Carthay Circle Restaurant marquee at Disney California Adventure

Disneyland Resort's two theme parks are still closed, as has been the case for nearly 11 months. Only the Downtown Disney shopping and dining district has been able to welcome back visitors, but even that has continued to be a rocky road as pandemic restrictions have continued to evolve. Last November, Disneyland Resort finally found a way to reopen part of the theme parks, as Disney California Adventure's Buena Vista Street was opened for shopping and outdoor dining as an extension of Downtown Disney, but almost as soon as it opened, new California lockdown rules forced the outdoor dining to close. But now that the lockdown has been lifted outdoor dining is returning just in time for the theme park's 20th anniversary.

Monday February 8 marks the 20th anniversary of Disneyland Resort's second gate, and while the event certainly won't be what Disney was originally planning for, at the very least guests will be able to visit DCA, and possibly grab some food. Disney has announced that the Carthay Circle Lounge, Smokejumpers Grill, and Award Weiners will be reopening for guests on February 5. While the lockdown restrictions in California were lifted over a week ago, the process of calling back furloughed employees clearly takes some time.

So if you were hoping to be able to kick back and enjoy a Carthay Club Mojito on the 20th anniversary of California Adventure, the good news is that option will be available. Which is not to say doing so will be easy. When Buena Vista Street first reopened to guests it was reportedly something of a madhouse, and I would fully expect that next Monday will be as well. There will be a lot of people who will want to be at Disney California Adventure on its anniversary. There will be special 20th anniversary merchandise available beginning on Monday as well, and as much of it is probably limited addition, the usual suspects will be there in force to get their hands on it.

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While Buena Vista Street will be operational again, the jury is still very much out on when that will be the case for the rest of the theme park. We're about six weeks away from Disneyland and DCA having been closed for a full year, and at this point it's all but certain that's another anniversary we're going to hit. With COVID-19 vaccines making their way into the populace, there's certainly a feeling that things are finally moving in the right direction but there's no indication when things will be in a place deemed good enough by the state to allow theme parks to reopen.

When the theme parks do reopen, they'll be a very different place. While social distancing protocols will certainly be in place, limiting the capacity of the parks, they will also open without the most devoted fans. Disneyland Resort recently ended its Annual Passport program, meaning that those who went to the parks most often will need to buy a ticket like everybody else.

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