A Touch of Disney is a new hard ticket shopping and dining experience in outdoor areas of California Adventure. Essentially, this is Disneyland Resort’s workaround to reopening rules that are keeping theme parks closed. In this post, we’ll cover event dates, details, pricing, what’ll be open, and more. (Updated March 4, 2021 at 11:30 am Pacific.)
For starters, A Touch of Disney will debut beginning March 18, 2021 and be held Thursdays through Mondays from 12:00 pm until 8:00 pm. Tickets for this event will go on sale March 4, 2021 (see virtual queue details below), and must be purchased in advance for a specific date. There will be no admission tickets available for purchase at the Disneyland Main Entrance Ticket Booths–they must be purchased online.
Disneyland notes that A Touch of Disney tickets will be sold on a “rolling basis until the experience ends” and that it’ll be a “limited-time experience.” This is being done because there’s still uncertainty about how soon Disneyland and Disney California Adventure will receive clearance to reopen as theme parks with rides. As we’ve stated repeatedly in When Will Disneyland Reopen? we don’t believe California’s current Blueprint for a Safer Economy will be the final word on that…
Now let’s turn to A Touch of Disney ticket pricing and what’s included:
- A Touch of Disney ticket price for guests ages 3 and Over: $75
- Ticket price includes $25 A Touch of Disney Dining Card redeemable for food and nonalcoholic beverages at select dining locations within the Disneyland Resort (subject to restrictions including not being valid for alcohol purchases)
- Parking for the event in the Mickey & Friends Parking Structure beginning at 11:30 am
- Unlimited digital downloads of Disney PhotoPass photos captured during day of the experience.
Disneyland Resort’s normal health safety rules and guidelines apply (see above). Here are some additional terms and conditions: A Touch of Disney tickets are not required for attendees under 3 years of age. Buyers will be limited to purchasing 8 tickets per person, per experience date. Ticket availability is limited—subject to capacity limits and restrictions. Tickets are non-refundable and may not be resold or transferred for commercial purpose.
Ticket provides admission to the A Touch of Disney experience from 12:00 PM to 8:00 PM on date selected. The $75 price is “introductory,” and future ticket prices are subject to change (presumably increases only). Unused Sip & Savor pass entitlements from past DCA events will not be valid during this event.
March 4, 2021 Update: The virtual queue for A Touch of Disney is now open, although there is no indication if tickets are already on sale or, if not, when sales will actually go live. (We’ve been sitting in the queue for over 30 minutes now.)
You can jump into the virtual queue via this link: https://tada.eticketstore.com/WebStore/shop/viewitems.aspx?cg=1&c=2
Update 2: At 9 am Pacific, the screen switched over to an actual line with an approximate wait time of “more than an hour.” We’ll keep you posted on what happens next. We don’t actually plan on buying tickets unless mid-May 2021 dates are released, which is (hopefully) unlikely.
Update 3: After crashing a couple of times and then being paused for about an hour, the virtual queue appears to be moving again. Neither of us have gotten through to purchase tickets yet, though. (Has anyone–please leave a comment if you’ve been successful!)
Additionally, a note has been added: “Due to the popularity of A Touch of Disney, we’ve decided to open up the availability of tickets for two additional weeks. Dates, ticket availability and prices for the A Touch of Disney experience will be released on a rolling basis until the experience ends.”
The last time we saw a virtual queue for Disneyland was reservations for the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Those went fast and frustrated many who got shut out…but then Disneyland was a veritable ghost town that summer because people avoided the park, assuming it would be chaotic.
Not sure why I’m sharing that story, but it just feels like it could be oddly relevant here.
Guests will be able to access the experience via a dedicated walkway from the Mickey & Friends Parking Structure; the Disneyland Resort tram will not be in operation at this time. The Mickey & Friends Parking Structure will open at 11:30 am on days of the event.
As with everything Disneyland Resort does, A Touch of Disney experience elements are subject to restrictions, change or cancellation without notice. No refunds given for any such changes or cancellations whether due to inclement weather or otherwise. Insert other boilerplate CYA verbiage here.
During A Touch of Disney, most snack stands, counter service and table service restaurants around Disney California Adventure will be open. This includes Carthay Circle Restaurant, Sonoma Terrace, and Lamplight Lounge. The only notable exception to this is dining options in the new Avengers Campus area, which will debut when Disney California Adventure reopens as a theme park.
The menus at A Touch of Disney will feature a selection of iconic food and beverage items from both Disney California Adventure AND DISNEYLAND! This means everything from churros to the world-famous DOLE Whip to the classic Monte Cristo Sandwich usually found in New Orleans Square.
Many items will be served snack-sized, so you can enjoy a variety of bites and sips from mid-day through the evening. These guest-favorites will be available at locations around the park, including Smokejumpers Grill, Adorable Snowman Frosted Treats, Award Wieners, Cocina Cucamonga to name a few.
In addition to those dining locations, there will be six seasonal Open-Air Marketplaces, which are presumably akin to the Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival booths that are normally dotted along the parade route this time of year.
Those marketplace booths will include:
- D-Lish – Dig into some classic Disney Parks dishes like Walt’s Chili from Carnation Café or dip into something new with the Very Very Berry Mickey Waffle.
- California Craft Brews – Quench that thirst with craft beer and pair with pepperoni pizza egg rolls.
- LA Style – Gobble up some seasonal faves from the Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival!
- Golden Dreams – Please your palate with well-seasoned eats like sweet & spicy chicken wings from Trader Sam’s.
- Uncork California – Discover the Golden State’s wine-making artistry with red and white selections by the glass, as well as a California artisan cheese plate.
- Cluck-A-Doodle-Moo – Sink your teeth into hearty favorites like chicken gumbo from Café Orleans and sip on a fruit-forward beverage!
In addition to shopping and dining, Disneyland is promising exclusive entertainment for the A Touch of Disney event. This will include unique photo ops with PhotoPass photographers and surprise character sightings where guests can pop fun, physically-distanced selfies.
You might catch a wave from Mickey Mouse and pals in unexpected settings. Mater and Lightning McQueen may be seen in Cars Land, or Joy and Sadness along Pixar Pier.
Downtown Disney will remain open seven days a week with dining and shopping that includes Black Tap Craft Burgers and Shakes, Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen, Naples Ristorante e Bar, World of Disney, and Star Wars Trading Post, which recently opened in a new location.
Buena Vista Street will remain open as an extension of the Downtown Disney District through March 14, and will be closed beginning March 15, 2021. Beginning March 18, Buena Vista Street will become part of A Touch of Disney. (There are rumors that after this date, Downtown Disney will expand into Disneyland’s Main Street to increase non-ticketed capacity–that has not yet been confirmed by Disney.)
Ultimately, A Touch of Disney sounds like a fun event and good way to make lemonade out of lemons until Disneyland and Disney California Adventure can reopen as theme parks with rides, shows, and other attractions. At the very least, it’s good news that more Cast Members will be able to get back to work. I don’t have a strong opinion one way or another on pricing. Whether $50 for access to the whole park plus entertainment is a good or poor value is in the eye of the beholder and likely will depend upon event execution.
My natural inclination would be to say “it’s overpriced” but after seeing photos and video of what Knott’s Berry Farm did with similar events last summer and fall, which honestly seemed underpriced to me, I’m willing to wait and see. It’s also with that comparison in mind that I’m not heaping much praise on Disneyland’s pivot to an event like this. Disney is very clearly following the lead of Knott’s here, and while it’s better late than never, it is pretty late. Then again, who could’ve foreseen last summer when that July 17 reopening date was set that California theme parks would still be closed come Spring 2021?
If you’re preparing for a Disneyland trip, check out our other planning posts, including how to save money on Disneyland tickets, our Disney packing tips, tips for booking a hotel (off-site or on-site), where to dine, and a number of other things, check out our comprehensive Disneyland Vacation Planning Guide!
Are you planning to attend A Touch of Disney at California Adventure? Or, will you wait until DCA and Disneyland with attractions? Think this is fairly or over-priced? Excited for the event? Do you think Disneyland Resort will reopen by the end of Spring 2021, or will this event continue through the summer? Do you agree or disagree with our advice and assessment? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!