include Trolley Treats, Carthay Circle, Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe, and Smokejumpers Grill.
“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,” the blog post emphasized.
No admission fee will be required. Disney did not provide on an exact date when the expansion would take effect but said more details will be shared at a later date.
Disney reminded guests that they will still need to follow the health and safety measures put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19, including social distancing requirements, temperature checks and mandated face mask for all visitors over the age of 2.
The announcement comes days after California released guidelines for theme park reopenings that likely won’t allow larger parks to fully welcome back guests for at least weeks, if not months.
Theme parks in the state — Disneyland and California Adventure among them — have been closed since mid-March due to the coronavirus crisis.
On Tuesday, California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly released the state’s much-anticipated reopening protocols for theme parks during the COVID-19 pandemic following a delay earlier this month.
When theme parks do fully reopen, larger locations will have to limit capacity to 25% and must require advance reservations. Visitors will also have to wear face masks while in the parks, except when eating and drinking.
Orange County, where the Disneyland Resort is located, remains in the state’s “red” tier, the second most-restrictive tier in the state’s four-tiered plan that guides reopening. Under California’s plan, larger theme parks like Disneyland and California Adventure can only reopen in the “yellow” tier, which is the least-restrictive stage.
Disneyland responded shortly after the guidelines were made public, slamming the guidelines as “arbitrary” and “unworkable, and saying California is holding the theme park sector “to a standard vastly different” from other businesses and facilities operated by the state.
“We have proven that we can responsibly reopen, with science-based health and safety protocols strictly enforced at our theme parks around the world. Nevertheless, the State of California continues to ignore this fact,” Disney officials said in the statement.
The company warned that the guidelines will have dire consequences, including more layoffs and the shuttering of smaller businesses.
“Together with our labor unions, we want to get people back to work, but these State guidelines will keep us shuttered for the foreseeable future, forcing thousands more people out of work, leading to investable closure of small family-owned businesses, and irreparably devastating the Anaheim/Southern California community,” the statement read.
Faced with its own $100 million budget deficit and an unemployment figure that reached 15% in mid-September, Anaheim city leaders said the new directive is too extreme and will have devastating effects on their community and others.
“This fails the working families and small businesses of Anaheim. As painful as this is, Disney and our city will survive. But too many Anaheim hotels, stores and restaurants will not survive another year of this,” Mayor Harry Sidhu said.