Most of the Disneyland Resort has been closed for nearly a year, but it’s set to reopen — sort of — in March through a new ticketed event dubbed “A Touch of Disney.”
About A Touch of Disney
What and when
For $75, ticket holders will gain access to most of Disney California Adventure Park, the sibling park of the famous Disneyland located just a few steps away (Disneyland is still closed to the public). The event begins on March 18 and is scheduled to run through at least April 5, 2021. Tickets go on sale March 4. Don’t plan on last-minute travel for this one, as advance reservations are required.
But given that California's pandemic-response regulations currently prevent most theme parks from reopening, your admission ticket won’t get you on any rides.
The impact of COVID-19
California is using a color-coded tier system — determined by a specific county’s rate of new COVID-19 cases and positivity — that designates what types of businesses can open and when. Large amusement parks, like Disneyland, can't reopen until their local county is in the yellow tier. Orange County, where Disneyland and Disney California Adventure parks are located, is still far from that level.
So, consider this new iteration not a theme park, but more of an outdoor mall.
Alas, you need to pay for access to this outdoor mall. With admission to A Touch of Disney, you’ll be free to wander through most parts of Disney California Adventure Park for shopping and dining. Disney will also have some characters out and about, and will set up designated photo spots.
While the event will be held in Disney California Adventure, you’ll be able to order some of the food that Disneyland is famous for, including the Dole Whip (typically served outside Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room) and the Monte Cristo Sandwich (usually served at the Blue Bayou Restaurant, which shares a building with the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction).
You’ll also get unlimited downloads of Disney PhotoPass photos, which is Disney’s photo service, plus free parking and a $25 dining card valid for food and nonalcoholic beverages purchased at the event.
Event hours will be 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., which is significantly shorter than the theme park's usual hours.
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What has Disneyland been like prior to A Touch of Disney?
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Disneyland Resort (not the park itself) has been partially open for shopping and dining since July 2020. Much of that access has been contained to the Downtown Disney District, the outdoor mall adjacent to the two theme parks.
In November 2020, Disney opened Buena Vista Street, the front entrance portion of Disney California Adventure, providing a rare opportunity for the public to set foot in the theme park without a ticket. That ends soon in anticipation of A Touch of Disney. When that event debuts on March 18, you’ll need the $75 ticket to access Buena Vista Street, though the Downtown Disney District will still remain open seven days a week, no ticket required.
The bottom line
Prior to the pandemic, one-day one-park adult ticket prices for Disneyland and Disney California Adventure ranged from $104 to $154, depending on which day you visited.
With A Touch of Disney, you’ll be able to visit for $75, plus the $25 food credit offsets some of the ticket price. There won’t be any rides, and park hours will be significantly reduced, so it’s hard to say whether this is a deal. But if you’re looking for a change of scenery from your neighborhood walks, then perhaps walking down the main street of Radiator Springs is worth it, especially if you’re desperate for a Disney fix after nearly a year without it.
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