Downtown Disney COVID Safety Review

Downtown Disney COVID Safety Review

Disneyland’s Downtown District reopened on July 9, 2020. There has been a lot of debate over whether it should have opened or not. Was it too soon? Did they do enough to provide guests with a safe visit?

My husband and I paid our favorite outdoor shopping mall located at the Disneyland Resort a visit on the theme park’s birthday, July 17th.

Here is our Downtown Disney COVID safety review.

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COVID Safety

Disney has gone to great lengths to provide guests with the safest shopping and dining experience possible. With that said, the safest option would be to not visit, but for those who wish to here is a rundown of what Disney has done and expects of its guests.

Note that changes to their policy can change at any time! Click here for Disney’s official policy.

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Downtown Disney District COVID Safety Efforts

  • Temperature checks for cast members and guests
  • Security checks
  • Face masks are mandatory
  • Social Distancing is encouraged and enforced with markers on benches, store queues, and outdoor dining areas.
  • Virtual queues are being used to limit the number of people waiting in line to enter Disney shops.
  • Limiting the number of guests permitted to enter the outdoor shopping mall and stores.
  • Hand sanitizing stations are placed throughout the outdoor mall. You are never far from one. Stations include hand sanitizer and sinks for washing.

What’s Expected of Guests

  • Wear a face mask. This is not a request but a requirement to enter. You will be stopped prior to reaching the temperature check tent if you are not wearing a face mask.
  • Keep a 6 foot buffer between your party and others.
  • Eat and drink while away from walkways or at one of the many outdoor dining areas. There is no need to walk and eat. It is not like the park is open and you need to multitask in order to make your ride reservation.
  • Be respectful to cast members and other guests.
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Socially Distanced Dining

Note that not all restaurants have reopened. Those that have either have their own outdoor dining area or is near numerous tables, chairs, and benches that are located throughout the outdoor mall.

There is a large socially distanced dining area between the west end Starbucks and Earl of Sandwich. That is where we dined during our visit. By the way, I totally recommend the Thai Chicken Salad!

One of the perks of socially distanced dining while using a wheelchair is being able to easily access tables. Typically, Disney dining areas are jammed packed, but with their pandemic protocol getting around with a mobility aid is easy.


Downtown Disney District COVID Shopping Safety

Depending on the demand to enter Disney shops like World of Disney, Marceline’s Confectionery, The Dress Shop, WonderGround, and Disney Home, you will first have to enter a virtual queue. Near the entrance (World of Disney’s is located on the other side of the fountain) of each store, you will find a cast member issuing virtual queue reservations.

Guests with disabilities who have used Disneyland’s DAS or Disabitliy Return times in the parks are already familiar with how this system works. For the rest of you, it goes like this:

  • Check into virtual line with cast member near store.
  • After you receive your text check in with a cast member outside store where they will direct you where to join the physical outdoor queue. This queue is marked to keep guests safely distanced.

Photo Opportunities

Use the time waiting for your text to enter a physical shopping queue to take some pictures. The old ESPN building at the west end of the mall has a photo op mural and other paintings that make for fun photo backdrops.

On the east end the esplanade is open. Although the gates to Disneyland are roped off, you can still catch a view and take a picture of the Mickey Mouse shaped floral arrangement below the train station.


The only con to the reopening is not knowing if you will be able to enter. Currently, the only parking area open is the Simba lot which is small. We arrived at and pulled into the lot just seconds after it opened at 9:45 AM. We were then told that we would be allowed to park after the people who had walked over or had been dropped off on the east end had entered. Depending on the amount, our wait could have been anywhere from a few minutes or hours. We decided to wait and were allowed to park within a few minutes. Note that parking is paused throughout the day to prevent guests from standing in the sun waiting hours to enter the outdoor mall.

Do I recommend visiting Downtown Disney? Yes. However, if you are traveling long distance I would recommend getting a room and either walking over or getting dropped off by an Uber or Lyft. FYI, walk-up and drop-off guests enter the district via the east end and the Simba lot visitors enter from the west.


Final Thoughts

As someone who has multiple chronic illness, I felt safer during my visit to Disney’s Downtown District than I have at any grocery store since the pandemic began.

One reason is that everyone has to wear a mask, they are NOT optional.

Opportunities to sanitize hands aren’t restricted to entrances or exits, they are everywhere!

With limits on how many people they allow to be in the area at a time, it was the best experience I have ever had at the resort with a wheelchair. Not one person bumped, ran into or over me. With social distancing being enforced, my personal space was never invaded.

My #DowntownDisneyDistrict #reopening review. Did Disneyland do enough to ensure safety of its guests?

Accessibility posts to help you plan your next visit to the Disneyland Resort when it reopens.

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Published by Cynthia Covert

Diagnosed in 2001 with psoriasis, followed by fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, endometriosis, and later a botched hysterectomy turned her world upside down. Cynthia shares her experience, advice, and tips for how to make life with chronic pain easier and less painful.

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