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Disneyland Resort has been in an ongoing struggle with the state of California trying to get the ok to reopen the theme parks. However, as it stands now, it looks like the two sides are stuck, and nothing will change for a while. In response, Disneyland found a unique way to reopen part of one of the theme parks when the resort announced an "expansion" of the Downtown Disney shopping and dining district that would include Buena Vista Street, the entrance area of the Disney California Adventure theme park. Today Disney announced the expanded food and shopping offerings will be available to guests beginning in just two weeks on November 19.
In addition to the opening date, some new details regarding what exactly will be on offer were also released. The Carthay Circle Restaurant, one of the prime table service locations in Disney California Adventure, will reopen as Carthay Circle Lounge – Alfresco Dining, an outdoor dining location that will offer "light faire," meaning small plate dishes of the restaurant's Mediterranean-California style food. Other food locations that will be available include Smokejumpers Grill, which will service it's traditional burgers and corn dog menu, the Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe, which will offer coffee and pastries as the park's Starbucks location, and Award Wieners. No prizes for guessing what they sell.
On the shopping front, Elias & Co., Julius Katz & Sons, Kingswell Camera Shop and Trolley Treats will all be open for business. Since Buena Vista Street will be opening in what would otherwise be the resort's prime holiday celebration, expect to see lots of gifts geared toward the Christmas holidays as well as Disneyland's 65th anniversary, which would have been this year, and still technically was, I guess. One additional item of note, Beginning November 19, parking in the Simba parking lot will include a $10 fee, which is new. Parking in that lot had previously been free.
By opening a side gate and not selling tickets, Disneyland Resort is able to offer the new Buena Vista Street offering as part of Downtown Disney, rather than opening the area as a theme park, thus allowing the area to open when the park still cannot. Orange County's current status with California as regards the pandemic even would allow for some limited indoor dining, though it does not appear that will be on offer at Buena Vista Street.
As somebody who has occasionally found himself daydreaming about a Carthay Club Mojito, I will admit the option to sit outside on Buena Vista Street and drink one has a certain appeal. In many ways I prefer Buena Vista Street to Main Street U.S.A. when it comes to the ambiance of the land, and just being able to go back there would be nice.
The only remaining piece of the puzzle will likely be reservations. I'm assuming reservations for Carthay Circle, and possibly Smokejumpers Grill, will be needed, but as of now, they're not available to make. That will likely happen closer to reopening. Disneyland Resort has previously said there are no plans to reopen Main Street U.S.A. or other areas of the the parks in this way, but if Buena Vista Street is a success, and if the actual park reopening looks like it may still take some time, one wonders if plans could change.