Downtown Disney: Tips for Your Visit

We got a bit of Disney Magic this past week! After months of waiting, researching, and contemplating- we made our first trip to Downtown Disney! And-it was just what we needed!

It has been a whole 8 months since we set foot inside the Happiest Place on Earth! We miss it so much and are constantly looking for ways to bring some of that magic into our lives.

My best friend raved about the safety she felt during her visit and after some discussion with my husband we decided to go for his birthday! We tried to plan our visit as much as possible. Ahead of time we decided on the time to go to avoid crowds.

tips for downtown disney
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Since the shutdown in March we had not taken the boys out in public (with the exception of hiking trails in Big Bear). I was both excited and nervous for their first outing.

Let’s get to the good stuff now! My tips & experience! You can find details on their safety measures for their phased reopening at Disney Parks Blog!

eating at downtown disney

Our Downtown Disney Tips

Visit Weekday Mornings

After seeing some friends share their stories of their trips we made the decision to have everyone take a day off work and school. Our goal was to arrive right at 10am when the shops began to open in hopes to avoid crowds.

We totally nailed it with that time. What friends had shared was between 1-2pm more people start to arrive. Our plan was to be there from 10am-1pm at the latest.

Due to our early arrival, we did not have to wait in line and walked right through to the temperature check. The safety precautions taken from the moment we set foot made us feel safe.

There are plenty of signs around reminding everyone to social distance, wear masks, and keep hands clean.

downtown disney mural
downtown disney mural

Pack Basic Necessities

I made sure to pack masks, refill my hand sanitizers, and a baggie or disinfectant wipes just in case.

Downtown Disney does a great job of having hand washing stations and hand sanitizer throughout their stores in case you don’t pack your own.

I found hand sanitizer at every checkout stand! All guests 2+ must wear masks at all times. When actively eating, you are allowed to remove your mask are actively eating. There are Cast Members throughout the whole area making sure everyone wears their masks properly.

Be Prepared for Short Waits

Every store is keeping track of the number of guests inside buildings to ensure they are limited capacity. You will find an employee at the entrance and markers outside of the stores for those waiting in line.

I loved this! I knew there were never too many people inside and the floor markers ensured no one stood too close.

The checkout lines are also being spaced out and monitored inside Disney operated businesses by Cast Members.

safety precautions at downtown disney

Load Your Contactless Payment Devices

The majority of stores and businesses have a contactless payment option. I loved the measures taken to reduce the need or touching keypads, etc.

I was able to quickly pull up my digital wallet and pay without needing to touch anything! Again, had I not been able to do that every counter had hand sanitizer for me to clean my hands and cards after too.

Be Prepared for Outdoor Dining

For the first time since Covid we ATE OUT! As in, at an actual restaurant. Every restaurant has outdoor dining sections ready. For those with indoor dining options, the tables are spaced out and marked for anyone eating there.

We ate at Black Tap and enjoyed outdoor seating. Their employees are wiping down all surfaces and cleaning tables as guests leave.

Not to mention their patio seating extends into right outside the bowling alley to give you the option to be even further from people. For us, this was huge.

Eating out had been something we had been very hesitant of. Thanks to their precautions and feeling safe we did so anxiety-free!

baby with Mickey
daughter in minnie dress

Look Up Digital Menus

Most restaurants have digital menus you can simply scan and bring up on your phone. Digital menus is another great way Downtown Disney is working to reduce items touched by multiple people.

virtual menu

Be Prepared To Shop

Who needs preparation for this? Not me! Well sort of. For me when I shop I like to have free hands- specially right now. I put all my devices away to help me pay attention to what I touch and keep myself from touching my face.

It was so exciting to checkout all the different stores in Downtown Disney. We made stops at the Star Wars Outpost, The Disney Home Store, World of Disney, and the Backlot Premiere Shop.

The boys were in such awe at everything they saw. Inside the stores cast members were making sure everyone was being safe. I was able to comfortably shop with my boys in tow!

disney shopping
disney shop
Disney premiere backlot store

Being able to buy Disney gear in person was very exciting. We picked items for everyone in the family and I even snagged a super cute bag that you can win this week on my Instagram!

The best part for me was all the holiday merchandise out at all the different stores. It gave me a glimpse of that Disney magic we all love.

Coming November 19th, Downtown Disney will be expanding into California Adventure’s Buena Vista street for more treats, fine dining, and shopping opportunities! With this will come a $10 flat fee parking rate, which is totally okay in my books!

Have Lots of Fun

We got to walk around Downtown Disney to our favorite Disney music, shop our favorite merchandise, eat delicious food, and bring treats and goodies back home to enjoy.

My favorite part was that to Lia- we did visit Disneyland. She did not want to leave and rationalized that NOT ALL of Disneyland was closed, only the rides part!

It melted my heart. She had an amazing day and left with the biggest smile on her face, Mickey lollipop in hand, and a happy heart having “gone to Disneyland”.

Did We Feel Safe?

Absolutely! I think Disney is doing a great job at Downtown Disney to help keep everyone feeling safe. I was very pleased with the safety precautions taken place and the amount of Cast Members around enforcing their rules.

We will definitely be back. It was just what we needed to boost our spirits. I want to stress the importance of doing what YOU FEEL SAFE DOING. It took us months before feeling ready to go.

Maybe you feel ready now, maybe you don’t just yet- and that is okay. Do what is within your comfort zone!

Stay safe everyone!

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