While Walt Disney World has been running fairly smoothly, all things considered, since July, Disneyland Resort in California has been closed continuously since March, with only the Downtown Disney shopping district being available to guests and there are no signs of when the theme parks might finally open up. As a result Disney had to work around the current pandemic restrictions, and so it recently opened up a small portion of the Disney California Adventure park to shopping and dining only, and it seems that the lines to get into the newly reopened park are as bad, if not worse, then the lines to get on the actual rides used to be.
The San Francisco Chronicle went to Downtown Disney on the day that Buena Vista Street opened to guests, and the experience was, simply put, madness. Arriving at 8:30 AM, 90 minutes before Downtown Disney would open to the public, it was 10:30 AM before the reporter was able to make into Downtown Disney and another three hours before they were allowed onto Buena Vista Street. At that point, an attempt to secure a table at the Carthay Circle Lounge was attempted, but three and a half hours later, a table had yet to be obtained. That's basically a whole day of waiting with very little to show for it.
Even in the busiest summer season, the only attraction that would potentially have you waiting that long would be the brand new Rise of the Resistance. And at least there you have more to do while you're waiting. Any other ride would likely get you on in a couple of hours unless it broke down while you were waiting. It's unclear how early the first people in line at the parking lot were to to secure their spot, but the demand is clearly off the charts. To be sure, this took place a few days ago, and now that Buena Vista Street has been open for a few days, it's probably not as bad as that. Though there will certainly still be lines, and it's unclear if and when the crowds will really shrink.
While not surprising, the crowds are certainly off-putting. The only reason I would make the trip to Disneyland Resort right now would be to get an outdoor table at the Carthay Circle Lounge, and if such a thing is a long shot at best, it probably isn't worth the trip. Of course, the idea is exactly that only locals would make the trip, so as far as that goes, it's working likely better than anticipated.
Considering the success of the Buena Vista Street experiment, and the crowds that it is generating, it will be interesting to see if the idea is expanded. Technically speaking, Disneyland Resort should be able to open both theme [parks completely for shopping and dining, and as long as the rides stay closed, it's not really a theme park. This would allow Disneyland to put more cast members back to work and welcome even more guests, who have money they would probably love to spend.