On select days March 18 through April 19, 2021 California Disney guests are able to enjoy a bit of theme park magic for the first time since the resort’s closing over a year ago. A Touch of Disney is an experience that allows ticketed guests to enter Disney California Adventure with access to unlimited Photopass, distanced character experiences, a $25 dining credit, and more. While the attractions are still closed in adherence with current health guidelines fo California, guests can enjoy select restaurants and shopping experiences, as well as The Marketplace with special food items that are usually only available during the parks food festivals. I had the privilege of attending this magical event on opening day and I’m excited to share my experience.
What to Expect Upon Arrival
Parking in the Mickey and Friends Parking Structure is included with your ticket and opens at 11:30am. Upon arrival, guests will go through a temperature check and then a routine security bag check and metal detectors. Once through security, guests will walk along the tram route to the entrance of Disney California Adventure. The walk is about 5 – 10 minutes and the trams are not currently running so be prepared. I definitely recommend comfortable shoes and anyone with mobility limitations should plan accordingly.
Things To Do
Ok, now the fun part. For me, just being inside Disney California Adventure again was a magical experience all it’s own. But A Touch of Disney had much more than that to experience. Here are a few of my favorite highlights to add to your to-do list:
Photo Ops – There are cute photo opportunities scattered throughout the park for your instagramming pleasure including Roz as a band leader from the Monsters University segment of Pixar Play Parade and a Little Mermaid themed Atlantica backdrop. There is also a special photo op for Legacy Passholders that includes a complimentary button and magnet.
Pixar Pier Games – the games are open and socially distanced! Try your luck at winning a prize on Pixar Pier.
Character Experiences – Goofy and Max are fishing near Pacific Warf. Joy and Sadness from Inside Out are hanging out at Pixar Pier. Mickey, Minnie, Chip and Dale are around too so keep an eye out to see what they’re up to!
Shopping – This goes without saying, but be on the look out for those sweet Disney accessories, apparel, and souvenirs!
For a truly 2019-esque DCA experience, you can try getting a walk-up reservation at either Lamplight Lounge or Carthay Circle Restaurant. But don’t get too full because The Marketplace at A Touch of Disney has a ton of great options on which to spend your dining credits. All of the food orders are done through the Disneyland app’s mobile ordering system. This not only saves time, but limits contact for safer handling of food (there are pay stations for those who prefer not to use the app). Here are a few of my pescatarian faves.
Impossible Cheeseburger Mac & Cheese – This literally taste like macaroni and cheese and a cheeseburger had a delicious baby.
Very Very Berry Mickey Waffle – A mini Mickey Waffle topped with strawberries, blueberries, and whipped cream.
Lobster Nachos – They’re nachos, topped with lobster and they’re an iconic must-try if you’re able to get into Lamplight Lounge.
It’s Lemon and Pineapple Swirl – Dole whip pineapple soft serve swirled with lemon soft serve in your choice of a cone or cup.
Tacos de Papa – These get honorable mention because they were recommended to me by three different people but I stuffed myself and never got a chance to try them. They are crispy potato tacos and they sound amazing.
I expected to be emotional coming back to a Disney Park for the first time since it was closed for the pandemic. I knew that it would feel surreal getting a glimpse of my favorite characters. And I was ready to get misty-eyed rekindling all of the magic I’ve missed this year. But I was not prepared for the fullness in my chest that hit every time I ran into friends I haven’t seen in person for over a year. For those of us who have been fortunate enough to live near the parks, this is the reason why Disneyland Resort is about so much more than theme parks. We’ve built a family here that is truly special. Whether it’s making memories with your own family or running into friends who have become like family, Disneyland feels like home. That’s the magic. And that’s what makes this place so special.
Tickets for A Touch of Disney are currently sold out, but Disneyland Resort has announced it’s re-opening date for California residents on April 30, 2021. If A Touch of Disney was any indication of what it will be like to return to a fully functioning Disneyland, I think the resort is on the right track. Hope to see ya real soon, Disneyland!