California Adventure Partially Reopens to Snaking Line of Guests

California Adventure Buena Vista Street - H 2020 - 1605806254
Courtesy of Disney

Buena Vista Street in California Adventure, which reopened for outdoor dining and shopping on Nov. 19, 2020.

Disney's Buena Vista Street welcomed back guests for outdoor dining and indoor shopping, but all the rides remained closed.

California Adventure partially reopened Thursday after being shuttered for the better part of 2020 — and Disneyland fans were ready and waiting in a snaking line that formed hours before they were allowed inside.

Buena Vista Street welcomed back guests for outdoor dining and indoor shopping, but all the rides remained closed. Along with Disneyland, California Adventure closed mid-March amid the pandemic. It was announced last month that a portion of the area would reopen, likely based on the immense popularity of Downtown Disney, which reopened over the summer. Parking has been halted several times over the months to control the influx of visitors to the district.

Thursday posts on social media showed guests descending on California Adventure, which was decorated in classic Disney holiday style. Just as with Downtown Disney, guests were required to wear a proper mask and have their temperature checked prior to entry. Attendance is capped for the areas to allow proper social distancing.

Disneyland Resort, along with all major theme parks in Southern California, remains locked in a bitter stalemate with Gov. Gavin Newsom over what the parks' officials have called unfair and "unworkable" guidelines to reopen. The matter was further compounded this week when Newsom announced that every SoCal county would be reverted back to the most severe pandemic restrictions tier amid rising case numbers and concerns over a horde of new cases resulting from the upcoming holidays. Still, Downtown Disney and California Adventure are allowed to operate in the current tier.

The addition of California Adventure was also welcome news for hundreds of furloughed employees. More than 200 were recalled from one union alone, with more expected to be recalled this week. However, because of the continued closure of the actual theme park, it was announced earlier in the month that more furloughs would be instated, reaching as high as the executive level.

Of all the SoCal theme parks, Disney has been, by far, the most vocal about its frustration and impatience with the state over not being provided what its leadership sees as a workable path to reopen. The theme parks as a group are mulling legal action. In a recent earnings call, Disney CEO Bob Chapek took a few shots at Newsom for not budging on restrictions, with the closure of Disneyland alone costing the company billions. Last month, eight SoCal mayors sent Newsom a joint letter in which they asked that he reconsider the stringent qualifications for the theme parks to reopen.

Disneyland is not the only destination to find a workaround in order to do some amount of business. Six Flags Magic Mountain will partially reopen this Friday. For the first time, the destination will be a drive-through experience with millions of lights, festive holiday theming and seasonal music favorites.

"We have successfully transformed the traditional operation of our beloved Holiday in the Park into a new drive-through experience that is sure to delight guests and team members alike," Six Flags Magic Mountain President Don McCoy said in a statement. "We are proud and honored to help our guests create special holiday memories, and to provide a feeling of hope and a small reprieve during this very difficult year."