Yesterday was a big day for the Disney theme parks. While most eyes were on Walt Disney World which held a special preview day for Annual Passholders, on the other side of the country the first reopening of the Disneyland Resort also took place as Downtown Disney, the retail and dining complex, welcomed its first guests since March. While we still have no idea when the two Disneyland theme parks will be reopening, it seems a lot of people were simply happy that some part of Disneyland was now available to be visited.
30 minutes before Downtown Disney opened to the public yesterday, there was a pretty significant line. On the plus side, it looks like everybody in that line was wearing their masks, and the line appeared a little longer than it really was because people were keeping their distance. Still, it was a lot of people.
Disneyland had hoped to reopen the theme parks next week but the State of California has made the decision to delay releasing guidelines for reopening theme parks, and until that happens, the parks will stay closed. However, retail stores and outdoor malls can be open under some circumstances, and restaurants can be open for pick-up, allowing Downtown Disney to reopen as scheduled.
Certainly, for many fans, just being able to walk Downtown Disney probably felt like going home again, and there's nothing wrong with that. At the same time, most of the stores at Downtown Disney can be found elsewhere, so it's not like there was any particular need for people to go to DTD to get their Starbucks.
One significant exception, of course, is the World of Disney store. A lot of merchandise can only be found in the theme parks and World of Disney is the one place you can buy a lot of that merchandise without a theme park ticket. And it looks like a lot of people needed to go shopping at World of Disney. Once the store opened, people got a bit less concerned with social distancing.
While everybody is still wearing their masks, this does show that when enough people decide to crowd together, there's little that's going to stop them. The major gift shops inside Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World actually had a virtual queue system in place when the park opened for cast member preview, and it looks like something similar could be useful here to make sure guests have enough room to stay apart.
This was only day one and things will likely be better today, if only because everybody who just needed to get into Downtown Disney has gotten their fix. And everything that Disneyland Resort learns at Downtown Disney will likely aid in the opening of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, making those openings a little smoother, whenever they actually happen.